The Red Underwear Story: an “Addy Memory” by Walt Jaschek

Awards, Flashbacks, IRL, Walt a Life

The Advertsing Club of St. Louis asked its members for unusual “Addy Memories,” referring to the club’s annual St. Louis Addy Awards show for advertising and marketing. I have nothing BUT unusual Addy memories, and so I was happy to raise my hand and share a couple of them. Warning: red underwear is involved. Lucky red underwear.

By the way, these intertwined stories are true. I won my first of four “Best of Show” Addys in 1988 for a single sheet of paper, a Microsoft Word doc. The “Warm, Personal Letter” was a one-pager introducing my business to friends and prospects. I guess the judges found it funny: it won a Gold in self-promotion, a Gold in print collateral, then (shockingly to me) that night’s Best of Show. Accepting the latter, I had to wing an unprepared speech in front of 1,500 people at Powell Symphony Hall. The red underwear remark was improv that grew into something… weirder. 

P.S. Thanks, Halski Studio, for shooting this little story. Let’s do a longer director’s cut!

“This Is Care:” Award-Winning Hospital Advertising Campaign

Award-Winning, Campaigns, Concepting and Copywriting

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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.

“Alan’s Heart”

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Headlines: “This is the machine that healed Alan’s heart.” / “This is Alan’s heart.”


Donna’s Life

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Headlines: “This is the CyberKnife™ that saved Donna’s life.” / “This is Donna’s life.”



“Steve’s Blood Flowing”

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Headlines: “This is the stroke-preventing device that keeps Steve’s blood flowing.” / “This is Steve’s blood flowing.” 



“Nathan”

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Headlines: “This is the monitor that keeps close tabs on Nathan.” / “This is Nathan.”


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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

Walt Jaschek home

A Brief Tribute to Stan Lee and a Story About my “No-Prize.”

Comics, Flashbacks, Letters to Editors, Treasures, Walt a Life

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In 7th grade, I wrote a gushing fan letter to Stan Lee. The letter was subsequently published in its entirety in Captain America #107, November, 1968. A thrill. Here’s the cover, by Jack Kirby (another hero:)

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But it got better. Stan deemed the letter worthy of a “No-Prize,” his inside-joke “award” for fans – an envelope with literally nothing inside. So when, a few weeks later, said envelope from Marvel arrived, my 12-year-old head hit the ceiling.

This is my way of saying… RIP Stan, entertainer extraordinaire, wizard of words and worlds, and an outsized influence on many, including me. I’m so happy you lived long enough to see your co-creations explode into every corner of pop culture. Thanks for the ride.

And thanks also for this little envelope: no prize I’ve gotten since surpasses.

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“Congratulations,” it says. “This envelope contains a genuine Marvel Comics No-Prize which you have just won. Handle with Care.” I did, through the decades. That’s a pic I shot recently. The outer envelope (from 625 Madison Avenue, New York, 10022) has yellowed. The No-Prize itself… is mint. 

Why we created the Herobots™: It begins with a bored boy…

Coloring Books, Creator-Owned, Herobots, Walt a Life

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By Walt Jaschek

When I approached ace St. Louis illustrators Don Secrease and Bill Lux for help in bringing to life The Herobots and launching the characters in a coloring and games book, I was thinking of a bored 6-year-old boy. And myself.

It started with a specific 6-year-old boy. A crabby, impatient, hungry one. I don’t know his name. But he was part of a big crowd enduring a long wait in the lobby of a pancake restaurant with his mother. He was squirming, and I could tell he was desperate for some stimulation, any stimulation. His mother didn’t engage him; didn’t hand him a pencil and paper; or even her phone. (I guess I should be happy about that part.)

I felt the restless boredom radiate out of this young man, and I immediately I wished I had on me a coloring book young kids might like, about, oh, say, superhero robot action figures. I wished I could also hand him some crayons and tell him to “have at.” (With Mom’s permission, of course.) I even had a name bouncing around my mind: the HEROBOTS.

A few months later, after great work by Don and Bill, working from a script by me, we sent to the printers Herobots Coloring and Games Book #1. Here’s the front cover…

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Here’s the back cover.herobots-backcover

Here are a few pages from the story-to-color. The Herobots are actually action figures, you see, by day, living on the shelf of Sally’s Comics and Toys store. 

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2009646_herobots-coloringbook2-int (1)_Page_13The plot thickens.

And yes, there are also games!

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The 48-page softcover is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but it’s the stack of hard copies I keep on me at busy pancake restaurants that I value most. Because these are the copies I can hand…

…to give random, bored 6-year olds. Bless them. Because I am one of them. Always. It’s why I create, I think. Or at least why I created this video preview of the first few pages of the book. Warning: the narration is by me. (Which you can turn off — just watch the captions!)

So, you ask, is the Herobots Coloring and Games book selling on Amazon and Barnes and Noble? We wouldn’t say it’s selling like, well, pancakes. But we don’t mind. It’s that moment of handing one to a bored kid — for free — that makes up for it.

And speaking of free…

Here’s a FREE boredom-busting bonus!  With just a few clicks, parents of young readers and colorists can get FREE downloadable, printable coloring pages of the Herobots and their foes. Bots of fun for rainy days.

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I like to imagine a restless 6-year-old being a little less bored now.

At least for a while.

Walt Jaschek home

Free, Downloadable Coloring Pages of the Herobots™: Superhero Robots and Dinosaurs

Coloring Books, Coloring Pages, Creator-Owned, Herobots

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Walt Jaschek and Don Secrease offer free, downloadable coloring pages of superhero robots: the stars of the Herobots Coloring and Games Book #1. Below, you’ll see the three Herobots  — Props, Wheely and Fynn — along with their foes, TREX and the Terrobot. Want to download any and all for the young colorist in your life? Just drag the image to your desktop, click on it, and hit “print.”

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Want more Herobots action? Take a look at the Herobots Coloring and Games Book, for young readers, on sale on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble

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 They are the Herobots! They’re bots of fun!

(P.S. Read about WHY we created the Herobots. It begins with a bored boy…)

©2010-2018 Walt Jaschek, Don Secrease and Bill Lux.

Walt Jaschek home.

How to Kill a Pitch: Video Satirizing Ad Biz

Concepting and Copywriting, Entertainment, Humor Writing, Original Content, Short Films, Videos

Oh, creatives! Don’t fall on that sword over your favorite idea. Certainly don’t pull pistols! “How to Kill a Pitch” is a cautionary comedy video Walt Jaschek wrote on this subject, directed by Angie Lawling, shot by Chris Lawling, produced by Mercury Films. All in good fun: it’s movie blood. Client not loving your latest idea? There’s another one, you know. Come up with it and live, damn it!

Spoiler: look for a cameo by Walt himself in the final scene, amid the “agency in waiting.” Full credits on IMDB.

Bonus: For those who like to read this sort of thing, here’s…

“How to Kill a Pitch”: The Shooting Script
by Walt Jaschek

Characters:

Jon / Creative Director – Agency
Jeanette / Account Director – Agency
Bernard / Chief Marketing Officer – Client
Brooke / Marketing Manager – Client
Ethan / Office Assistant – Client

Extras: The next agency in line to present / 3 people, non-speaking, cameo

BLACK SCREEN

Fade in title: How to Kill a Pitch

Fade up sound of a small group laughing. Title fades out and the laughter bridges across the CUT TO:

INT – CLIENT CONFERENCE ROOM

Jon and Jeanette are wrapping up a presentation to clients Bernard and Brooke. It’s obviously gone well. The laughter is dying down. Jon puts the last of a series of foam core boards face down on a stack.

JON:  And with that final, funny scene, this spot serves as climax to a completely integrated, cross-platform marketing campaign that is “locked and loaded.” Let’s pull that trigger.

JEANETTE:  And from a strategy perspective, it is right on strategy. Right. On.

BERNARD:  Well, Jon, Jeanette: this is fantastic work. Wonderful. A home run. Hilarious, memorable, unforgettable, really. I was totally entertained every second.

Brooke is agreeing with her boss via a series of verbal cues:  “Right, Uh-huh, it is, yes.” The agency people are beaming. Bernard, though, has one more card to play.

BERNARD:  But…

Uh-oh. The agency people trade glances. It’s the “but.” The client’s demeanor changes to a concerned scowl.

BERNARD:  I worry. Is it TOO entertaining? TOO engaging? If we go on the air with something this noticeable, this excellent, will the spot wear out faster? Will people get tired of it? Will we have set a standard of being “excellent” that we’ll have to meet each time?

He gives the word “excellent” air quotes, of course.

Jon and Marcy are completely drained by this exasperating reaction, which they’ve obviously heard before.  It’s just too much.

JON (to Jeanette):  Will you just kill me now?

JEANETTE:  I’m sorry?

JON:  Will you kill me? Right now? Here? On the spot.

Jeanette considers this with sobriety.

JEANETTE: Well, hmmm, yes. Yes, I will. But only if you kill me simultaneously.

JON:  Simultaneously? 

JEANETTE:  Yes.

JON:  That’s a deal.

JEANETTE: Let’s do it.

JON:  I’m in.

Jon pulls a pistol from his sock.  Jeanette pulls a pistol from a Coach handbag.

The clients seem to be bemused by this. But sure enough, the CD and AE point the guns at each other.  Creative director counts down:  “3… 2…. 1…. now.”

Reaction shot of the clients as the creative director and account executive shoot each other in the heads.  BLAM! BLAM! The clients get a little splattered blood on them. We see the bodies of the CD and AE slump to the floor.

But the clients aren’t really disturbed. Brooke turns to Bernard with a studied earnestness.

BROOKE: I don’t think he knew how to answer your question.

Bernard nods. This is the right response from his subordinate. The onus is on the agency, which obviously flaked out.

KER-CHUNK! The client assistant, Ethan, opens the door to the conference room.

ETHAN THE ASSISTANT: Shall I send in the next agency?

Bernard and Brooke straighten, gather papers.  Brooke smiles up at Ethan.

BERNARD:  Certainly.

BROOKE:  Yes, please do.

CUT TO: EXTERIOR HALLWAY

Ethan, holding the smile, turn and looks down the hallway.

REVERSE ANGLE – HALLWAY – ETHAN’S POINT OF VIEW

A group of anxious, smiling people from the next agency, all holding their presentation materials, looking to Ethan for the “come hither” signal.

REVERSE ANGLE – Back to Ethan

With a small hand gesture, he beckons the next agency to advance.

CUT TO BLACK

CREDITS SEQUENCE

Quick single-screen credit cuts and scroll over a lively, jaunty “Ragtime” tune.

“See?,” the music seems to say. “It was all in good fun.”

THE END

Walt Jaschek home

Marvel Comics Flashback: Walt’s Team-Up With Jim Lee in What The–?! #5

Collaborators, Comic Writing, Comics, Humor Writing

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Walt Jaschek looks back on his story in What The–? #5, Marvel’s self-parody comic, originally published in 1989. Walt recalls:

“Just as my freelance writing business was heating up, my friend and superstar comic artist invited me to do a short piece in Marvel’s humor anthology” His idea was teaming up characters who really didn’t belong together. I called it ‘Ill-Conceived Character Couplings.’  As I look back now, I see it was really a bunch of inside jokes for those reading comic at the time. But it was such a privilege to work with Jim and get that first check from Marvel. Even now I think back and say, ‘Did that really happen?’ In other words: ‘What The–?'”

Here is the Hilary Barta’s cover to the issue, followed by the story itself. Credits below.

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“Ill-Conceived Character Couplings: Team-Ups That Just Wouldn’t Work”
Comic for Marvel’s parody anthology What The–?! The Marvel Mag of Mirth and Mayhem (Issue #5, 1989.) Script: Walt Jaschek. Plot and Pencils: Jim Lee. Inks: Al Milgrom. Letters: Jim Parker. Cover: Hilary Barta.

See more comics written by Walt