Last Updated Jun 24, 2011 7:15 PM EDT
The Mel Gibson ad was the work of Joe D'Allegro, who works part time at the gym. As residents of Jersey City, N.J., know, the Synergy branch there puts out a new chalkboard every few days with a new wisecrack about current events. A recent example: "No risk of pirate attack," with an arrow pointing at the gym. Commuters love them, and often stop to take photos.
D'Allegro also works freelance as a writer for Institutional Investor, and he's a blogger at True/Slant. But he doesn't work in advertising, and he writes Synergy's ads for free. In terms of money spent ($0) to media earned, Dallegro is arguably the best copywriter not working in advertising today.
His chalkboard on the eviction of director Kevin Smith from a Southwest Airlines plane because he was too obese to fit into a seat ("We'll help you avoid Kevin Smith-like situations. We're not referring to uneven-quality filmmaking") got a similar reaction in the blogosphere to the Gibson ad.
Not all of D'Allegro's ads are a hit, he says. My personal favorite, "If you stare into the Abyss long enough, the Abyss stares back.--Nietzsche; The abyss is totally checking you out!--Synergy" was a dud with customers because no one knew who Nietzsche was, D'Allegro says.
Let's see if BNET can get D'Allegro a proper job on Madison Avenue. Here's a sample of his "portfolio" (see photo gallery below). You can see dozens more on his Flickr site. Does your agency need a writer who can get this kind of media attention just by chalking on a sidewalk? Contact me at jim edwards 123 at gmail dot com and I'll forward your job offers to Joe.