OKRP launches massive first campaign for Ace Hardware

The month of March came in like a lion for agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP) with the launch of its massive broadcast / digital campaign for client Ace Hardware.

The campaign is the OKRP’s first major work for the Oak Brook-based retail chain since landing the $63 million account last April.

Some 30 original commercials were taped over three months in three different cities, with a cast of 25 Ace associates and 40 real-life customers.  Finished in February, it was shipped to broadcast and digital outlets one week prior to the March 2 airdate.

OKRP’s creative team of CEO Tom O’Keefe, COO Matt Reinhard, CDs David Petti, Bob Jensen, Greg Mills and Larry Liss, used the jingle, “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man” as the campaign backdrop.

“We customized it to highlight Ace offerings and how Ace associates help customers tackle their home and garden projects throughout the year, and more,” Reinhard says. 

Before embarking on the campaign last summer, OKRP surveyed more than 100 Ace Hardware retailers and employees “to capture the one-of-a-kind authenticity of Ace’s helpfulness, and found it in the relationships and stories of real customers and Ace employees,” explains agency CEO Tom O’Keefe. 

President Nick Paul;  CEO Tom O'Keefe;  CCO Matt Reinhard“For us, putting a new twist on the iconic jingle was the perfect way to bring this authenticity to life.”

Preproduction began in early November and shooting started the day after Thanksgiving, produced by New York-based Addigital Productions, with director Jeff Jenkins and DP Jason Banker.

“We shot for 15 days at stores in Houston, Orlando and here in Villa Park, starting in the south to cover spring lawn and garden projects and in the Chicago area for fall and winter work,” Reinhard notes.

Addigital worked with a main crew of 15 that was augmented by  10 to 12 crews in each of the three cities, Reinhard says.   

Back in Chicago, editors Mark Jepsen and Keith Guerrero of OKRP’s   Whiskey & Bananas in-house facility, spent 700 hours cutting the 35 hours of footage into more than 25 unique 15 and 30-second spots. The revamped score was provided by Wojahn Brothers Music.  Post audio mixing by Mark Ruff at CRC.

The spots will air nationally on CBS, USA Network, HGTV, Food Network and ESPN, among others.

Online videos, with companion banners, will be placed on Hulu and YouTube. Media integrations will be made with Food Network, Animal Planet, 120 Sports, USA Network and DirecTV, among others.

In addition, 15 unique 30-second national radio spots will air on terrestrial and streaming radio (Spotify, Pandora) with companion banners.

The campaign also will be extended across multiple consumer touch points, including social media, acehardware.com, store signage, circulars, email, direct mail, and local market TV, audio, and display templates.

Ace Hardware’s campaign launched almost a year after OKRP took over the account in April, 2015, and a few weeks short of the three years from St. Patrick’s Day, 2013 when the three admen formed their own agency.