When an owner is the face of his company, it’s hard to replace him in marketing after he retires. That’s doubly true when the person who takes over the company isn’t a relative.
Kansas City TV viewers have come to know Continental Siding’s Jerry O’Neal since he founded the general contracting home improvement company in 1982. In 2009, O’Neal hired a sharp kid to work for his company part-time while attending college. Within just a few years, O’Neal knew that kid, Alec Cook, was the right person to take over his local company.
This transition meant it was also time to turn over the role of representing the company in their commercials—no small matter given Continental Siding’s philosophy of connecting with customers and building a relationship. Continental didn’t want it to seem shocking to people when Jerry is no longer in the commercials. Instead, they leaned into the fact that Jerry, 81, and Alec, 35, are a team.
Rather than just plug Alec Cook into the TV spots, the men have created longer commercials that tell their company’s story. Those commercials have been popular—so much so that they won the Reader’s Choice vote in our annual Best of KC poll.
“People love these longer sixty-second commercials in comparison to the normal thirty-second commercials,” the men say. “In thirty seconds all you can really communicate is a quick message about the product and if there’s a sale going on. With sixty seconds we can add in fun storytelling components that allow us to ‘show’ our story to the audience over time about how Jerry and Alec both come from very different generations, yet they embrace the other person for their strengths to make a remarkable partnership.”
From those commercials, it’s evident that Alec and Jerry are not only a great team but also have a genuine friendship with the utmost respect for each other.
“The human element resonates,” they say. “You can tell that the commercials are always progressing and not staying the same after being in business for years. You can also tell Continental Siding is a company that truly cares about the well-being of their employees and the quality of the business that they do, rather than just numbers. When you hire someone to do work for you, like a home improvement project, you should always expect there will be unforeseen problems that pop up,” Cook and O’Neal say. “That’s why you should choose a company you truly trust, so when those inevitable problems do arise, you know they’ll handle them with integrity and take good care of you. Family owned businesses with a strong reputation, unique products, and a bright future are the ones you should trust. Do business with people, not a brand.
Here is the commercial that won Best of KC in this year’s poll.
Note: Sale prices are no longer available and were only valid during the original air date.