YellaFella Won My Heart With a Branding Iron

By BKV in Direct Marketing on June 8th, 2010

There I was, working quietly at my computer. Suddenly he was yodeling and thundering into my inbox with a classic "Howdy, Ma'am." It was YellaFella, that irresistible cowboy with a heart of gold - star of the highly entertaining, yodeling, cowboy serial used by Great Southern Wood since 2005 for their classic pressure-treated lumber, YellaWood. It's been a few years, but YellaFella's still my hero. Fashioned after the westerns of yesteryear, this endearing campaign is a classic case of good triumphing over evil. To this gal's way of thinking, the marketing behind it is sheer genius. From the first guitar strums of its Riders in the Sky-produced theme song, YellaWood won me over with its engaging tales of trouble in the Old West. It's smart marketing disguised as hokey good fun. And it works for all the right reasons, bringing the YellaWood brand to life in this tale of honesty, endurance, and grace under pressure. Like the white-hat sportin' cowboys of the Great Plains, the YellaFella campaign delivers everything you could want in a hero. It's campy, old-school drama that brightens my day. The world of YellaWood is a shot of nostalgic, Saturday afternoon television fun. The website lets me rough up bad guys with an interactive game, watch yodeling lessons, and follow the video capers of our hero. Old "Rot Wood" becomes "Yellerado," a place where our yellow-shirt sporting cowboy takes on the Mennessy Boys and rights all wrongs. There's even a general store where I can stock up on YellaWood memorabilia. Sure, there's product information, a dealer locator and even project plans I can use to build a pergola. But the product nuts and bolts facts are wrapped like a papoose in all the other engaging elements. Me like. It's humorously self-aware. This tongue-in-cheek advertising tells me the folks behind it are honest, with a sense of humor, while strong production values telegraph quality. Great Southern Wood is acknowledging that pressure-treated lumber isn't naturally high on the entertainment scale. They're not eaten up with self-importance. Its serial format implies permanence. Month after month, YellaFella is there for us, just like YellaWood will be. In a world written in chalk, it's nice to know some things last. The "tune-in-next-week," serial nature of the campaign is perfect for pressure-treated wood. Like YellaWood endures, so does this advertising. Eventually, somewhere far down the dusty road, I'll find myself in need of some pressure-treated lumber for a deck or landscape project. When that day comes, you know who I'll yodel for.