Inside the Vermeer “Ignition” Campaign

Last June, the Lessing-Flynn team received some sweet news: Vermeer Corporation, a long-time client-partner, had refined its corporate brand positioning and established a new tagline – Equipped to Do More.

That’s not necessarily the sweet part. To be sure, new taglines are swell and this was a good one. But what charged us up – being marketers who live for challenges – was that Vermeer was asking its creative agency partners to develop and present creative campaigns for rolling out the new tagline. May the best campaign win.

What an awesome challenge. Opportunities like this are rare. Like an albatross in golf. Or a clean shirt at the Iowa State Fair. Indeed, this was a supreme opportunity to lay it all on the line – creatively, strategically and pitchly (adverb 1. giving a pitch or presentation in such a manner as to achieve a desired result. 2. bringing your A game).

I tell you the news caused a stir at LF headquarters. A different mood then permeated the building, which consequently altered the fundamental laws of the Lessing-Flynn universe…

People were suddenly moving in slow motion…not like drowsy, lethargic slow motion… but like in movies when something really real is about to go down…account execs threw high-fives, or hit the rock, or got mixed up as to whether they should throw high-fives or hit the rock, making everything totally awkward…creatives exchanged headbutts and more than a few chest bumps…one senior exec may or may not have crushed an empty Diet Coke can on her head in a fit of unbridled elation…

Anyway, that nonsense lasted a few minutes or so and then it was time to get to work. After all, the presentation was in just a few weeks and we needed to develop three high-impact campaigns – each unique and nimble enough to extend across multiple mediums for up to 24 months. We were certainly up for the challenge.

The Pitch

The first two campaigns we presented to the Vermeer executive team were well received. They succeeded in capturing the tough, rugged tones and the timelessness of hard work that define the farms, mines and jobsites where Vermeer equipment helps make a Real Impact on Productivity and Profit (the new core brand promise).

But truth be told, the first two campaigns were too spot on. They looked and felt like ads Vermeer competitors might run. Similar scenes. Similar photo treatments. Similar typography used for big bold headlines making shotgun statements.

Vermeer needed something different. Something that stood out. That could rise above the chaos and clutter and say, Hey, check out our new tagline.

So when we presented our third and final campaign, an executive boardroom full of eyes widened at once. Here was something different. Something decidedly simple. Minimalistic and unlike anything Vermeer had ever done. Unlike anything its competitors had ever done. A unicorn dressed like Willie Nelson riding a space shuttle like a bull couldn’t have elicited any more intrigue than this…

Just a simple image on a white background. An ordinary image, but one that symbolizes everything Vermeer is about. One universally recognizable image that captures the full spirit of the new tagline – Equipped to Do More. The moment you turn the ignition – that’s when the more starts. And the campaign has just begun.


Lessing-Flynn project contributors: Joe WinnChris HansonJordan BeynonKylee DenizJessica Held