All We Wanted Was a Walrus…

Dennis Ryan, Element 79, Chicago AdvertisingWe’re getting ready to produce the new national television and radio campaigns for La Quinta Inns and Suites. And so  we’re talking to directors, working with production companies, readying our bids. We’re also pushing ideas; is each execution absolutely clear? Can we say the same thing with fewer syllables? Are the punchlines as tight as they can be?

All that led to the walrus.  Without giving away the spot, the creative team got silly excited thinking how magnificently hilarious it would be to place a living, breathing walrus rather incompatibly within a modern business conference room.

Never mind that these toothy marine mammals weigh in at about a ton and a half…  Or that they are from seven to twelve feet long…  And endangered…  The bottom line is, we thought it could be pants-wettingly funny to have a walrus on the set for a fifteen second long television shot. And so, the production company looked into it.

Think about that–this harebrained idea was enough to send professionals to the phones and web, trying to determine the availability and costs of bringing one of these creatures to our set. Once we learned the transportation costs alone would have topped twelve thousand dollars, we passed; the walrus isn’t that central to the comic idea and the budget’s tight.

Still, for about six hours, everyone treated that thought seriously.  Stop and think about that the next time someone complains about how tough it’s gotten in our business.  For at least half a day, a few of us got paid to chase walruses.

Don’t tell me this isn’t a great job…


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


5 thoughts on “All We Wanted Was a Walrus…

  1. Kevin Lynch says:

    dennis, I’m somewhat concerned to hear the team didn’t have a walrus at the center of their idea, at least they got there before the shoot. phew…

    and you’re right, this business is still a hoot. if it doesn’t feel that way, perhaps we’re just doing it wrong.

  2. RTB says:

    Let me guess–the production company wanted to know if they could use an elephant seal fitted with prosthetic tusks as a substitute and you said “no” because you’re all about the details. So back to the drawing board the team went…

    Congratulations on winning La Quinta. It’s good for Element79. And it’s good for Chicago.

  3. Pam Anderson says:

    ahhh, come on…if you can put an elephant on a pogo stick hopping across Westminster Bridge…anything can be done.
    Congrats on the new business!

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