PepperMill February 2017

Tim’s Favorite 30 Seconds

On the heels of the Super Bowl, I thought we could celebrate a local advertising hero, David MacNeil.

David is the founder and CEO of WeatherTech. Is there a dependable ROI for sinking $5,000,000 into 30 seconds? It’s likely that WeatherTech is the smallest company that advertised in the big game.

I became intrigued while reading this Sunday’s Tribune (yes, I still get it delivered, at least on Sundays) and saw the article about David. When he founded the company in 1989, he never wanted to just be a floor mat company. He wanted to be the go-to brand for floor mats. And one way to make your mark is to do a Super Bowl ad.

This year was the fourth year that he has boldly placed an ad, and in my opinion it was a really good one, precisely hitting their value proposition and creating a scenario that makes them look amazing in their customization and customer service.

What the article did was to share his viewpoints in other areas, too. One is that he chooses to be hands-on with the creation of the commercial, even adding suggestions along the way. While client intercession can sometimes be challenging, I have a feeling that he’s a good collaborator. And, who can confidently spend $5 million without a little input?

He also mentions that while he does the voice for their radio commercials, he isn’t interested in being in the TV ads. Why? He doesn’t want to be recognized at the gas station. He enjoys his anonymity.

He puts a great spin on Made in America branding, which he does very well. Naturally, the products are for any vehicle, but they certainly realize that a lot of business comes from owners of pickup trucks. Being in the heart of the Midwest (Bolingbrook) he is clicking with the trucker scene, but also with anyone who battles the elements like we do.

But beyond that, he was asked, “Why is American manufacturing so important to you?” He was ready with a great reply. “First and foremost, if my neighbor doesn’t have a job, sooner or later, I won’t have a job. I think of my neighbors as the 300-plus million people in America—that’s our family. If you’re a society with no industry, you have a problem.” And it’s not just theoretical. At WeatherTech they actually provide on-site meals for their employees—for many of them it is the healthiest meal of their day. They also pay their employees 25% more than the national average.

David and his company are experts at 21st century manufacturing, combining talent and technology to make the best product, and being a good corporate citizen. So, what started as a “why invest $5 million at the Super Bowl?” article comes down to a perfect investment. How else can you reach nearly one-third of your neighbors in 30 seconds?

Tim Padgett

“If people aren’t going to talk about your product, then it’s not good enough.”
—Jeffrey Kalmikoff

“Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors.”

Client Spotlight: Transcendia, Inc.

Develop a brand that transcends the competition.

That’s what Pepper Group set out to do when our longtime client, Transilwrap Inc., asked for help developing a new name and identity. Transilwrap had been providing specialty plastic film solutions for more than 85 years. Recently, the company made several acquisitions, significantly increasing its breadth of capabilities and product offerings, and greatly expanding its geographic footprint. In short, it wasn’t the same company it was even just a few years ago, and it needed a new name and brand that communicates this new breadth.

Pepper Group conducted extensive research on name trends in the market and brainstormed name recommendations to encapsulate Transilwrap today and its vision for the future. The result was Transcendia—a name that pays homage to Transilwrap, while signifying growth and expanded capabilities. With a name selected, the next phase was planning and executing a strategy to take the new brand to market.

Over the next several months, Pepper Group worked closely with Transilwrap to develop the face of the brand. This included a new logo, sales collateral and an ad announcing the name change in various industry publications. Pepper Group also assisted in creating a new website for the company that showcases all of Transcendia’s brands and includes a robust product finder tool that makes it easy for visitors to find the plastic film products they need. All of these pieces culminated into a successful brand launch on December 1st that was received with excitement throughout the company and the marketplace.

Pepper Group continues to work closely with Transcendia as it explores new ways to promote its business and reach new customers. Check out the new website at

The Revenue Tower eBook

How much has B2B marketing changed in the past 50 years?

As you reflect on that, consider that the sales funnel framework was first illustrated in the early 1960s. It was a great concept that has served us well, but in the age of the customer, sellers no longer funnel buyers; the buyers now funnel the sellers. 

The Revenue TowerTM is a better framework that can help you plan a more modern and integrated approach. It will help you clarify marketing priorities and create a stronger and more consistent strategy. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Where the funnel model falls short and what’s missing
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Get the free eBook

George Couris

Blazing Forward

Forget everything you know about split-level ranches, Colonials, contemporaries, cottages, Georgian revivals, Cape Cods and any other home architectural style. Get ready for a place Max Rockatansky could call home.

A graduate student in Vienna has created a futuristic home design that’s inspired by “biogenetic forms,” and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It looks like a reptilian skeleton, complete with spikes, teeth, fibrous swirls, stairways that look like anatomical innards, and exterior details that resemble an insect—or gills.

While it certainly pushes the envelope on innovation, residents may have trouble avoiding nightmares.

Sharla Davis

YouTubin’: Breaking Down Boxes

A big thank you to Tim for sending me this feel-good video last week. It was produced by TV 2—a publicly owned television station in Denmark—in response to the growing division happening to people across the world. While this video specifically addresses the fear of differences as pertaining to Danes, it’s quite easy to see how the same problem is confronting us worldwide.

The English version was just released two weeks ago and is a heartwarming reminder that labels do not define a person. Looking beneath the surface with a few simple exercises shows how much we all have in common.

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood