P.S. New and coming soon from Walt Now: Attorneys in Space!™
P.S. New and coming soon from Walt Now: Attorneys in Space!™
Walt Jaschek and wife Randy at the launch of the #STLMade Movement and the website TheSTL.com, at Venture Cafe in St. Louis, March 14, 2019.
I’m Walt Jaschek, and I’m #STLMade: born and raised in St. Louis. I’ve built a blessed life here, and have enjoyed a decades-long writing career here. I crafted work of which I’m proud, and which gained some attention from peers and associates; in 2018, I was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Needless to say, I dig this city like rock ‘n’ roll.
That’s why I was delighted to be invited to contribute articles to the new website TheSTL.com, part of the new #STLMade movement, which intends to “shine light on St. Louis thinkers, doers and makers.” A noble cause. I’m for it.
The site is now alive and my first article is published in it. Headlined Niche of Time, it spotlights a cool company in St. Charles, Masterclock, whose high-tech timepieces are sold globally. The firm is run by a dynamic CEO, John Clark, who is also, you will see, a one-man quote machine! Read the article.
Stay tuned for more articles as assignments arrive, and see what it means to be truly #STLMade. Like me. Meanwhile: Cheers!
Walt Jaschek served as editor-in-chief of The Current, the campus newspaper of the University of St. Louis, in 1974-1975. Staffer and Walt’s new pal Paul Fey was editor in 1975-1976. Years after graduation, the two went on to form Paul & Walt Worldwide, an ad agency specializing in funny radio commercials for national entertainment brands. For this body of creative work, among others, they were recently inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. And to bring it back home, their former creative meeting ground, The Current, ran a pretty funny article about the whole thing. Read the piece by Kat Riddler here.
The circle of life. It’s a thing!
By Walt Jaschek
Part 1: A Surreal Night for an Addy Newcomer.
Heading to the 2019 St. Louis Addy Awards at Busch Stadium tonight, to cheer on the winners, be inspired by the work, and see old friends. It’s with no small bit of nostalgia that I realize I have been attending the St. Louis Addy Awards for exactly 30 years.
And though I’ve won my share of Addys over the years, none of the wins can compare to that first night, in 1989, when I won not one but two “Best of Show” Addys at the ceremonies at Powell Symphony Hall. It was a mind-boggling night my 33-year-old self was not prepared for. I was also not prepared for the article by Jerry Berger that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the next morning.
Here’s a clip of the piece, which everybody from my Mom to my dentist saw. (Back then, everybody read the paper.)
Headlined “Ad Writer Steals Show,” the article, accompanied by a mustache-laden head shot of my 33-year-old self, begins:
“Walter S. Jaschek, a free-lance advertising copywriter, stole the show the annual ADDY Award competition Thursday night at Powell Symphony Hall.
“Jaschek, who has an office on the South Side, won three gold and two Best of Show awards for advertising produced in St. Louis between Oct. 1, 1987, and Sept. 30, 1988.
“Jaschek submitted only three in the almost 900 entries received by the ADDY committee,
“‘I’m glad I made the right decision last April to free-lance,’ said Jaschek, a former member of the advertising management staff with Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.
“In the Best of Show category, Jaschek won in the radio and print categories. The radio winner was a 30-second commercial, ‘Laugh Catalog,’ for the Comedy Club, which Jaschek created by teaming up with former St. Louis Paul Fey; the print winner was themed, ‘Warm, Personal Letter,’ created to announce the opening of Jaschek Ink.” (The name of my business then.)
The article concluded:
“Hollywood entertainer John Byner served as master-of-ceremonies for the program, which marked the first held away from a hotel without a dinner.
“Of the more than 2,400 guests at Powell, 500 were advertising students from 24 colleges.”
A few months ago, the St. Louis Ad Club, to promote the 2019 St. Louis Addy Awards, asked members for “unusual Addy memories” they could capture on video and post on social media. I was only too happy to recall that first, very surreal win, and how it led to what became known as “The Red Underwear Story.
That’s a crisp and wacky 60 seconds, but the interview went longer. Here’s more of the Q & A.
Q: Let’s get warmed up….tell us a little about yourself. Name, title, where you work, a quick journey through your life in the ad business.
Walt: I’m Walt Jaschek, freelance copywriter and creative strategist, and because Jaschek is impossible to spell or pronounce, I DBA as Walt Now, as in, “What Now?” I have been so blissfully self-employed since 1988, and if you do the math, that means more than 30 years. So don’t do the math.
Q: What’s the difference between a copywriter and creative strategist?
Walt: Pants. Copywriters wear jeans. Creative strategists wear khakis. So today I come to you as a copywriter. But I have some khakis handy.
Q: What’s your perspective on the focus on winning awards in the advertising business?
Walt: Well, I think there are three reasons they are the big dang deal that they are. (1) We work mostly in anonymity – if you write an article or draw a New Yorker cover, you get a byline. They don’t put bylines on ads, though God knows I’ve tried. It’s a way of saying, “Look. I did this. Me. Do you like it?” (2.) Agencies know awards represent a creative culture, and culture attracts talent. And (3.) let’s cut to the chase: ego. Creatives are a roller –coaster of insecurity and egomania. I mean, would I carry this award around with me if I had more self-esteem?
Q: What about the Addys specifically? How does an awards show that is geared towards the local level different than national shows?
Walt: The appetizers are better. Here in St. Louis, you’re far more likely to see toasted ravioli. You’re not gonna get THAt a Cannes. No, seriously, I think it’s a matter of building community. Of representing. Saying, look at the work coming out of St. Louis. Take that… Austin. Or to keep it in the district: check it out… Des Moines.
Q. Do you remember your first Addy?
Walt: Sure. You always remember your first.
Q. Do you remember how many Addys you’ve attended?
Walt: No. I’d have to count the hang-overs.
Q. Is there a specific Addy story you’d like to share with us today?
Walt: I won my first “Best of Show” Addy in 1988 when I was 33 years old, my very first year of freelancing, for the ONE and ONLY THING I submitted that year: a one-page piece of a paper — a funny letter announcing my business launch. Unprepared, I had to go on stage at the Fox in front of a huge crowd to accept from comedian John Byner, and pictures of me from the podium have a shocked, deer-in-headlights quality. I improvised something about being glad I wore my “lucky red underwear.” That was too much information, now and then.
Q. But the red underwear thing became a running joke, right?
A. Right. That line became a running joke, and at another Addy ceremony years later, when I teamed up with Paul Fey and won a “Best of Show” for radio, we actually brought red underwear up to the podium and threw them into the audience. People were grabbing at them, like Fred Bird throwing t-shirts at Busch Stadium. For years after, people would say to me in public: “I still have your underwear!” Depending on who I might be with, that could be a little disconcerting.
Q: What lesson can we take away from your Addy story?
Walt: My quite serious take-away from that silly story is this: Enter SOMETHING. Even if it’s it’s only ONE thing. And even … if it’s the ONLY thing you got. ‘Cause, who knows? Weird stuff happens.
Q. What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering entering the Addys this year?
Walt: iBuprofen. Take it early And often. Also: have a speech prepared. Just in case. otherwise. You could end up like me. (Holds up Addy award with red underwear draped over it.)
Q. Thanks, Walt.
Walt: See you at the show!
Writer and Creative Strategist Walt Jaschek is a 2018 inductee into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.
Winner of “Best in Show” in the National Healthcare Advertising Awards, this rebranding campaign for Central Baptist Hospital system in Lexington, Kentucky, expressed the health care brand’s combination of high-tech… and “high-touch.”
The hospital wanted to advertise its new technological advances. Writer Walt Jaschek and client agency Maring Weissman wanted to ensure those advances were communicated via their very human benefit, the one every single patient wants most: getting back home, healthy.
Walt wrote the new tagline, “This is Care,” then used the “this is” phrase as the structural basis for a series of print ads, TV spots, banner ads and outdoor boards. Here are are few of the print ads in the campaign, a series of double-page newspaper spreads. Credits below.
Headlines: “This is the machine that healed Alan’s heart.” / “This is Alan’s heart.”
Headlines: “This is the CyberKnife™ that saved Donna’s life.” / “This is Donna’s life.”
Headlines: “This is the stroke-preventing device that keeps Steve’s blood flowing.” / “This is Steve’s blood flowing.”
Headlines: “This is the monitor that keeps close tabs on Nathan.” / “This is Nathan.”
Here are two more of the mounted ads from Walt’s portfolio.
Left ad: Sensitive Mom. Headlines: “This is the highly sensitive digital mammogram that saved Mom.” “This is highly sensitive Mom.” Right ad: Ben’s Back. Headlines: “This is the procedure that fixed Ben’s back.” “This is Ben’s back.”
The integrated “This is Care” campaign was extended into all media, including radio and television. Here’s “Alan’s Heart,” as seen on TV.
Client: Central Baptist Hospital
Agency: Maring Weissman
Writer: Walt Jaschek
Designers: Paul Maring, Chuck Hart
Creative Director: Paul Maring
TV production: Arbor Group
Funny radio commercials? Are they still a thing? Yes, funny radio commercials are still a thing. We specialize in ’em, and advertisers (and audiences) treasure ’em. Funny radio commercials provide an attention-getting break from the boring radio norm (radio today: zzzzzzzzzzz). Truly funny radio commercials also provide a memorable, positive, and thus loyalty-building listener experience.
Please turn your volume up for these award-winning funny radio commercials, written or co-written by Walt Jaschek, and produced by Paul Fey, many from the heady days we were known as Paul & Walt Worldwide.
“Robert Goulet” | :60 funny radio commercial for The Simpsons
$20,000 Mercury Award for Radio Humor
“Mission Persons” | :60 funny radio commercial for Matlock
Clio Award for “Best Radio Copywriting”
“Laugh Catalog” | :60 funny radio commerical for George Schlatter’s Comedy Club
Clio Award for “Best Use of Sound”
“Viva La Volvo” | :60 funny radio commercial for Volvo
National Addy Award winner
“Put Your Tongue on the Radio” | :60 funny radio commercial for Gene Simmons Family Jewels
Promax Muse Award for radio
“The Ballad of Judge Wapner” | :60 funny radio commercial for The People’s Court
Promax Muse Award winner for radio, National Addy Award for radio
“Millions of Americans” | :60 funny radio commercial for the American Optometric Association
“I’m Shaving My Head!” | :60 funny radio commercial for Star Trek: The Next Generation
“Larry and Laverne” | :60 funny radio commercial for Jeopardy
“Mister Rippemoff” | :60 funny radio commercial for Newscenter 7 Wastebusters
“Auditions” | :60 funny radio commercial for Star Trek: the Next Generation
Bonus fact: for this body of funny radio commercials and more, Walt Jaschek and Paul Fey were inducted into the 2018 St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Here they are at the March, 2018, induction ceremony, with frequent collaborator, audio engineer Bill Schulenburg.
P.S. Wondering how Paul and Walt met? How they came to make funny radio commercials together? The University of Missouri-St. Louis student newspaper just published a story about that: and the answer involves a soft drink neither of them now consume. Check it out.
Need a new, high-impact, laugh-your-ads-off campaign of funny radio commercials? You know who to contact.
Walt Jaschek has an attitude of gratitude: for many things (like the view from Bryce Canyon, Utah, above) but especially for the kind recommendations for his concepting and copywriting services, as provided on LinkedIn from distinguished professionals and executives in advertising, marketing, design, production and sales. A sampling:
When I have a client who REALLY needs to differentiate, I call on Walt Jaschek. He’s my “Go To” brand strategist/copywriter. Walt is masterful at helping to position brands and writing copy that communicates a brand or client company’s strategic difference.
Walt writes straight and powerful copy, that’s simple to read. He’s has a knack for making the complex seem simple.
Walt forces you to look at marketing communication through the eyes of a cartoon avatar, who represents your target audience. Then, he invites this cartoon avatar to join your meeting. Soon, you find they are actually sitting right there with you, as you discuss whether a marketing message is resonating. That’s the magic of Walt Jaschek. And, that’s why I partner with him whenever I can.
Sales & Marketing Professional
Walt Jaschek is the “Woody Allen of Advertising.” The guy’s in a league of his own. He gets it – and does it all. No matter whether you’ve known him for five years or five minutes: You’ll Want Walt.
Why? Because he gives your message meaning, he gets results and he genuinely loves what he does.
The man pours an incredible amount of passion, wit, creativity and direction into every project he touches…and it shows.
His work stretches across the country and I am no longer taken aback when I run into clients and associates who have either worked with Walt or know his work.
Meet with Walt and you will want him working with you, too.
Owner, Whitney Design Works LLC
Walt Jaschek is an extremely thoughtful and creative person. I’ve enjoyed working with him on freelance projects from the Arbor Group, but I’ve actually gotten to know him better through personal channels. He believes in starting at the beginning, which is almost always the best place to start. He feels that a tagline, if handled properly, is the “kernel” or “nugget” of the advertising message. According to him, if you have a great tagline, you’re well on your way to success. I would heartily recommend him for any project that requires a strong tagline, excellent writing, and/or great ideas. He is also a very ethical person, as well as totally likable.
Marketing Executive, Film/Video Producer
Walt Jaschek is an imaginative and dedicated storyteller with a keen eye (and hand) for writing comedy. He shared numerous scripts for a short film concept, and gave us plenty of humor in a variety of forms. Once we settled on one of his scripts, Walt helped champion the project in a collaborative, respectful and enthusiastic manner, from storyboards to filming and editing. He is generous with his time and sharp with his wit.
Owner, The Arbor Group
Walt Jaschek is a first rate, creative writer providing copy and concepts that are unique but spot-on to strategy. His word craft is second to none and he is a true collaborative spirit. I just wish I had enough projects to employ him continuously.
Entrepreneur, Strategist, Innovator, Senior Marketing Executive
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Walt Jaschek for several years and on dozens of branding and marketing initiatives. Walt is brilliant as both a brand strategist and copywriter. He can quickly understand a client’s needs and value and package that succinctly into headlines, copy and brand statements.
Whether you need help with developing or better defining your brand, concepting a campaign, creating copy for broadcast, print or web, a sit down with Walt is the best place to start.
Owner, Marketing Management Group
I have used Walt Jaschek several times as a creative catalyst when our creative projects needed a spark. Our last project required us to turnaround creative concepts and final copy in two days. Walt was in our office for a brainstorm within 24 hours of my call. His ideas and execution wowed our client and ultimately helped earn us a new account and ongoing creative business. He was constantly available throughout the process and his work was outstanding. A true professional!
Partner, Spoke Marketing
Simply put, when I grow up I want to be like Walt. Walt Jaschek is an idea guy… whatever you are thinking, he can turn it upside down and bring something new. Unlike a lot of idea guys though, he is organized… grounded in process… he is able to facilitate any discussion and bring it to a place you can act on the idea. Then – he can act. He will write it up and deliver it on time. If I could use Walt on every project… every project would be better for it.
Partner, Spoke Marketing
WARNING: do not hire Walt Jaschek unless you feel comfortable saying “Damn! I wish I’d thought of that!” While I do miss the mustache, Walt is passionate, creative and brings energy to every meeting; no exceptions.
The only thing I like better than working with Walt…is taking credit for his ideas.
Kristy “Tucc” (Bauer) Tucciarone, Ph.D
Program Chair and Professor, Lindenwood University
Hands down, Walt Jaschek gave the BEST presentation about Advertising Copywriting; In fact, he was the more informative speaker we have had all semester…heck, all year,” shared advertising students at UMSL. As the Professor of Advertising I constantly seek ad professionals who can tap the potential in students and make it come alive. Walt did exactly that. I recommend his presentation “Let Loose the Large” to all students studying advertising!! His work is engaging, fun, and effective.
Principal, Taylor Management Group
Walt Jaschek has a unique ability to bring a brand to life. Through the creative process, he uses his ability to bring together many seemingly disparate views into a brand story that creates awareness and increases client revenues.
Founder and CEO, LockerDome
Walt Jaschek is one of top creatives in the marketing industry; he’s clever, original, and a true professional. It’s impossible to turn down a cup of coffee with this guy, as it’s simply fascinating to see his mind go to work.
Owner, Noble Business Development
I recently signed up for the “Perfect Your Pitch” workshop with Walt Jaschek and Mike Behr. Our business is complicated for the common layman or even for the sophisticated investor; so we’ve had trouble switching audiences. Being heavily technical in nature our success has been fair with people who already have a knowledge base in our area. But we wanted more; to be better understood.
First and foremost Walt and Mike are professionals that understand the process. Through a deep conversation that flowed easily, they helped us get to the root of our issue. It wasn’t painful in the least and provided a great deal of clarity. There was no talking down to, or jargon; no preconceived notions or boxes to be put in. They provide a structured format, that’s flexible and can adapt to our needs. Both Mike and Walt are easy to talk to and very bright. They proved to be good listeners that really understand getting to the next steps. They have plenty of skill in taking difficult concepts and relaying them in way that’s more easily understood.
In the end we definitely got more than we bargained for and had a good time getting there. I’d highly recommend spending time with them to help you get to your goals faster.
Executive Director, Webster Community Arts Foundation
Artist, Jeane Vogel Studios
Walt Jaschek is, by far, the most talented person I know. But talent comes at price. Sometimes it’s moodiness or quirkiness or just being hard to work with. The cost of working with Walt? Well, you have to contend with his amazing good humor, dry wit, exceptional creative mind and amazing results. Worst of all, you don’t get want you asked for: you get better!
Walt says: Thank you all, very, very much. I am sincerely grateful for your kind words and recommendations. If you want to add to them, I’ll graciously accept.
And I work every day to be worthy of them.
Completed after weeks of work: a series of dramatic, dialogue-driven, leadership training video scripts I wrote for an international management consulting firm. Take a look there at page 7: that’s a great scene, huh? (Just kidding.)
Bonus: Just spent a few days on the set, watching a great director, dedicated crew, and gifted actors bringing my words to life. Gotta say: that never gets old.
Let’s put our heads together and our hands to the board.
We can bake up new brand messaging, or tackle a tagline, or craft the perfect home page copy, or ideate a luscious live event, or concept a web series, or hurl out a whole lot of headlines.
It’s a good change from writing solo, and I’ve seen it work spectacularly over the years. I come in, we conjure, you keep the ideas, I go put more money in the parking meter, everybody wins.
I can be engaged to lead ideation sessions, brainstorms and messaging meetings, or to participate in them; from one person to many; from a conference room to a couch in the lobby; from a single hour to a series of meetings strategically scheduled over days.
For most of them, I bring my “What Would Winona Want?” avatar-based brainstorm technique to guide you and your team through strategic ideation. Results: crystalized brand stories, unified messaging that ignites marketing campaigns, turns prospects into customers, and turns customers into brand advocates.
Recently I have led in-depth ideation sessions for Centene Corporation, Nurse Response, World Wide Wadio, Dovetail, 2e Creative, Spoke Marketing, MGM Management Group, Parkside Financial Bank and Trust, the Gateway Interactive Marketing Association, RBO Print Logistix, and for students at Webster University.
I have participated in them for CBS-TV, 20th Century Fox, Grey Goose Vodka, Dewar’s Scotch, SSM Health Care, Hodgson Mill and many, many world-class brands.
I am ready at the whiteboard.
Oh, sure, I might sniff the markers a little.
But that’s part of the fun.
Pssst! Someone’s missing from our messaging meetings. Not Marissa. She’s still at lunch with the client. Good. Not Marv. He’s under his headphones. Let him be.
The missing person is our prospect.
That’s “prospect,” singular, not “prospects,” plural, nor (ugh) “target audience.” F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Begin with an individual, and you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created… nothing.”
An individual prospect should be present in all messaging meetings — not physically, fun as that would be — but virtually. If we don’t have research, qualitative and quantitative, then the prospect P.O.V. can be represented via a unique scientific innovation I call “best guess.”
It starts like this. On the whiteboard I draw a cartoon figure of the prospect, give that “person” a name, because a real name invokes a real conversation, and for the sake of this post, let’s call “her” “Winona,” and if that name invokes a certain film actress, well, pure coincidence. (Paid stock photo above notwithstanding.)
Then we as a group look at the cartoon avatar and list a few things we “know” about this person. Often, participants in the session can be effortlessly, ridiculously specific, because they often actually know, In Real Life, an individual prospect: “She loves her new Tesla.” “She only drinks reds.” “She probably has never heard of our product.”
These avatars, then, “participate” in the brainstorm, as we channel their reactions to our messaging ideas. When someone takes a stab at a differentiator – “our people make the difference” – we toss that to Winona. Maybe she agrees; maybe she calls “B.S.” But at some ideas, she smiles, and I draw the smile. The ones we feel she truly “gets” are usually more relevant, more authentic, and, praise Odin, less complex.
“Complexity is a coward’s way out. There is nothing simple about simplicity, and achieving it requires empathizing (by perceiving others’ needs and expectations), distilling (by reducing to its essence the substance of one’s offer) and clarifying (by making the offer easier to understand and use).”
Hmmm. That’s a lot of parentheses for a paragraph about simplicity. But of course I believe they’re right. And I believe the mission of message strategists is not to make our product or service understandable. It’s to make our prospect feel understood.
And at that, look: Winona smiles!
To engage Walt Jaschek to lead or participate in a prospect-channeling whiteboard session, use this contact form, or ask Winona to ask him to call you.