Sunday, February 7, 2010

John Paxson Salutes Literacy

This recurring series spotlights the Literacy ad series I ran while at Lerner Newspapers.

When an old blowhard of a GM handed me the Newspaper In Education (NIE) program to run, I was not happy, but I had no choice. I also had no budget, no resources and virtually no help. I started to run a series of ads in our newspaper to promote the program. (Even that was a hassle in our troubled company.) Still, I forced the issue and got the ad series going.
I solicited well-known Chicagoans to appear in the series. I knew this would raise awareness and it did. The series was quite successful. I am still amazed at some of the people who appeared.
John Paxson is a Chicago sports legend. The Chicago Bulls won three straight championships with Paxson sharing the backcourt with Michael Jordan.
Paxson is perhaps best known for his game (and series) winning shot in the 1993 NBA Finals. Paxson sank a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns with 3.9 seconds left to give the Bulls the lead and their third consecutive title.
After Paxson retired, he has been an assistant coach, an announcer and held various executive positions for the Bulls. While he hasn't enjoyed the same success he did as a player, Paxson's place is well-secured in the history of the Bulls.
The ad design for this was simple, yet effective. Paxson was pictured making his big shot and as the Assistant Vice-President. The duality conjured thoughts of success, progression and contrasting roles, along with simply being visually appealing. In retrospect, maybe we should have added three small NBA trophies in the lower left white space.
Adding Paxson (and his three NBA titles) was excellent for the ad series. He is a highly recognizable champion.

Reading is invaluable because it inspires our thoughts, ideas and imagination. To pick up a good book or to read a favorite author is one of the true joys in life.
--John Paxson as quoted in the NIE ad series in 1994

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