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Creating Powerful Ads For Your Brand with Daniel Harmon, Chief Creative Officer at Harmon Brothers

Daniel HarmonDaniel Harmon is the Chief Creative Officer at Harmon Brothers, the advertising agency behind some of the most viral ads in Internet history. The Harmon Brothers team has masterminded advertising campaigns for Poo~Pourri, Squatty Potty, Purple, FiberFix, ChatBooks, and many more. Most recently, the agency has helped take the brand Lume Deodorant from $1.7 million to $50 million in revenue. In his role, Daniel has created groundbreaking advertisements that have collectively driven over 1.4 billion views and more than $350 million in sales.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How the Harmon Brothers advertising agency first got started
  • Daniel’s approach to creating ads that make consumers laugh, like, share, and buy
  • How Daniel and his team at Harmon Brothers choose the brands they work with
  • Daniel shares the brands he would love to work with—and his thoughts on Tesla’s marketing approach
  • Why Harmon Brothers once accepted a motorbike as payment
  • The biggest challenge Daniel and Harmon Brothers faced on their journey to success
  • How Harmon Brothers helped Lume Deodorant grow to $50 million in revenue
  • What’s next for Harmon Brothers?

In this episode…

Have you ever heard of Poo~Pourri or Squatty Potty? Despite being relatively small brands (with products about poop), chances are you or someone you know have. Thanks to the powerful advertising and branding campaigns created by Harmon Brothers, these companies have become household names. So, what is the agency’s secret to creating viral ads that generate massive sales?

Daniel Harmon, the Chief Creative Officer at Harmon Brothers, has consistently created ads that make consumers laugh, like, share, and buy. According to him, the secret to success is incorporating the best elements of direct-to-consumer conversion with the best elements of storytelling and branding. The result: one powerful advertising format.

Tune in to this episode of the eCommerce Profits Podcast as host Joshua Chin interviews Daniel Harmon, the Chief Creative Officer at Harmon Brothers, about the secret to creating viral advertising and branding campaigns. Daniel reveals his approach to creating ads that have recorded over 1.4 billion views and more than $350 million in revenue. He also shares the brands he would love to work with and his plans for the future of Harmon Brothers. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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Books Mentioned:

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency.

If you are a direct-to-consumer ecommerce brand that wants to unlock the optimum customer lifetime value through email marketing, then look no further than Chronos Agency!

Our team of passionate email marketing experts have helped hundreds of brands generate over $70 million in return from email alone, and our clients receive an average of 3500% ROI from our efforts.

Chronos Agency has worked with a variety of brands, including Truly Beauty, Alya Skin, and many more. Our mission is to help real businesses achieve real results. 

If you want to take your revenue to the next level using email marketing, be sure to email our team at sales@chronos.agency or visit chronos.agency to learn more.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:04

Welcome to The eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top founders and experts in the e commerce industry and take an in depth look at their struggles and successes in growing e commerce brands profitably.

Josh Chin here I am the host of The eCommerce Profits Podcast where we feature top experts in the eCommerce industry. And we go behind the scenes of the struggles and successes in growing a brand. Now this episode is brought to you by Chronos Agency. If you’re a direct to consumer ecommerce brand that is ready for next level growth and to unlock the optimal customer lifetime value through email marketing, Chronos is your company, we’ve helped hundreds of brands get over $17 million in return from email alone, and our clients get an average of 3500% ROI on our efforts. We’ve worked with brands like Truly Beauty, Ally Skin, The Udi and many more. And if you’re interested in what we’re doing here, the next step is just to email us at sales@chronos.agency, that’s sales@chronos.agency, or you can go to Chronos.Agency to learn more. And today’s guest is someone I’m super excited to have on Daniel Harmon is the Chief Creative Officer of Harmon Brothers, whose advertisements are responsible for over 1.5 billion views on the internet and $400 million in revenue generated. In fact, you’ve probably seen some of their ads, Harmon Brothers are the masterminds behind advertising campaigns for Poo~Pourri, Squatty, Potty, Purple, FiberFix, ChatBooks, and many more. And recently Lume, where basically, they took that brand off the roof, and we’re going to talk a little bit about that in a bit. But Daniel, welcome to the show.

Daniel Harmon 1:58

Thank you for having me on. Appreciate it.

Joshua Chin 2:01

Now, tell me a little bit more about you know, most people are going to be really curious about how Harmon Brothers got started. And I know, you’ve talked about this a lot. But if you were to give kind of a brief history of off the agency, what would that be like?

Daniel Harmon 2:19

What’s never brief, but my brothers were co founders of a little company called Orabrush, it’s a tongue cleaner, that that gets the bacteria off your tongue and helps you get rid of bad breath. And they they pioneered a campaign on YouTube to sell the airbrush. It It was kind of it was it was a total flop actually in stores. The the the inventor of the Orabrush had gotten it into local stores, and it wasn’t getting any movement. Finally, he took it to the local business school, my brother was part of that class, and they did a study on it. The study concluded that you shouldn’t try to sell the Orabrush online because only about 7% of people or 8%, whatever the number was, would actually buy it online. And then my brother raised his hand and said, wait seven or 8% that’s, that’s still millions of people, right? Why not sell to them. And the inventor of the airbrush really liked that and came to him and they started working on you know, just different strategies to try to sell you to try to make the oral brushing into an e commerce brand. go direct to consumer not worry about having to do all the retail distribution. And they ended up making a YouTube campaign that I consulted on and that that was the first campaign on YouTube in history to ever where you can dependably spend $1 in advertising and get more than $1 back and it got millions and millions of views it’s still find it there on on on YouTube. It’s how to tell if you have bad breath because the title or something close to that and Orabrush still works it’s still a great product but they ended up getting distribution and Walgreens and Walmart there it is Josh Scotland and CBS and Boots and all these different retailers all over the world. And and then a little company in Texas called Poo~Pourri reached out to my brother Jeffrey and said saw the work that had been done before versus like, Oh, I need that done for my little poop spray. You know something you spray in your toilet before you go to the bathroom? And it makes it so your poop doesn’t stink. And and so we didn’t at that time but by that by that time I was a full time employee Orabrush we all were I was an art director there my brothers were heading up marketing and operations And we decided to resign for Orabrush because we didn’t like the direction that a company was going and go off and do the Poo~Pourri campaign. We made the Poo~Pourri campaign with no intention of creating an advertising agency. It was just to make that campaign work, we thought we would maybe even become part of their company. Like we weren’t part of waterbrush at the time, just before that, and we launched the campaign from my brother’s living room or from his firm’s kitchen, actually. And pretty soon, media outlets started to grab the YouTube link and write articles on it was like Huffington Post, and Adweek and Advertising Age and some of these really big, well known communicate, publications, I think, like there was like BuzzFeed and all these others that picked it up, and they were selling out a product, they couldn’t even keep up with the inventory. Poo~Pourri he became a household name almost almost overnight. And just millions and millions of views and they would cite creative agency Harmon Brothers, and we were looking around at each other like, We’re an agency. Yes. Where are we really an agency? Like we made a campaign for a client I guess that makes sense as an agency, we didn’t know what to think about it and and then from there, we started having having more and more inquiries on people that wanted help with marketing campaigns advertising campaigns, and that led to the campaign with Squatty Potty. Bobby the CEO of Squatty Potty saw the Poo~Pourri campaign he was very upset because he’s like, that should have been my brand. But then we were able to go in one up that in a big way and do the the Prince and the unicorn in the and ice cream poop campaign. The Magic magical pooping, pooping unicorn rainbow. Yeah, yeah, blue, that blue, all their sales out of the water. And, and then from there, you know if to Purple, ChatBooks, and you know, on and on down the list. Um, you know, this is an e commerce podcast, so things like Click Funnels and, and, and Camp Chef and more recently Lume Deodorant, which has been phenomenal. Like he said, we went, we took them from like a $1.7 million run rate to now since the partnership with them, they’re, I think they’re on track to do I think it’s 50 million this year, something crazy like that. But Wow. Yeah, yeah, they’re there, they grow huge. And that was just, you know, this course of a couple of years. But anyway, yeah, it’s been, it’s been a wild ride, we’ve felt extremely blessed to be part of it. And, you know, in this process, we’ve pioneered what’s people often referred to as a Harmon Brothers style, ad or Harmon Brothers style video, where it’s, it’s, it’s incorporating some of the best elements of direct consumer conversion with some of the best elements of storytelling and branding into one powerful ad format. And we do a lot more than that. Now, there’s all sorts of stuff we do. But that’s, that’s kind of what we’re known for.

Joshua Chin 8:16

I think that’s where the sweet spot of an efficacy of your ads lie. It’s that it’s that sweet spot between a direct response ad that you typically see in Facebook, versus a massive advertising campaign, with brands like Nike or Apple with huge advertising budgets, and you guys manage to kind of balance between the two and find it really strong middle ground. And I was, as I was reading, a Russell Brunson testimonial of you guys and all your ads create really just for four responses. It’s to laugh, like, share and buy. And that’s incredibly powerful and rare. What do you think? Is that thought process behind? You know, going between those two extremes, versus kind of just going? Are we just gonna focus on going to one extreme or the other? Exactly, yeah.

Daniel Harmon 9:13

Okay, so I think both have their merits. direct response has its merits, especially in the very earliest stages of a business and branding like what Nike and Apple and stuff did they were out doing direct response, it would almost be like, what are you doing email? Where Where is this coming from? Are you sitting here hard selling me a shoe or some sort of laptop or, or an iPhone or something? Same thing for companies like Ford, Red Bull and so on. I would say that, where the magic of it comes in is that when a company especially is in its earlier stages, they can’t get too focused. They can’t get too ahead of themselves on their messaging, meaning a lot of What they’re just trying to do is educate people very clearly, in anyone that’s read Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand, or building a store, but I can’t remember the title of exactly, but you know what book I’m talking about. He talks about, you know, you confuse you lose, we also say the confused customer never buys. And that is very true that you have to communicate your message very clearly, especially when you’re not, people aren’t familiar with you, you have to get that across. And so what, what’s so powerful about this ad format is that it both gets the clear communication across, but it also leaves a powerful brand lasting emotional response inside of them above and beyond whether or not they were just interested in the product or the service itself, and the solution that it’s providing to your problem. So meaning, even for people that didn’t buy a Squatty Potty, or that didn’t buy a Purple Mattress, or that didn’t buy a Camp Chef would win grill, or that didn’t buy Fiberfix, or Chatbooks, or Lume or so on, they walk away with a positive association with that brand in the event that they ever come across it again, online or in retail. And that’s, that’s the power of branding, right of being able to stick in someone’s mind with something that lasts much beyond what they’re not, they just thought the offer was great, or whether or not they thought that thing was going to solve their problem. And so that’s, it’s it’s a long term kind of approach. But it also provides those short term results that a growing company needs, because they have to be able to know that they’re investing and it’s it’s coming back, right away. And and I shouldn’t just say a growing company, but I should see an up and coming company, right?

Joshua Chin 11:50

Yeah, that’s, that’s amazing. And I think what makes you know, the the outcome of your your advertise as participants so powerful is also just the sheer amount of passion and, and you guys really care for the products that you work with. And you try really hard to be passionate about the products and brands that you work with? What’s that process of selecting a good brand to partner with? And I know you guys are you know, you don’t work with any brand that comes to you, obviously have a strong qualification process. What does that look like?

Daniel Harmon 12:26

Um, so it looks like a lot of leads that come in through our website, HarmonBrothers.com, every single, every single day, and we have a business development team that filters through them. And then they kind of let the creative directors know, here’s some things that are coming down the pipeline, because we have to have a creative director that feels passionately about it. That’s, that’s the main thing is we, I always say nothing sells better than the truth. And I really believe that that the authenticity of selling something you really believe in, will come across more than any one thing, right. And so we have to have some passion and some belief in the product or service. So we try to experience that as a customer. First and foremost, we try to get our hands on it, play with it, taste it, eat it, use it, or have someone that is more the demographic close by to us that that uses it and get a sense of what that’s like, so that we know kind of what that customer aha moment is. And then we can speak more from the customer’s shoes, then, than anything else. Rather than trying to imagine what it would be like or trying to project some of those things. It’s a much more natural communication process when you have already made yourself into that customer.

Joshua Chin 13:51

And you have you on your site. You also mentioned a couple of steps in terms of how you turn Well, on the site. FromPoop to Gold podcast is amazing. I’m a big fan. Everybody should go check it out Poop to Gold podcast. But yeah, of turning basically anything into gold. And that process starts with, you know, making sure that the brand believes in what they do, you know, the truth. And then the qualification comes in. And the fit is the last thing when it comes to, you know, brands that come to you versus some of the brands that you are in your dream client list, and I tell me a little bit more about who your dream clients are,

Daniel Harmon 14:45

for sure. So we’re very lucky in that pretty much all of our brands can’t even think of an exception right now. All of our brands that are history, to my knowledge are people that have come to us. We’re very, very fortunate. Since the success of Orabrush, and then Poo~Pourri, and so on, it’s always been people approaching us. We haven’t had to go out. And and I mean, not to say we haven’t, you know, done a little bit of that, but it’s, but but it’s it’s primarily and I think I think 100% today are ones that have come to us. So if if we’re going to think in terms of clients that I think would be really cool to do something for, I think Tesla would be a fun brand for us to work with. Elon, if you’re listening, then

Joshua Chin 15:35

I hope he’s listening.

Daniel Harmon 15:36

You don’t have my number, but you can find me on LinkedIn. And then I would also say, a company like Airbnb would be really fun to work with. So I’m just thinking of, you know, products that we use ourselves. Could be really cool. Even something like slack would be fun to do an advertisement for do some sort of a marketing campaign. Yeah. I’m trying to think of other innovative things that that I use in my life, that would be really fun to work on. There’s some different. I’m trying to think of food brands even that come to mind that would be but I’ve always thought it would be fun to work on. Oh, here’s here’s a personal one for me. I like I’d like him to water era. Yeah, they’re the they have amazing.

Joshua Chin 16:34

Yeah, hinge water.

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