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

Daniel Harmon 16:35

Mm hmm. Yep. I was introduced to them years ago. And they’ve grown a lot since then. But I think that’d be a fun brand to work on.

Joshua Chin 16:41

They did. They’re they’re an amazing brand. And the founders of great lady.

Daniel Harmon 16:45

Yeah, her story is really amazing.

Joshua Chin 16:48

Yeah, super cool. And Tesla is something that stands out. Your CEO, Benton actually create a road, a three part article on LinkedIn, if I remember correctly. Talk to me a little bit more about Tesla and how you think about the marketing direction of Tesla. I think when when Benton wrote that article that was in was in 20, mid 2020 or early 2020. Yeah. And obviously, it has blew up and a lot of predictions that he made came true. So, I mean, on hindsight, what do you think about the the marketing direction of that of the company? And how do you think that that approach between your brand awareness and their direct response could be could take take them to even the next level?

Daniel Harmon 17:43

Well, their marketing approach, today has mostly been just Elon’s Twitter account. Right? Exactly, yeah. That’s pretty much what it’s been. And then obviously, making a really big deal of their, like, event announcement kind of stuff, right, they make a really big press event of that, which is extremely smart in the way that they’re approaching it. I feel like, Tesla is so different for so many people in, in the way, it’s so different from, like, for example, my Toyota Camry, right? It’s, it’s very different from that car, in, in everything from the drive train to just like everything about it is is so different, that it needs a lot of education to come with it. And but they also are very premium brand, they’re known for being very safe cars. They’re known also for being very coveted high end cars. And so if you were to go just to kind of a, you know, for lack of a better term, slimy direct response kind of approach, it would not feel good to anybody. And it would not help that brand at all long term. And that’s where we feel like we could come in and really tell a very compelling emotional story around it, we would probably want to incorporate some humor into that. I think Elon has a sense of humor in his, in his own ways,

Joshua Chin 19:13

that’s gonna blow up. I think that’s an amazing idea. Yeah.

Daniel Harmon 19:16

But I think it just requires a lot of education to help someone understand a Tesla, and I think it requires more than just a 30-second commercial. And that’s kind of our strong, strong thing is longer form. Or, or a portfolio approach of where we can do a lot of different video content with it. Tell a really compelling story around around Tesla, why, why it’s so different, why it matters, how it ends up being more efficient, and what the lifetime value of that of that car is compared to, you know, usage of other cars, all those different stories around it. I mean, there’s so many micro stories that we’d have to probably dive into their message testing on their website and things like that to find out what works to help guide us. But yeah, I think it would just be a really a really fun company to work with. And I just also want to test on myself so Oh, yeah, maybe taught me one as part of the campaign.

Joshua Chin 20:14

Maybe that’s it, that’s gonna be part of the payment as well. And talking about payments in, in, in the form of a car I heard this somewhere but back when back when I believe Harmon Brothers was just starting out or even before that one of one of the founders got a payment in the form of a vehicle. That was a really interesting story. Could you tell me a little bit more about? Yeah, so

Daniel Harmon 20:41

I mentioned briefly the Orabrush story, where my brother was in that business class, wanted to sell to these 78% of people like that still millions of people, you should totally do that. In their initial campaigns that they were running, where they were buying ads on things like Google AdSense, and I think even on Facebook, and running different types of ad campaigns, the founder, the original founder and inventor, Dr. Bob did not have money to pay Jeffrey in cash in order to perform the services that he was doing. And so he was actually in jeopardy didn’t have a car at the time he was in college. And he saw he would like bike to different places or, or he would, you know, ride the bus. And so in order to get Dr. Bob, I think partially just got sick of giving Jeffrey right into his house to go working on his stuff, and go and picking him up and he’ll forgive around. And so he’s like, well, I don’t have money to pay you right now for this first, you know, couple of months, you’ve been working on stuff and Jeffrey’s like, you don’t need to pay me. Like I haven’t gotten any any results yet. But I’ve got even sales. He’s like, No, I want to pay something he’s like, Here, you can just you can How about you take my bike that as payment? He had a good I think it was a Suzuki motorbike of some kind that he paid him that it was worth, you know, a few $1,000 or something along those lines.

Joshua Chin 22:07

Do you still have it right now?

Daniel Harmon 22:10

You might still have that bike? To be honest. I remember but yeah, that was his first. That was his first form of payment.

Joshua Chin 22:20

Gotcha. And you know what? It’s, it’s it’s very easy to kind of think about Harmon Brothers, as a lot of people think of you guys as like an overnight success. Bam. Poo~Pourri, bam, Squatty Potty. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s a little bit of a series of ups and downs. What was the lowest moment or the the the biggest struggle that you’ve had to face in your journey?

Daniel Harmon 22:53

The biggest struggle was not too long after we did Poo~Pourri. And I guess I’m going to get a little bit personal with this story if that’s okay. But we had done the Poo~Pourri campaign, it had been extremely successful. It hadn’t been extremely successful for us, financially, in the way that we thought it would be. Because just some things didn’t work out the way that we thought they would. But at any rate, we got our name out there, and then and then our church. So I’m a Christian. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, our church approached us about helping out on a campaign for a Christmas project. And it was, it was kind of a multi faith sort of effort with several different like YouTubers and influencers on the piano guys. They’re very popular on YouTube. They were involved with that we made this negativity video and released it around Christmas time, it was also a huge success got millions and millions of views was this awesome experience. And this is the way my mind went. My mindset, okay, we did it. Because we didn’t do it for profit. We did it. We did it straight, just the money to cover our expenses. That was it. We weren’t trying to make any money off of it, right? We just believe in the cause. And, and then my mind naively said, Oh, okay, we did this nice thing for God. Now he’s gonna totally help us out with some more, some more business. And then we went to the dry spell of our lives there. After that Christmas season, where we went, I think months and months and months and months without signing another client. We’re dipping into our savings. And we were taking little side jobs. And we were about to the point where we’re like, man, are we gonna have to spend this thing and like not even work together anymore? And we just took took little teeny projects before we kind of figured our model out. And some of the things that had really been made us successful on Orabrush, Poo~Pourri, we would just kind of take on these little clients that came to us. And it was just kind of a mess for a while. Our our CEO was driving Uber for a little bit to pay his bills. And he was also laying concrete, lane, lane cement and concrete. For a landscaping job, I was doing little logo jobs and little writing jobs and branding jobs on the side, just from my computer out of my, you know, Adobe Creative Suite. And things just weren’t going that well for us. Like I said, we were draining our savings, savings accounts. And then along came Squatty Potty. So it got really, really bad for a while where we didn’t know well, how we were gonna prefer sure if we would be able to feed our families the next month and whether or not we’d be continuing as an agency or any of that kind of stuff. And then Squatty Potty Squatty Potty came along, we were able to do that deal. And not just do that deal. But it was extremely successful. And that changed. That changed our fortunes very much for for the better. But yeah, it got out pretty low there for a while where we weren’t even doing, you know, the traditional client work. There weren’t campaigns to work on the ones that we had to work on were short lived and not not successful. And yeah, that’s that was kind of that was kind of our poop before we turned it to gold.

Joshua Chin 26:24

Oh, appreciate you sharing that, sir. Yeah, that’s a that’s incredible. And I think that’s what a lot of people miss out on, because it’s not, you know, it’s not talked about it’s not advertised, it’s not celebrated. But I guess part of what you try to do with with the podcast is to highlight both sides of that. The before and after the Poop to Gold Podcast, everybody check that out. And that’s it. I’m just a big fan. Let’s talk about your recent success with Lume deodorant. What was the you know, it I guess it all culminated to the success that you have today. But what were some of the key points of learnings and ideas that you if you’ve taken away from your years of experience in different brands that you apply to Lume successfully?

Daniel Harmon 27:15

You bet. It starts with a really great product. Lume is a really good product, it works. Specifically, it works very well. His biggest differentiation is not just that it’s a natural deodorant, because there are other natural deodorant out there. But it’s a natural deodorant that you can use on your downstairs parts on your private goods. It is a deodorant for pits and private parts. And that’s an area that not a lot of people are addressing all if, if any really in the deodorant category, right? There’s different things like powders and things that you can put on. But as far as like a deodorant that you can apply to your nether regions. They don’t really hardly exist. Um, so it, it was very differentiated in that way. And we thought we could tell a really compelling story around that, because Lume had approached other marketing agencies about doing a partnership, and they all wanted to kind of skirt around that fact of like, Oh, you can’t really talk about this private part stuff. Like just just talk about the fact that it’s a good deal, right. And that’s, that’s good enough. And we said, No, we want to help you tell that story. And we think we can do it with humor, you know, it’s a taboo subject, we can do it in a funny way. Or people are going to kind of laugh, it’s going to kind of let their guard down a little bit and realize, yeah, that is a problem for some people, where they either sweat or any number of different things going on out there can cause smells, right. And so we did a campaign for them, they run a $1.7 million run rate. And the campaign launched launched in December of I want to say December of 2017. And then in, and now December of 2018. And then in 2019 they did. Gosh, I want to say that they did something like 12

Joshua Chin 29:15

so that was like 10 X.

Daniel Harmon 29:17

Oh yeah, it was easily 10x it was it was some something along the lines of like, they jumped up to like it was 12 or 20 million. It was one of those anyways, crazy, whatever it was. And then the next is in the next year in 2020. Let me look up their number real fast. Do you mind?

Joshua Chin 29:32

Yeah, sure. Go ahead.

Daniel Harmon 29:35

I mean, I think right. Yes. Okay. This is all like this.

Joshua Chin 29:43

But it’s, it’s cool. I mean, this is Yeah, this is an incredible story as well because you get, you know, a brand that is, well, traditionally hard to sell and hard to talk about on TV. Right. It’s a very simple approach to what do you guys have done with Squatty? Potty? It’s an Poo~Pourri. It’s about poop. Yep. And that’s all very TV friendly.

Daniel Harmon 30:09

It’s not a taboo subject. So they, um, they, I think they did. It was they did around $50 million last year in 2020. Wow. Yeah, over the course, of course of two years, they went from a $1.7 million run rate to a $50 million a year company. So just mind boggling. And we did that first campaign, we’ve done follow up campaigns, we’ve done a whole bunch of content for them, they’ve been of a very good partner. But to their credit, they’ve leaned in, they’ve absolutely leaned in even when, when everything looked like the world looked like it was falling apart. They’ve just continued to, to take chances and trust. And we it’s been, it’s been a phenomenal relationship. And yeah, I think so. If you’d like you said the takeaways is one, start with a really great product that solves the real problem. Two, is using humor to disarm people and talk about something that was a taboo subject. And then the third one is that they’ve just made a lot of content, you cannot rely on any single ad or any single video, and grow your company to that point. You have to, you have to be able to have a lot of content that you can hit your audience with stuff that is fresh and new to them, but still supports the overall brand. brand promise or, or whatever it might be. So yeah,

Joshua Chin 31:36

so it’s never about just one one video 111 hit Well,

Daniel Harmon 31:41

we’re about one email, it’s never about one banner ad. It’s never about any of that stuff. It’s it’s all about that Top of Mind presence is about being being with people where they are as often as you can. And you have to create a lot of content to get there.

Joshua Chin 31:56

That’s amazing. And what’s next for Harmon Brothers?

Daniel Harmon 32:01

Gosh, what is next? So our Why is this if you’ve read Simon Sinek book, Start With Why are wise to share better stories. For us. in advertising. That means very specific things, we want to share better stories, help help our clients share better stories than what they can share themselves. We want to share stories that make the world a better place. We want to do it in in ways, better ways than we’ve done in the past, we want to be continually improving. And part of that is also now in helping our clients show better share better stories, as we have consulting that we do with their clients to help them point them in the right direction for things like e commerce and their web page design and all these different things where we can take the learnings that we’ve had from our campaign and apply them to their own brand so that they can, you know, they can, they can really make that get going themselves where they can do that work that we don’t have to be doing all that work for them. And that’s, that’s a big portion of it. And then the other thing is, the other kind of storytelling that we’re passionate about is some of our own original stories. I’m actually working on a TV series for kids, that teaches about principles of freedom, and human rights, and principles of entrepreneurship, and all that kind of good stuff. So we’ve got funding for the first four first four episodes. And yeah, it’s a 2d animated kids program that we’re coming down.

Joshua Chin 33:42

That’s incredible. Congratulations. What was it going to be called?

Daniel Harmon 33:45

It’s called Tuttle Twins. It’s based on book series that’s sold well over 2 million copies.

Joshua Chin 33:51

Wow. Okay. Yeah. Was the was a book series created by you guys as well?

Daniel Harmon 33:58

No, no, a friend of mine, that, that wrote the books and I, you know, was buying the books for my kids ever since they came out. And I just feel like there’s, I think there’s a huge gap when talking about seeing a need and providing a solution. There’s a huge gap in between, between the number of people who like freedom and believe in freedom, and those who really understand what freedom looks like, particularly when it comes to things like free markets, and, and human rights and some of those things, civil liberties, all that kind of stuff. So that’s what the show sets out to do is really give kids principle, a foundation of principles of freedom, so they can better understand that going forward. Everyone likes their freedoms. Now, that doesn’t matter where they are in the political spectrum. This show isn’t about, you know, Democrat or Republican, any any of that kind of stuff. It’s all about just principles of freedom and how and and how, how to think about how they apply in real life.

Joshua Chin 34:59

That’s it That sounds like a heavy topic for a kid. How do you break that down into something that’s digestible and acceptable for your child

Daniel Harmon 35:08

and taboo subjects in our ads, we do it with a lot of humor, the same way that we approach it with our ads. And when we go after any taboo subject or complicated subject, and really great storytelling, so bring it down in our ads. We just do our best to make them. We try to you know, I’ve got little, I’ve got little kids, and I can I can kind of test the content with them and see what’s working. We’re going to use the same things, comedy, adventure, great characters, great storytelling, it’s all that same stuff.

Joshua Chin 35:42

Awesome. Dan, thank you. Thank you so much. And last final question. Over here. What are some of you know, what are some other brands that you personally admire? Aside from the ones that we’ve talked about already today? And why?

Daniel Harmon 36:00

I’ve been asked this one so this is a good one. Um, I really like I mean, obviously, you know, Apple is a little bit of a gold standard with brands I like what they’ve done in in maintaining a very brands, I mean, Old Spice is a brand that I’ve liked for a while if you had to choose one brand

Joshua Chin 36:19

that you admire, that does amazing storytelling, what brand would that be and what to say

Daniel Harmon 36:26

Dr. Pepper is a really fun brand where their ads just make me laugh. Most of the time now and they they like advertise on on college football and, and it’s really fun to to kind of watch that happen. But they’ve got all this all these funny ads out. So Dr. Pepper’s Good one.

Joshua Chin 36:46

Daniel, thank you so much for being on the show. It’s been real fun to talk to you. And hope to have you on again someday.

Outro 36:56

Thanks for listening to the eCommerce Profits Podcast. We’ll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get notified of future episodes.

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