We all know someone who makes some *ahem* interesting choices. Perhaps they cruise for miles after the gas gauge registers on empty. Maybe they always ride a bike without a helmet, take the tag off new clothes before trying them on or gamble on milk after the expiration date passes.

Maybe they even fall for some get-rich-quick internet scams like the star of Iowa One Call’s latest commercials. But even Ronnie knows to never dig without contacting Iowa One Call first. 

Risky Ronnie is the lovable, goofy star of Iowa One Call’s latest video series. Iowa One Call educates Iowans on the need to call 811 or submit a ticket to the website at least 48 hours before digging or excavating. Then, a utility crew will visit your yard or site and mark utility, internet, cable and other lines. Not only is it important for the safety of those digging and to preserve services, but it’s the law.

Iowa One Call previously partnered with similar organizations in other states to spread awareness about calling or submitting a ticket before digging, specifically for homeowners and individuals looking to dig in residential areas. But Iowa One Call decided to take their advertising up a notch. That’s where Trilix comes in.

“Iowa One Call wants to set itself apart from similar organizations with a new marketing approach based on humor, so they looked to partner with us on new videos,” said Alex Rich, senior account manager.

We began brainstorming campaign concepts that encompassed videos and creative elements for digital and traditional advertising placements. The idea of creating a character of sorts with an engaging, memorable persona struck a chord as a great way for Iowa One Call to make a mark in its field. 

Because Iowa One Call’s biggest call to action is awareness, we needed content that would be lovable and memorable.

Alex Rich, senior account manager at Trilix

"Similar to how Allstate has the Mayhem video series and Progressive Insurance has Flo, we wanted to build a type of character and storyline that could entertain and really be a recognizable face for Iowa One Call,” Alex said. “Because Iowa One Call’s biggest call to action is awareness, we needed content that would be lovable and memorable.”

Thus, Risky Ronnie was created. We partnered with The Peak Agency to vet and cast the actor who plays the character. The first spot we shot shows Risky Ronnie, who doesn’t have a great history of decision-making, clicking on a suspicious looking online ad promising a lucrative payout. While Ronnie falls for the phishing scam — and not for the first time — even he knows to never dig without contacting Iowa One Call first.

Our second video was a wilder concept. Ronnie, as a new dog dad, walks his pet to the dog park, unfortunately oblivious to his surroundings, even walking through some freshly poured cement. When the camera pans down, you can see that Ronnie’s four-legged friend is actually a raccoon on a leash, not a dog. Despite all of Ronnie’s risky and silly choices, he knows to never dig without contacting Iowa One Call first. 

Working with a raccoon was Trilix’s first foray into working with animals on set. While we considered certified raccoons who had a Hollywood resume, we ultimately decided to work with one from South Dakota.

There were many nuances that came with planning and producing the Exotic Animals piece. Since we were shooting on a public street with many storefronts, we had to confirm with the local city government that we could have a raccoon on a leash on the sidewalks. We also had to talk to the shop owners and operators to be sure we could feature their storefronts in the video.

This is an out-of-the-box idea that established a memorable campaign around a simple action — contact Iowa One Call before you dig.

Alex Rich, senior account manager at Trilix

Even the cement scene came with extra challenges. Trilix’s team poured a slab of concrete off-site from the main video set, set up lights above the concrete and hung tree branches above the slab to simulate light filtering through the trees on an outdoor sidewalk. We purchased an extra pair of shoes for Ronnie since one of his shoes gets “stuck” in the sidewalk, and we even put down raccoon prints to protect our hired talent, of course.

“The client has allowed us to run with some really creative ideas and deliver outstanding results," Alex said. "This is an out-of-the-box idea that established a memorable campaign around a simple action — contact Iowa One Call before you dig."

While we plan to produce even more videos for Iowa One Call, those in Iowa may see the spots running on their local broadcast stations, through digital and traditional ads, and on social media. The videos are also on Iowa One Call’s YouTube channel in addition to Trilix Studio’s. Thank you, Iowa One Call, for allowing us to take some (very safe and calculated) risks to produce a standout awareness campaign.