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Redefining Sexy Advertising


We have a couple of new clients at GWP, Inc. Advertising that – as your English teacher used to call it – have “similarities and differences…”

Traditional Sexy

One client is a start-up tequila brand, the type of new account that the advertising world calls “sexy.” “That’s a sexy client!” Traditionally, products like alcohol and automobiles and entertainment were sexy. They represent discretionary spending, reward and relief.

And actually, our new tequila client had plenty of pretty pictures featuring bikinis, blowouts, and blinding smiles. Nothing wrong with that. But in early strategy meetings, they told us they wanted more. They wanted to communicate the integrity of their distilling process, and the quality of their product. They wanted to speak to a target audience that cares about the planet while pouring a cocktail. Our client recognized that as a new brand in a competitive category, their unique selling proposition had to be just that – unique.

And something sexy happened. The founders of the brand started talking about the iconography on their hand-made labels. These labels were drawn from the history of the land and the people who started farming it in Jalisco, Mexico. They weaved their own personal history and values into the mission of their upstart vision. It sparked brainstorming that had everyone at the table believing in the campaign we began to create which was good since we were the first focus group!

We believed it all because it was 100% true. They were telling us a true story, one that they had been living for many years. They explained the lessons and rewards that they want to share through their organic and exceptional product. You can just tell that they are putting their body, heart and soul into this brand, and that is… sexy.

A New Sexy

GWP’s other new client – let’s start with the difference. They provide safety and life protection services to largely industrial clients. Not usually “sexy” in the advertising world. Their creative assets emphasize giant wrenches and meticulous record-keeping. They needed a digital advertising tune-up and some block and tackle marketing material, and we at GWP, Inc. were happy to get to work on those essentials.

But wait a minute… Reviewing strategy and marketing goals, the company’s owner told us how his grandfather had started with one truck, how his father had grown the company and established a proud culture and a loyal workforce. How he – the current owner of this large family-owned business – is dedicated to continuing the tradition and values of the company.

He explained the feelings of responsibility and satisfaction involved in keeping many thousands of people safe. And because he is passionate about his family, his business, his employees, his customers – because his desire to improve his community is heartfelt – his story is compelling and heartwarming and exciting and…

A true story. That’s the big similarity between these two new clients. When they get talking about their brands, they kind of glow a little – you can’t make this stuff up. So that’s what the two companies have in common, and why they both fall into the new definition of sexy advertising.

What’s Sexy?

The truth is sexy. The absolute sexiest thing is when someone looks right at you and wants the real you. You know what we’re talking about. No smoke and mirrors, no fancy talk – just that look in the eye, that pure attraction.

And that gets us excited, us storytellers here at GWP. We think the best stories, the sexiest stories, the ones that make people perk up and pay attention, are true stories. When we dive deep for strategy, when we brainstorm for creative, when we develop assets to go to market, we want to help our clients articulate their own truth – help them craft it into a good story and tell it well – passionately, persuasively – to their market. That’s sexy advertising.

What’s your story?

GWP Owner and President Eric Lanel Takes a New Look at the Tellys


Eric Lanel, President of GWP, Inc Advertising, has won many awards in the advertising industry, including several top honors from The Telly Awards. In 2019, Eric viewed the contest from a new perspective: he became a judge in the TV commercial category.

We Don’t Always Win

“They reached out because we’ve won Telly Awards over the past dozen years. One of the reasons I like them is that we don’t always win,” Lanel laughs. “They get over 12,000 entries from all around the world. The Telly’s are competitive. They’ve been around for forty years, and it is an achievement to win a Telly. I was honored to be asked to judge this year.”

All judges on The Telly Awards Judging Council have previously won the Telly Awards’ highest accolade. As winners they demonstrate expertise in the categories they review.

The Judging Process

Lanel took dozens of pages of notes. “I had to create my own criteria and my own standard. It’s was a scale from 1-10. The question was what is a “great spot?” Only one spot a ten! Not only was it good strategically, well made and enjoyable by its target audience, they also used a few tricks that I was so impressed by that I actually showed it to my DP! I said check this out – look how they did this! So the fact that it made me want to share it internally, I gave it a ten!”

He likes the fact that the Telly’s strive to recognize accomplishment by producers with moderate or low budgets for advertising. “Budget commercials are one of the judging categories – they recognize that a low budget spot isn’t going to compete against bigger budgets,” Lanel explains. “Part of the interesting thing in entering is I’m looking to make sure that people recognize the quality of the commercial. I want that the work will still be successful even with that lower budget. It’s important – from ideation through editing, delivering what you promised to your client, and delivering your best work with real intention.”

“Budget aside, making quality ‘stories’ matters a lot to me. I think it’s an incredible way – with this reactive ROI world that we live in, to market a company. I love the idea of smart branding, and getting top-of-mind awareness when people aren’t really looking for it. Television and video still give that opportunity in a powerful way.”

Television Commercial Goal

“A TV commercial has to align with the client’s branding goals, and must always have a strategy to reach the target. The acting, the filming, the editing all have to really work harmoniously. Additionally, post-production has to have that same level of quality. Sound design, the coloring and effects can look like they cost a million bucks even if they didn’t. And then on top of all that there’s often something unique, something that feels spontaneous with a creative energy that you can feel through the screen.”

Every job at GWP, Inc. Advertising is rigorously prepared and planned for. However, he always goes back to that extra something. “We are always storyboarded and on the same page as our client in every detail. But sometimes great stuff comes in the moment.”

Lanel goes on to say, “You know, talent does that – there’s a lot of opportunities that come out on set. I remember one spot we did, during the lunch break, the actress was casually telling me about a quirky, funny dance she can do, and I said – ‘awesome – let’s try that on-camera.’ So after lunch we did a few takes that way. And of course, it scored really well. We actually did some testing before we brought it out, and that version with the dance scored through the roof. It was so much fun. I’m a firm believer that when you keep your eyes and ears open in the moment, you capture those invaluable, unexpected opportunities.”

Eric Lanel is the founder and President of GWP Inc. The most recent commercials he has directed include regional campaigns for Atlantic Health System, Air Group, and Wayne Tile. Lanel’s recent video work is featured on the websites and social media for such national clients as Mecho Shades and Azek.