Hear or see the name J.G. Wentworth and quick, what’s your first thought? Don’t pretend you’re not singing it. You know you are.
Call J. G. Wentworth, 877-CASHNOW, 877-CASHNOW, 8-7-7-Cash-Now, Call now!
Why do you know that jingle so well? How is it you can’t tell someone what you had for breakfast this morning but you know the name of someone you’ve never met, who has a business you may never need to use, and you don’t have a clue why their phone number just comes to you in a nanosecond because of 60 seconds of their broadcasts?
Forget subtle advertising, forget brand management, forget clever positioning and just pummel the heck out of your viewing audience. Hit them with the left hook and the quick jab and come on back for more.The two guys heading the ad firm Karlin+Pimsler are true geniuses. Note to self: the first-rate, top drawer ad agencies use the “+” symbol instead of just your regular hyphen in between partner names.
The sometimes unseen, but always oft-heard, jingle began in the minds of two guys. There’s Mal Karlin and Steve Pimsler. Their business site notes they got together when they won the British Airways account. They keep it simple and no frills when they describe, or advertise, themselves to the public.
Mal and Steve are so creative they don’t use those glamour head shots with perfect pictures. Nope, not these guys. They have little scrawled caricatures that are not even one squared inch of their black print on their blank white web site. Click on their image to read their bio and both will blow you away.
First, Mal’s real picture, in black and white (can you say minimalist to the maximus?) pops up and his smiling visage is reminiscent of a highly qualified WWF contestant. He is all over the genius branch in the experience and credentials department. Call him a “hitmaker” and be done with characterizing Mal.
Next, click on Steve’s caricature and (yes, indeed!) black-and-white picture pops up and read where he was responsible for promoting Stephen King, Ken Follett and Erica Jong (well two out of three ain’t bad). He’s had Verizon as a client in a prior work life, and safe money says he’s the guy who probably came up with the ingenious “Can you hear me now?” If wrong, it was a better-than-even guess.
Steve plays “a mean guitar” and he's the music director and lyricist on the spots you "must" remember, a perfect combination to Mal’s role as “get the message done and done right” guy. As such, Karlin directs many of the TV spots they produce. What a team. Exploring their site a bit more leads you to the “secret sauce” recipe for their creativity:
Freshness of our concepts. Strategic precision. Humanity. Irresistible persuasion. Fun. Surprise. And here's where it all gets you – unforgettable, effective and profitable DRTV. We think that's pretty cool.
Yes, they’re cool, all right. Image is everything, and J.G. Wentworth has a great one, just by the tone of their jingle and the ease in your singing it, even if you don’t need cash now.
What? You don’t have a structured settlement? Annuity? Life insurance policy? Pending law suit or lottery payoff? It doesn’t matter. If you know someone who does, and they tell you they need money, you’re going to sing that phone number that is so intensely a part of your subconscious that you may forget your all-important social security number but so help you, Hannah, you’re not going to get that phone number out of your frontal cortex. Oh no, you aren’t!
How long will the Karlin+Pimsler association last with Wentworth? Probably a very long time. Since the duo began their association with Wentworth in 2007, they've attracted attention for their client. Karlin says, "our first spot for them was people yelling out their window, 'It's my money and I need it now!' and the duo together "came up with the signature line in addition to the Opera commercial, which made a niche company famous."
Karlin+Pimsler, Inc. won their first “Davey Award” in 2009 for the Wentworth spots, and they’ve continued going strong for "JGW" as the company grew. You can likely recall many of their K+P spots that ran often (err, incessantly) on cable television, where the rates are lower and enthusiastic sales teams offer you a “bundle” price.
There’s the award-winning “opera” spot you know, then the spot that reminds you of the cast of “Rent” singing about the structured settlement payout folks, and they call that their “Windows” and “East Village musical performance spot.” But wait, there’s more. They’re not just one-trick ponies, but you already knew that. What you can look forward to for J.G. Wentworth features two more spots running now. “Kash Kahuna” is set at a Hawaiian luau (check out J.G. Wentworth’s web site for the matching home screen motif). “Guten Tag” “features a spin on German beer drinking songs.” In fact, Karlin said that "J.G. Wentworth went public in November, 2013."
One word: HoveRound. Okay, you are singing it. You know you are, so quit denying it. “HoveRound takes me where I wanna go; where will it send me?” Actor Michael LeLand sits in the chair and sings this one line exactly twice in a 30-second spot. But, their ad buys are so very clever that you may see that exact same commercial four or five times during a 10 p.m. rerun of “Perry Mason.” Add that to 50-60 plays in daytime television, across three or four syndicated channels, and you are singing that darned song by heart. And you don’t even need a HoveRound!
That’s not their only song, though. The team has won awards for HoveRound using “I Get Around” and “You Made Me Love You.” Yes, yes they did. They call it “DRTV,” the acronym for direct response television and it makes you “call now,” “call now,” and “call now.” Lots of retired people and other targeted age audiences and demographic bonanza lands are calling, now in fact, because they’re captive audiences and they respond.
Not surprising either than Karlin+Pimsler are the folks behind the blatant “SunSetter Awnings” spots either. Just because you may not need a SunSetter awning doesn’t mean you don’t know those spots. If you don’t, then perhaps you are not paying sufficiently close attention, or perhaps you have a life. Either way, just go ahead and admit that Karlin+Pimsler put the “creative” in creative team.
Not since the ad teams who thought up “J-E-L-L-O” or the Leo Burnett team came up with “Snap, Crackle, Pop, Rice Krispies,” and “Fly the Friendly Skies (of United),” or the team who thought up “N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle’s makes the very best....chocolate”—have we had such memorable singalong jingles.
Oh, to spend just an hour watching these guys brainstorming at work would be the bonus prize of the century. Their client list is not “dressed to impress,” not by a long shot. SunSetter Awnings are listed right under Sony; J.G. Wentworth falls right above Liberty Medical (you just flashed to a vision of Wilford Brimley, didn’t you? Tell the truth. You did!). Liberty Medical was a K+P client for over a year and they actually did film some of the Brimley spots, but another agency came up with that original Liberty campaign. Direct response television advertising is meant to get results, a call-to-action wrapped in a comfortable package. You really don't mind being inundated with the spots because they eventually become like an old friend, the singular purpose of creating brand awareness. Mission accomplished.
They are two guys who can sell the fire out of whatever you put in front of them. And the hits just keep on coming. Their work has been imprinted upon my brain for the past year and may well remain for the next few years. I just can’t get them out of my head. Well played, gentlemen. Well played.