Evans Cooling Systems, Inc.
Creative Director: Ralph Belfiglio
Copywriter: Ralph Belfiglio
Photographer: Charles Koelsch
“I think is was the ‘Joe Umstead is No Idiot’ postcard that first caught my eye. Not because it was ‘beautiful.’ Or great ‘design.’ It was just so bold, so direct and yet, somehow, so mysterious. Was it for a political campaign? Maybe a call-in radio show? Who the heck is that guy? Should I know? Whoever he was, and whatever it for was for, the piece spoke an entirely different aesthetic language than everything else on the table.
The more pieces we saw, the more intriguing the campaign became. Joe might not be an idiot, but he was Rosebud. By the time we got to see the video piece, I think we were all eager to know what he was all about. And he was all about… engine lubricant. But he was also about being sensible, practical. Doing what you gotta do. Seems like swell guy. A real guy. Knows what he’s talking about. Who wouldn’t want to know and be like Joe? I was sold.
Now, there are plenty of pieces in this show with more elegant typography, more en trend colors, more innovative use of materials. Plenty of sophisticated, creative work. But this campaign’s sophistication and creativity can be seen in the way it understands its audience, piques their curiosity, and then speaks to them without irony or condescension. It never sinks to that phony country-fried-gitterdun-goodoleboy-BBQ-lettered stuff you see all the time. It looks beyond those obvious ‘aesthetic’ (bah!) choices for a more authentic style; one that actually respects the no-nonsense ‘Joe’s’ who should want this product. It’s simple, direct, practical, real.
I could see ‘Joe Umstead is No Idiot’ bumper stickers, hats, etc., becoming a sort of badge of the trucking insider, an expression of practicality, of that no-nonsense identity. It might be the only campaign in the show that goes for that kind of genuine, ‘gut,’ product-independent connection.
Joe’s a memorable character who provides both a believable endorsement and an embodiment of the product. But he’s also the personification of the distinctive value system of the target consumer. People are going to identify with Joe, and will want to be part of the club that knows what he’s all about. That sounds like a brand to me.”
— Judge Jeff Mellin