Steampunk Ad Promotes Faux Artist's Creativity
By Diane Capuano Franklin
If you’re a decorative painter who wants to show the world how creative you can be, what better way to do that than by developing a visually arresting ad campaign that shows your distinctive style and unique personality?
Husband-and-wife team Jeff and Sandra Lassley did exactly that with a Steampunk-themed ad campaign that promoted their business, Fe Fi Faux Studios Inc. in Omaha, Neb.
Steampunk is a funky, cool, sci-fi look depicting a post-apocalyptic future in which steam-powered machines and weaponry rule. The ad campaign depicts the Lassleys in Steampunk costumes, intently looking into the camera while gripping battle-worthy guns. The image complements the message of the ad: “Waging war on ugly walls.”
Impactful, clever and beautifully photographed, the ad made its debut earlier this year in Edge magazine, a trendy publication serving the upscale audience of West Omaha. Sandra Lassley, who is known as “Sass” by family, friends, colleagues and clients alike, was delighted by the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the ad.
“It was a super-effective ad that was fun, different and exciting,” she reports. “It drove a ton of people to our website. My son, Sage, who is very computer-savvy came up with the idea of using www.whatisfaux.com, since so many people still don’t understand what faux is. That redirected to our original website at www.fefifauxstudios.com.”
Sass, a second-generation painter who followed her painting contractor father’s footsteps , started Fe Fi Faux Studios 25 years ago. She was eventually joined by daughter Sasha and husband Jeff to make the business a family affair.
For years, Sass built her business on strong word-of-mouth. She had no need to advertise and felt that print ads might not be effective since depicting the true beauty and depth of decorative finishes in a photograph is not a very easy thing to do.
Eventually, however, Sass decided to make her first foray into print advertising by doing a take-off of the “Got milk?” campaign. Instead of milk mustache, Sass appeared in the ad with a paint mustache and the slogan, “Got faux?” Creating that ad was a lot of fun, and Sass got a very nice reaction to it. She was up for trying another ad when inspiration struck, an all-out shopping extravaganza for costumes began!
Intrigued, Sass thought it would be a fun idea for her and Jeff to dress up in Steampunk attire for a photo shoot that ended up being the basis for the ad. Sass is the more flamboyant half of the couple, while Jeff is more laid-back, so she was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to put on a full Steampunk get-up, complete with feather-adorned top hat, Victorian-style suit and aviator-style goggles. “I don’t know how I got him to agree to it,” Sass admits.
Sass, meanwhile, put on a corset-style dress, stiletto boots, brimmed antique hat from the army surplus store and goggles. She and Jeff headed to the photo studio, posing with jewel-encrusted guns in front of a wonderful textured wall finish that Sass had created for the shoot.
“We got everything from costume shops, thrift stores and my own closet,” Sass reports. To create the guns, Sass spent a couple days and about $20 in a hardware supply store to create their Steampunk weaponry. “We turned a Nerf gun into the most amazing steam punk gun you've ever seen. I found what I needed to make a pearl inlay on the handle. As I was shopping, the store clerk said, ‘I’ve never seen a woman get so excited about plumbing supplies.’ ”
The creativity of the ad campaign is a perfect example of how Fe Fi Faux Studios has distinguished itself as one of the top decorative painting firms in the country. Proof of that comes from the studio making the prestigious list of Walls & Ceilings magazine’s Top 50 Contractors in the country. Sass herself made the cover of Walls & Ceilings in April 2013, profiled as one of “The Fantastic Five,” five women who have made a mark for themselves in the professional trades. “It was the 75th anniversary cover, so it was a huge privilege to be featured,” Sass reports.
When inspiration strikes again, you can bet that Sass and family will again create another ad campaign—and you also can bet that it will be memorable. No matter what the theme, Sass will pull out all the stops to make sure it is done right. As Sass says, “I don’t believe in doing anything halfway.”
Editor’s Note: In addition to the owner of Fe Fi Faux Studios, Sass Lassley is the U.S. National Sales Manager for Santambrogio Best Italian Sofas and Loveseats. Click here for a related article.