Joseph Ehlinger copywriter recent photo

What's It All About?

I started as a guitarist playing in bands around Philadelphia, got a job as a writer at ad agency on Madison Avenue, learned recording software, then art direction software, and after 18 years of writing and shooting national TV spots, learned video editing and web design software.

This background gives me a lot of tools to choose from when I approach a project – not to mention a hands-on knowledge of how each channel works best.

I love what I do because it lets me use a lot of what I know. It prods my curiosity each day. And lets me work with some supremely gifted people.

I believe we live in extraordinary times. Where you can broadcast live worldwide from the palm of your hand with a cell phone. And where top level thinking lives side by side with crawling SEO bots.

That's what it's all about.

A Few Wins and an Epic Fail

Diageo Spirits – Helped win the top Diageo spirit brands for Colangelo Marketing (Omnicom), in Darien, CT. When I started, the shop had only Smirnoff as a liquor account. Subsequently, we won Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Bushmills, Ketel One, Ciroc, Bulleit Bourbon – every one of their best sellers. And we retained this BTL business for more than 10 years. See portfolio examples.

Super Bowl TV – I wrote the first Super Bowl commercial ever done at Grey. It was for the launch of Kforce, an online recruiting firm that wanted to go head-to-head against category leaders Monster and HotJobs. The spot generated 2.5 million hits on game day before the servers crashed. Yahoo and USA Today named it a Top 10 commercial. The client ended up so backlocked with applicants that they cancelled all future advertising. Mark this one as a win and a fail. See commercial.

PepsiCo Sierra Mist launch – I created a step-by-step Activation Guide that turned over 9,000 employees at the PepsiCo bottling plants into one-day experiential street team samplers. This resulted in over five million samples distributed in 135 markets – the largest sampling event in PepsiCo history. I shot and edited footage of the NYC event. See video.

Humira Digital Launch – This was a freelance project from Tribal DDB. The idea was to show the results of this new rheumatoid arthritis treatment from three different points of view: the patient, his wife and his doctor. I conducted the interviews, then wrote the articles. See first website.

Coca-Cola Olympic Torch Relay – I served as the Creative Director for an experiential touring event that literally ran from LA to ATL in 84 days. Wrote and produced a 35 minute show that featured a live emcee and live video coverage. The show was performed twice daily at the cauldron lighting ceremonies (lunch and evening). A traveling Jumboton showed the event to the large, local crowds. I also worked as the live TV Director, providing daily video feeds to local NBC affiliates on the route. Ran the Olympic Torch, too. See video.

20th Century Fox Feature Films – One of a six person pitch team that won the $85 million dollar media account for Young & Rubicam. Conducted audience segmentation research for upcoming releases. Met Studio Head Joe Roth during post-production of "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane." Mark as a fail for the early film career of Andrew 'Dice' Clay.

KFC Colonel's Rotisserie Gold Introduction – New product launch to compete directly against the rapid expansion of Boston Market. Increased sales 17%. TV campaign was extended to three months due to franchisee demand. A win. See commercial.

Shot with Michael Bay – It was during his pre-Transformers period when he worked at Propoganda Films. The spot was for a caramel popcorn and peanut snack called Crunch 'n' Munch. We haven't collaborated since. (Although I'm still open to the idea.) Not really a win. More like bragging rights.

Ray Charles Sang My Lyrics – At the time, KFC was using his song "Hit the Road, Jack" for their campaign. I wrote lyrics for a new chicken sandwich TV commercial. Long story, short, the sandwich never launched, but the song remains. Listen to the lost track.

P&G Olean Introduction – Procter and Gamble sunk 30 years of research and over $500 million into developing Olean (Olestra), a new fat-free cooking oil. After multiple creative shootouts between two agencies, this campaign tested best. Despite intense public scrutiny, the launch generated $400 million in first year sales. Nevertheless, an epic fail. See campaign.

What else have I been up to? Take a look at my resume.