The Inquirer asked three Philadelphia ad agencies to show how they would bring Ben Franklin into the 21st century.
Even in his own time, Ben Franklin was a master of spin. Biographer Walter Isaacson called him America's "first great publicist."
How would he fare in today's ultra-image-conscious world? We asked three Philadelphia advertising teams to give Ben's outsize personality a modern makeover and bring him into the 21st century.
Quaker City Mercantile, which prides itself on attracting young customers, focused on Franklin's bad-boy side. "I really think he would have been having more fun than people are saying," Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) chief executive officer Steven Grasses said of Franklin. "He was a rock star."
Ben Franklin turned 300 a few days ago, and as part of the festivities in his City of Brotherly Love the The Philadelphia Inquirer asked Quaker City Mercantile, among other local agencies, to show how the great man would promote himself if he were alive today. Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) CEO Steven Grasse is a Philadelphia history buff - he lives in a house built in the 1750s on the second oldest residential street in America, he points out - so he's familiar with Franklin's life, including the fact that the inventor of the lightning rod had quite a way with the ladies. "Ben Franklin was the original Maxim Man, so we thought we'd have fun with that," says Grasse. The result is a faux Franklin Magazine cover, 5,000 of which have been wildposted all over town "so the tourists can learn the truth about our most beloved founding father," says Grasse. See the PDF for a few street views of the posters, sometimes complementing great pre-existing graffiti. The photographer on this project chooses to remain anonymous, possibly for patriotic reasons.
Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) - Philadelphia
Bikini Bandits Go Dutch
In case there is anyone left who still thinks television is better than "the internet", the Flea presents for your attention: Bikini Bandits Go Dutch. This video has everything. I have nothing to add to it. It is complete. An exemplar of a neo-Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk. Also, bikinis (nsfw language and content).
In another example, Quaker City Mercantile, a boutique agency in Philadelphia, has entrepreneurial operations that include marketing apparel and rum under the Sailor Jerry brand (sailorjerry.com). In August, Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) signed a licensing agreement with the Converse division of Nike to sell Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers in four Sailor Jerry designs.
From The Licensing Book...
The salty-dog spirit and artwork of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins lives through unique licensing deals that reflect Sailor Jerry's old school style of anchors, tallmast ships and bawdy women. Philadelphia-based advertising firm Quaker City Mercantile, has taken on Sailor Jerry with a brand building strategy and has brokered deals in apparel, accessories, barware, playing cards, baby clothes, an exclusive Sailor Jerry rum, and shoes. In a licensing deal with Converse sneakers, Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) recently created four Chuck Taylor designs under the Sailor Jerry fashion label, promoting the 'heritage' of his 'original vintage tattoo brand.'
"News in Brief"
Last week at the august annual Raindance festival Australasian production company Curious and alternative agency Quaker City Mercantile (formerly known as Gyro Worldwide) aired the trailer for the next installment of their ongoing pulp fiction series Bikini Bandits: The Curse Of The Pirate's Booty. The full length feature, which stars a host of glamour models and rockers including Steve Diggle from The Buzzcocks and Captain Sensible from The Damned will air next year. Nudity, animation and pirates feature heavily, we hear.