Red Tettemer O’Connell and Partners with Steve O’Connell (09/27/2017)
By: Jessica Taylor
On Wednesday, September 27th, partner/creative director Steve O’Connell came to TU-AMA to speak about his career with Red Tettemer O’Connell and Partners! Red Tettemer is an advertising agency with two locations: one in Philadelphia and one in Los Angeles. They are best known for their ad campaigns for Halo Top, Under Armour, Reyka, Century 21, and other major brands!
Steve O’Connell started his creative journey at Penn State University with the dream of becoming a copywriter. After graduation, he spent 6 years creating award-winning work for CP+B and then branched out on his own to start his own ad agency, Stick and Move. His business later merged with Steve Red and his Red Tettemer agency, which fused into the trail-blazing, cowboy inspired “Red Tettemer O’Connell” name that we know today.
At Red Tettemer O’Connell, their mission is simply this: to be unforgettable. And the “unforgettable” is clearly what they do best! Steve O’Connell relayed this and the message “a good ad is extremely hard to make” with a tale of a post-Icelandic Euro Cup themed advertisement for Reyka Vodka.
Steve and partners saw Iceland’s win as an opportune moment to do a Euro Cup-themed ad for Reyka Vodka. They had the vision: an Icelandic man making a bet with France over a shot of Reyka Vodka or a shot of a “nameless” French vodka, depending on which team won the game. Simple, right? Not at all. In addition to the many days it took to coordinate this ad, O’Connell was faced with additional challenges, such as having no money, no time, limited props, and one very long, stressful search for an Icelandic male. However, the relentless efforts of O’Connell and the Red Tettemer crew were able to pull together a successful and unforgettable ad (and follow-up defeat response) with their newly-scouted Icelandic talent Frikki, who later became the beloved face of Reyka! It looks like hard work really does pay off!
Steve O’Connell also spoke about Red Tettemer’s involvement in improving Under Armour’s female athletics line by establishing the inspiring “redefine the female athlete” campaign.
O’Connell and his team used this platform to encourage female athletes around the nation to send Under Armour videos of their personal goal setting, as well as their journey towards accomplishing those goals. The ad campaign then oriented this goal-setting and goal-accomplishing with beauty by stating that “beauty = accomplishments.” This powerful message certainly left a positive and lasting impression on women around the nation, which also inspired female athletes to develop a personal connection with the Under Armour brand. Likewise, many of these women went on to become life-long customers of Under Armour’s athletic apparel!
In addition to Reyka and Under Armour, Red Tettemer O’Connell has also played a major role in the creation of clever and hilarious commercial advertisements for Halo Top ice cream! These commercials comically depicted the devil and his conflicted, love/hate relationship with Halo Top. In the commercial, this devil character marches up the stairs to heaven to complain to the angels about Halo Top being “too good.” This plot brilliantly grabs the audience’s attention with a storytelling style that allows the viewer to develop a relationship with its characters and, therefore, the Halo Top brand itself.
Before leaving us, Steve explained how the world of advertising is one that is furious, fast, and forever changing. However, one must take this fast-paced wave of energy and ride it fearlessly in order find success. In addition to this advice, Steve also left us with these words of wisdom: build belief by doing, put your belief before your revenue, do things that make you laugh, fiercely protect your work culture, and, above all, make your desire greater than your fear.
Thank you again, Steve O’Connell, for speaking with us at TU-AMA!