The first trait that pops into my head when it comes to defining Whit Hiler is proud kentuckian. Followed closely by proud dad, proud social media and online aficionado and proud owner of an in your face sense of humour. Having been featured in the Business Insider The 24 Most Creative People In Advertising Right Now article, Whit is Business Developer & Creative at Cornett IMS, more of a business development catalyst than just an ad shop, as stated on the company's LinkedIn profile.
Whit and two other friends took it upon themselves to rebrand their beloved state image and came up with the independent campaign "Kentucky for Kentucky". There was even a crowdfunding campaign for it and the slogan "Kentucky Kicks Ass", which replaced the official "Unbridled Spirit" in the hearts of many, became viral. When you walk around Kentucky and see strategically placed ads through imposing beards, you're actually seeing another of Whit's creations. He is part of the Cornett team who devised this weird, but popular new way of outdoor advertising - Beardvertising. Last, but not least, he's also responsible for landing his agency the A&W account by practically flooding their LinkedIn's marketing manager account with personalized messages about the personal relationship of him and his colleagues with the food chain. The manager was so impressed with this stunt, that A&W began working with Cornett shortly after.
I give you a pondering on the meaning of life, without taking things too seriously kind of interview with Whit Hiler:
I grew up on the streets of Lexington, Kentucky causing trouble and dreaming that one day I would become a Tom Cruise stunt double (pre-scientology).
Adolescence is the period when I discovered Madonna naked in a Playboy magazine. I also discovered my inner Sonny Crockett. I'm a child of the 1980’s.
In high school I used to be the guy that got horrible grades and the craziest thing I have ever done was take 21 hits of acid prior to travelling into the 57th dimension.
In college I used to go snowboarding everyday. Needless to say, I never finished college.
I feel young when I'm fishing with my best friends and old whenever someone mentions how old the Nirvana baby is currently.
To this day I remember peeing in my pants in Kindergarten and telling everyone I spilled milk on my lap.
Here’s an old picture of me and my family that was taken three weeks ago when we brought our new twins home from the hospital. Love my family:
I got my first paycheck at Phillip Galls where I had to sell camping gear and I used the money to buy weed.
The first campaign I ever thought up was for an apparel business I owned back in 2006. The campaign was called “Shot Up Shirts”. I got my friends together, fed them alcohol and then proceeded to blast polo shirts with shot guns and assault rifles. I then resold the "Shot Up Shirts" online for twice the price. The shirts sold out and the New York Times covered the campaign in their Sunday Business section. Now I think that guns and alcohol in a marketing campaign would be frowned upon.
The best campaigns I’ve worked on so far are probably our "Kentucky for Kentucky" campaigns. Specifically the "Kentucky Kicks Ass" campaign. That campaign was so much fun. The "Beardvertising" campaign we (Cornett-IMS) dropped this year was pretty awesome too.
The project I really wanted to work out (although it didn’t) was grilled jeans. A line of blue jeans with grill marks on them. I had another idea for a product called "Beat Socks" but that didn’t work out either.
In order to better understand what the client wants, I went so far as to have a sex change.
The advertising related mannerisms pop up whenever I’m in meetings about advertising.
The best piece of advice I have ever received from someone in the advertising industry was to have side projects.
A lesson I learned the hard way was the sex change wasn’t as easy to reverse as I was told.
Everything would run smoothly in this industry if there were less planning meetings and more bong circles.
I look at the advertising juniors (I’ve only been in advertising for 3 years, so I might be a junior too) nowadays and I think to myself what’s his/her name? I’m bad with names.
I hope to get to work as often as possible with clients who trust us and as seldom as possible with clients who don’t trust us.
The explanation I give to my mother about what I do for a living is as long as I feed your grandchildren you don’t need to worry about what I do for a living.
The change that messed up my entire day also landed me time-out for 15 minutes.
The brands that have the best communication strategies are brands I like to do business with.
I am really not good with the question concerning my favourite campaigns, I can hardly remember what I had for lunch yesterday.
Volkswagon Force was great. Smart, shareable and good. You can’t beat 55 million views on da YouTube. Put the crush down on the Internet. If I can remember correctly they also kind of started that trend of airing the spot on YouTube pre-Super Bowl. Didn't it have like 11 million views before it even aired on the Super Bowl? I thought that was smart:
I like the Little Caesars ‘Horse’ commercial. Simple, strange and entertaining. I like the strange stuff:
Ragu Long Day Of Childhood ads are hilarious. Having Ragu be the remedy for a kid that just walked in on his parents having sex is off the hook. So unexpected and awesome. I like the funny stuff:
Patagonia Black Friday Ad - Don’t Buy This Jacket. Because it’s a strong ass statement on a day when everyone is trying to get you to buy stuff. I love everything Patagonia does, great company:
Beardvertising. You can’t beat little ads in beards. Plus I worked on it. Plus I couldn't think of anything else.
Take This Lollipop. Watch the case study video, the results are insane. Really awesome idea and execution. Crushed the Internet:
All of the Old Spice stuff is off the hook. Lot’s of firsts. The Old Spice responses was genius. The way they seeded it with celebs, Reddit etc was amazing. They put the crush down on the Internet:
Kenny Powers K-Swiss MFCEO work was amazing. Highly entertaining and very unexpected from a brand like K-Swiss. Really from just about any brand out there. Another crusher of the Internet.
I wasn't on the "Dumb Ways To Die" bandwagon until I read about the results. Amazing. Who can compete with numbers like this?
Unrelated to my job, I am addicted to fly fishing.
I spend the weekends with my family.
Unfortunately I'm not a big book reader. I do love me magazines though. Movies too.
I turn up the volume whenever I hear a song by Too Short.
I will never grow tired of watching James Bond movies.
I try not to miss any Walking Dead episodes.