Traction Factory’s Gripping Campaign for Snap-on Tools

Traction Factory meticulously engineered a campaign that turns the Long Nose Slip Joint Pliers from Snap-on Tools into an icon of strength and precision, rivaled only by the industrious dung beetle. With design director David Brown and art directors Mike Basse and Paul Bartlett at the helm, the campaign forges a narrative that meshes the mechanical with the entomological, gripping their audience’s attention like a pliers’ firm hold. This creative fusion of tools with the natural prowess of beetles showcases their symbiosis of form, function, and unbridled inventiveness.

By: David Brown

How do you sell a toolbox go-to yet tightly-engineered tool made by a company with an unbeatable reputation for innovation and manufacturing, and spin it as a life-changing instrument? Sometimes the brand name is enough to move the product. Often, it’s the creative energy it takes to retool the assumptions about something so simple. 

A case in point is the analytically named Long Nose Slip Joint Pliers. Being presented with a lengthy list of attributes that made it a first in the automotive sector was helpful. Yet, features alone don’t inherently suggest a way of building a campaign. As became clear in the end, we would approach this by giving it a personality – a way that offered an unexpected take on pliers.  Building upon the essence of its unique features, the obvious parallel presented itself in the form of… a  dung beetle. 

The team quickly found that drawing comparisons to the diminutive beetle through its own prowess inspired them to develop a disruptive approach in which we’d create relatable visuals and amusing language. The apt use of a museum-like specimen case, visual cues in the form of beetles, and graphics that bore out the attributes on a simple level all helped push the limits of the consumer’s need to rethink what a pair of pliers is capable of. All creative must function in various ways but, most importantly, it must work hard on a marketing level, persuading the consumer to feel as though they can’t live without it. This campaign has been one of our most successful across a variety of categories within Graphis and, for that, we’re grateful to the client who entrusted us and for the recognition it’s garnered across the community of creatives who’ve judged it as worthy as we think it is.

David Brown is the design director at Traction Factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As the creative lead, he’s most concerned with elements of design and messaging and endeavoring to get everything more than right. He’s a stickler for the finer points of creativity and nary a project leaves the house without his eyes on it. Before joining Traction Factory, he cut his teeth on brand work in categories such as beer, airline, and food industries. When not sweating the details of agency creative, he’s immersing himself in the messier aspects of printmaking or elbows deep in darkroom processing trays.

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Author: Graphis