Chicago—A poster mashup combining studio photographs of “Water for Elephants” stars Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson with a 1905 Ringling Brothers lithograph asks “Help Preserve Circus History.” The poster is by Chicago advertising agency & Wojdyla. The beneficiaries are two historic, non-profit circus venues, the Al. Ringling Theater and Circus World Museum, both in Baraboo, Wisc. Of course you know Baraboo. Birthplace of Albert, Otto, Alfred, Charles and John Ringling, of the circus they founded in 1884, and home to the world’s largest collection of circus wagons—several of which appear in the recently released “Water for Elephants.” The city’s two institutions, one founded at the behest of the eldest Ringling brother, the other a major source of “Water for Elephants” circus research, and both in need of funds to continue, will together host the movie’s Baraboo premiere. And from Baraboo to the Windy City? It was somewhere on his 200 mile return drive that Chicago ad man David Wojdyla heard himself mutter, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” and knew he’d been tapped. Wojdyla, a self-described “circus freak,” (no, not that kind) who can quickly rattle off what days the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will next hit Chicago, and hasn’t missed an appearance in over 20 years, had made the Baraboo trip for pleasure. It was only after learning there of the museums’ upcoming and ill-promoted fundraiser that the visit became work. “I have to do this,” he admitted by the time he’d gotten home, then called to volunteer his agency’s ad services, including the poster and a promotional brochure. Tickets to the May 20 event will go for $15 to $500. Wojdyla sees his carny barker role as a debt repaid to the “world’s greatest showmen” from the turn of the last century—advance men, perhaps, for advertising’s great rise. Creative credits go to & Wojdyla creative director/copywriter David Wojdyla, and art director Jim Bowen. & Wojdyla is an independent advertising general contractor.
Clients: Al. Ringling Theater, non-profit, Baraboo, Wisc. Founded at the eldest Ringling Brother’s bequest. Circus World Museum, non-profit, Baraboo, Wisc. World’s largest collection of circus wagons, several of which were loaned to, and appear in “Water for Elephants.” Baraboo, Wisc.: Birthplace of Albert, Otto, Alfred, Charles and John Ringling, and of the circus they founded in 1884. Also the circus’s winter home until 1919. Now a National Historic Landmark. Agency: & Wojdyla, Chicago First work for new clients. Execution: Poster, 11” x 17”. Mashup of classic 1905 Ringling lithograph and promotional photos from 20th Centruy Fox. Tag: “Help Preserve Circus History.” Event: Fundraiser, May 20. Baraboo premiere of “Water for Elephants.” Tickets from $15 to $500. “There’s a sucker born every minute”: Which almost certainly was not said by P.T. Barnum, founder of the competitive circus that the Ringlings later bought, but could apply to & Wojdyla president David Wojdyla. A self-described “circus freak,” (no, not that kind) Wojdyla knows off the top of his head what days the Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus will next hit Chicago, and hasn’t missed an appearance in over 20 years. It was after making the 200 mile trip to Baraboo, learning of the museums’ (ill-promoted) fundraiser and driving back home that he admitted to himself, “I have to do this,” and called to volunteer his ad services. Execution: Poster, 11” x 17”. Mashup of classic 1905 Ringling lithograph and Hollywood publicity photos. CD/CW: David Wojdyla AD: Jim Bowen Photog: 20th Century Fox Breaks: May