The Leaning Tower of Dallas: ‘When You See an Opportunity, Lean Into It.’

Choctaw's guerilla campaign just might get our vote for "most innovative use of space." We chatted with The Richards Group about how it came to be—and why they decided it was the perfect moment to jump on a culturally relevant event on behalf of a client.

The Richards Group decided to make the most out of its next-door neighbor by doing what it does best—turning the #LeaningTowerofDallas into a marketing opportunity.

In case you somehow missed the addition of Dallas’ newest landmark in the past few days, what was meant to be a full building demolition turned into a happy accident. Since then, the tower has become a viral sensation with national media organizations from the Today Show to TIME to The New York Times talking about it. Even LEGO is joining in on the fun with its own LEGO-sized version of the tower at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Grapevine.

The demolition crew is back to finish the job (which you can watch live here), but based on the size of the wrecking ball, it might take a while. In the meantime, The Richards Group is making the most of the situation tweeting: “When you see an opportunity, lean into it.”

The Richards Group has been in the news recently for its multicultural arm, Richards/Lerma, which has recently been rebranded to LERMA. The Dallas-based ad agency isn’t the only one who thought to make a projection, among the others are “I Heart Dallas” and a projection reminiscent of the original Leaning Tower of Pisa

[Photo: Courtesy The Richards Group]

We talked with The Richards Group to get the backstory. Here’s what Art Director and Writer Tim Eger and the team at Choctaw had to say.

How did the idea for the projection come to be?

We understood that this demolition was going to capture the public’s curiosity when it didn’t come down all the way. And the memes came quick. We’re always looking for ways to join in on conversations around current events (where it makes sense to), and this one was unfolding right in our backyard. We couldn’t help but look outside our windows at this partly demolished building and see an opportunity to jump on a culturally relevant moment on behalf of a client.

Who came up with the idea?

[Tim Eger] had the idea to project a message on the side of the building. But really, that was the easy part. Figuring out the approval process and logistics of making it happen on a canvas that was literally being torn down in real-time in front of us was the hard part. It was a whole team effort that moved crazy quick with the approval process and with our in-house team who bring events and activations to life and who were able to make it happen that same night we had the idea. Everyone moved quickly because we saw the potential in the opportunity, and we didn’t know if this building would be up for another ten days or ten minutes.

[Photo: Courtesy The Richards Group]

What kind of reactions are you seeing?

It’s overwhelmingly positive. Our goal was to put our client in the center of a conversation that was unfolding right in front of us. We just happened to have a whole lot of fun doing it. The Leaning Tower of Dallas has captured thousands’ of people’s imaginations and we’re just proud to have been a small part of that.

Can you tell us about how the projection works?

Think of a movie projector people might have at home times a million. It’s a pretty high-powered machine to get such a crystal clear picture from so far away. We had to keep our distance for safety reasons.

[Photo: Courtesy The Richards Group]

Lauren Hawkins and Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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