Dec 12, 2019
Daniel Harmon is Chief Creative Officer of Harmon Brothers, an ad agency most famous for the Squatty Potty Pooping Unicorn. The agency mixes two areas of concentration: traditional direct response advertising (asking for an immediate sale) and branding (where the goal is to evoke a positive customer brand response and promote brand loyalty.)
Clients come to Harmon Brothers when their product has a more complex or difficult story . . . or even one that touches on societal taboos, but Harmon has to be sold on a company’s product before they will take on that company as a client. Daniel believes that comedy is a good for simplifying complex ideas, and “making the boring interesting and the controversial safe.” In this interview, Daniel also discusses the techniques and importance of ad testing. The quality of creative is important, but Daniel believes distribution is key.
Before the Harmon brothers became Harmon Brothers, they worked at Orabrush, which was founded by Daniel’s brothers when they took an old man’s floundering idea for a tongue cleaner (for bad breath), created a promotional video, and aired it on YouTube. Orabrush was the first product on YouTube’s ad platform that produced a positive ROI.
A hundred or so videos later, Poo Pourri, seeing the Orabrush campaign success, contacted the brothers. They left Orabrush and went to work on the Poo-Pourri campaign, strategizing around their kitchen table, thinking that they would become part of the company. When Poo-Pouri started talking campaign contract, the Harmon brothers had to be something with a name . . . so the Harmon brothers became Harmon Brothers – we can change it later (but they didn’t). When the Poo-Pourri campaign exploded, people started talking about the Creative agency Harmon Brothers. Surprise! “I guess we’re an agency.”
They puttered . . . until Squatty Potty came along in 2015. Harmon Brothers created a “Rainbow Pooping Unicorn” video featuring a plush baby unicorn that pooped rainbow-colored soft-serve ice cream. The video went viral, with over 50 million Facebook/YouTube views that year. Squatty Potty sales shot up to over $15 million. A plush Squatty Potty Dookie the Pooping Unicorn? Just what every young child wants for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza? Maybe not . . .
Daniel spoke at Hubspot’s Inbound 2019 on the topic: “Create Ads that Sell.” He emphasized the importance of comedy and “brand” characters in advertising to get people to emotionally connect with a brand and putting really good sales principles into direct response campaigns.
The Harmon Brothers collaborated with veteran author Chris Jones to lay out the company’s key creative/ culture/ process/ partnership principles. The resulting book, From Poop to Gold: The Marketing Magic of the Harmon Brothers, is available on https://harmonbrothersbook.com/from-poop-to-gold25696414.
Daniel can be reached on his company’s website at: Harmonbrothers.com/. The company also has a podcast which can be accessed from that site. On “From Poop to Gold” podcasts, entrepreneurs/ creatives/ marketers tell stories about how they’ve turned bad situations into something positive – inspiring for everyone, whether in the industry or not.