Friday, December 30, 2005

Time Piece

Just in time for the new year, Deepwater Specialists, Inc. (DSI) has a brand new ad. With concept and copy by Richard Laurence Baron – that would be me – and Joe Woods, art direction and design by Steve Stanley, DSI has launched an advertisement that's deceptively simple and different than the normal run of ads in the Oil & Gas trade mags.

There’s a way-too-familiar ad format in this market. It’s called “the rig in the sunset.” Sometimes, it seems like every company in the oil patch, whatever its specialty, has an ad with an oil rig or a platform, on or offshore, with either a sunrise or a sunset in it. And it does run in waves.

There are often creative upsurges that make the advertisers (and the publications) sparkle…and plenty of good advertising practitioners that make ads really stand out, inside and outside of the oilfield companies.

Then the dramatic breakers subside, and the industry’s tide turns to showing photos of oil rigs or production platforms again. Sometimes, this is warranted. Example, when a particularly significant advance in technology should be shown. For the oilfield service companies, this is often more difficult, because they don’t have the products per se…they do the work (which leads to cliché #2, crews in hard hats working on the rig or the platform).

DSI has become the world’s leading provider of the arcane and extremely complex service of commissioning facilities that are going to produce oil and gas from wells in some of the deepest parts of the ocean. You can read more about it here. But the facts are simple.

1. Offshore oilfield facilities are among the most complicated “machines” created by human beings today.

2. Exceptionally expensive, they have to operate efficiently and safely in very tough ocean conditions.

3. The longer it takes for a deepwater facility to get built, prepared, towed into position, and producing hydrocarbons (sometimes years), the more expensive it is for the facility owners and operators.

That’s why the ad’s timepiece doesn’t show minutes and hours. Look closely. You’ll see that the watch face shows days, weeks, months, and years – with a window that displays the cost of getting the facility into production.

Time is money…lots of it. Instead of focusing on what its services look like, DSI’s new ad spotlights customers’ major preoccupation: how long will it take before the facility produces “first oil.” The benefit: DSI helps shorten the time involved.

Congratulations, DSI, on the newly launched ad – and thanks for letting me be part of the effort.

Ad courtesy of Wood Group. All rights reserved.


Richard Laurence Baron said...

In answer to several private communications:

1. Yes. The ad was conceptualized to resemble a high-end designer watch ad - the kind you see in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.

2. Hats off to the art director for maintaining the clean look of my original concept, despite the wordiness. RLB.

Susan Kirkland said...

Imagine a word crafter being wordy.

And the oil & gas annual report cliche is the helmeted welder bent over his work, natch.