5 questions with Nicole Keefe

By |  August 4, 2018

Nicole Keefe is director of marketing and advertising for Clark Pest Control, whose service territory is throughout California and Northwestern Nevada. In May, the Lodi, Calif.-based firm debuted its 2018 radio and TV campaign. It teamed with Nimmea Advertising and Hazy Mills Productions, the creative minds behind the TV show “Grimm,” among other projects. The campaign focuses on “friendly pest technician Clark” as he encounters “supernatural pests” — a werewolf, a ghost, a scary clown and an even scarier mother-in-law.

Photo courtesy of Nicole Keefe

Photo courtesy of Nicole Keefe

1. Is this a bigger marketing undertaking than Clark Pest Control has had in the past?

Historically, we have had a strong creative plan with our annual TV and radio campaigns, producing one to two new ads each year for both. This new campaign, however, is our first in decades with a new creative team. They infused a refreshing new angle on our classic, humorous twist on pest control creative.

2. The company has a long history of using humor in its marketing. Why do you feel it works?

Having pests can be a stressful, uncomfortable or just plain yucky experience for some. We want to create a feeling of empathy and show that we get what customers are dealing with, while remaining relatable as a company by showing our willingness to laugh about it. At the end of the day, we are trying to create a positive brand sentiment. We want you to smile when you think of Clark Pest Control and have confidence that we will get the job done.

With the fracturing and clutter in today’s marketing, we choose to focus on reinforcing our brand in our more-established markets to stay top-of-mind, while creating goodwill for our brand in our newer markets. We believe we can accomplish our goals with strong creative like these new commercials, and a strategic deployment plan that reaches our target customers through as many touchpoints as possible.

3. Is Clark becoming a brand spokesman, a la the KFC’s Colonel or the Maytag Repairman?

We will likely expand on the campaign, with Clark taking on more of the “extraordinary.” For many years, we have given Clark a voice — from blogging about tips and tricks for great pest control to showcasing him in local print advertising. We are expanding his voice and possibly including more of an “action figure” character in our print campaigns.

4. How long of a process would you estimate this to have been, from meeting with the companies for a concept to actually seeing ads air starting May 3? 

We began working on concepts in the beginning of February with our creative team. Preproduction began later that month. The ads were shot in March, and post-production was completed at the end of April. We were able to shoot all three commercials over a single day, which was very ambitious. But we accomplished it, thanks to our fearless team.

5. What advice do you have for other pest management companies looking to make a splash on TV and/or online?

Aligning with partners and creative teams that understand your market and “get” your company is golden. The creative brainstorming process with Nimmea and Hazy Mills was so fun because they had seen our previous campaigns, knew our online presence and ad copy, and seemed to understand the kind of customers we target. They also are very talented. We were happy to partner with a team that could take our thoughts, ideas and personality and run with them. We then got out of their way and watched them bring it all to life, which was a lot of fun.

Use as much external consumer data, as well as internal marketing and sales data, as you can to truly understand who your customers are, where and how they shop, what media they consume and their key conversion points. It can be easy to get caught up in what you like and want, but you need to view marketing from your customer’s perspective to be effective.

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