Targeted Strategic Marketing and Design for Industry Survivors


Project Spotlight

Give Ducks the Blues

  • Client: Rio Ammunition
  • Project Type: Print Ad Series

Rio Ammunition of Marshall, Texas approached NobleToad with a request for a quirky ad series that would be fundamentally different than any other spot currently being run by the competition. The subject was their BlueSteel line of steel shot waterfowl loads. They request two separate ads that would run in series as well as alternate amongst the major industry journals, such as Ducks Unlimited, Shooting Sportsman and American Waterfowler.

The first ad concept took an old photo of Delta blues legend Mississippi John Hurt and used Photoshop to turn Mr. Hurt into a duck with the headline, “Give Ducks the Blues.” Instead of paying stock photography fees, NobleToad contacted a surviving relative of Mississippi John Hurt and arranged for permission to use the image in this manner a for a generous donation to the museum that bears his name in Avalon, Mississippi. John Hurt’s daughter saw the final ad and was thrilled, saying that her father had a great sense of humor and would have loved being depicted this way. A copy of the ad is on display in the museum.

The second ad followed the theme by finding a vintage image of a punt gun, a large bore shotgun that was used in the 1800s and early 1900s to bring down ducks en masse. The punt gun has since been outlawed for obvious environmental reasons, but the image was used in concert with the headline, “Yeah, it’s something like that” to convey the hard-hitting power and performance of Rio BlueSteel line of products. To the American waterfowler, a hard hitting load is essential for reaching ducks and geese at higher altitude and the punt gun image sold this concept.

The ad series was immensely popular with both dealer and consumer audiences adding a unique level of memorability and brand recognition where it is often difficult to rise above the noise level of competing messages in the densely-packed ad market of waterfowl season.