Young & Rubicam/Chicago hasn't had an easy time of it trying to create coherent ad campaigns for its largest client Sears, primarily because the struggling Hoffman Estates-based retailer hasn't been able to establish a coherent identity on which to base compelling brand advertising. So it's nice to see Y & R has been given a chance to work on an ad campaign for the River North Chicago Dance Co. that gives the agency a better chance to show off its creative chops.
Breaking this month, the River North campaign's theme line is "Choreographer: Chicago." The poster ads use eye-catching photography to express the creative heart and soul of the River North troupe, one of our city's liveliest, sexiest and most creatively-accessible dance companies. The imagery in three different executions catches actual River North dancers in very unusual contortions that evoke the real spirit and gritty style of Chicago. One poster features a shot of a woman holding on to a gentleman as she is blown aloft by a strong wind in a snowy park setting. Another catches a young lady in the door of a subway car doing an impressive leg extension. And the third poster, perhaps the most gripping of the lot, captures two guys fighting --in a very choreographed fashion -- in a bar.
As wonderfully realized as the visuals are, the ad posters fall short in one regard: the layouts unfortunately don't satisfactorily communicate the name of the product for which they were created. "River North Chicago Dance Company" is set in smallish type in the upper right hand corner of the posters. The troupe's name needs to be a much more visible for the dance company to reap the full value of these ads. River North, by the way, is set to perform next on Feb. 13 and 14, at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.