Wally Amos: From Chocolate Chip Entrepreneur to Hardship Connessior
It feels like a cliche. An ancient trajectory sneered at in countless films, television specials, and mockumentaries: the self-made business owner (or musician or internet influencer or janitor-turned-radio-personality) of a prominent, big-name venture who ascends to grand cultural heights only to have their joyride through fame, wealth, and celebrity shoulder-brushing suddenly cut short.
Wafting back down to ground level, the protagonist finds themself among the lowly ranks of normal, everyday people. Subject (once again) to life’s hollow indignities—but now with the everpresent melancholy tint of past riches lurking.
Sure, there are some big takeaways about the greater virtues of humanity or the immense loneliness of celebrity life. But we understand that these are typically written to secure some semblance of a happy ending, increase commerciality, and cushion the notion of modernity’s inherent sadness.
The fact of the matter is: being poor sucks. Being poor—then achieving fame and prosperity—only to fumble it back into poverty, must really suck. And while most folks have only bore witness to this trope in cinematic or literary instances, an unfortunate few have full-on lived it.
Among them is Wally Amos.
Of Famous Amos fame.
Who is “Famous” Amos?
When it comes to feelings about Famous Amos, I imagine people typically fall into one of three groups:
The first group—being made up of mostly young people (probably; I’ve no data)— has zero knowledge of the brand at all. If the name doesn’t conjure visions of second-rate vending machine options (D4 at best) then you’re likely in this group.
The second group knows of Famous Amos and is familiar with its underwhelming status as a dollar store checkout counter snack food. Reasonable.
But the third group has a different view of the matter. A much more romantic take on the treat. Because this group remembers Famous Amos as a mouthwatering gourmet delicacy. A top-shelf cookie purveyor with an outspoken, charismatic owner in Wally Amos.
Why such a harsh disparity? How can a company less than 50 years old have such contradicting reputations among different generations?
There was a time, just a few decades ago, when Amos was a household name. A successful brand with big-name celebrity investors, upscale distribution, and a first-year total sales revenue of $300,000.
But by the mid-80s, the brand was hemorrhaging money. Amos would lose his house and eventually sell a majority stake of the company. Many people were left to wonder: how did one of the most successful snack companies of the last decade so quickly decay into financial shambles?
How did Amos find himself on the butt-end of a bad break?
These are interesting questions, and sure to be answered. But first, it’s worth understanding Famous Amos’ rise to popularity, understanding what made this gourmet cookie company so successful, so, well— I’m not gonna say it, I am not going to—famous.
Wally Amos’ Rise to Fame
Wally Amos came from a classically humble upbringing, born in 1936 in Tallahassee, Florida to poor, illiterate parents. At age 12, he moved to New York to live with his Aunt Della. It was here that he learned of the famous recipe. (More on this in a bit.)
Amos, who dropped out of high school, would receive his G.E.D. after joining the Air Force. Returning to New York a mature, educated man, he found work in the William Morris Agency, a Hollywood-based talent agency once considered “the best in show business.”
He began in the mailroom, eventually working his way up to becoming the first black talent agent in the entertainment industry.
This was more than just a side-quest for an aspiring baker; Amos now headed the rock’n’roll department at William Morris, where he signed Simon and Garfunkel and worked with Motown legends like Diana Ross, Sam Cooke, and Dionne Warwick.
It was only after growing disillusioned with the industry that Amos sought refuge in his aunt’s baking once more.
Wally’s son, Shawn Amos, said:
“Cookies were a hobby to relieve stress.”
It wasn’t long before the cookies took the main stage.
Amos told The New York Times in 1975:
“I’d go to meetings with the record company or movie people and bring along some cookies, and pretty soon everybody was asking for them.”
Amos’ connection with the entertainment business helped his business aspirations tremendously. He received significant contributions from industry stars Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy, who gave Amos 25,000 for his new venture.
In 1975, Amos launched his first brick-and-mortar location. 7181 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.
And it was a big deal. The grand opening was a star-studded gala attended by 1,500 people.
Success was sudden. After selling $300,000 worth of cookies in its first year, the brand continued to climb in popularity. By 1982, Famous Amos was making $12 million in yearly revenue.
Famous Amos’s success was the result of exploiting a hole in the market. In the mid-70s, the grocery store shelves were loaded with preservative-dependent snack options. Amos carved out a lucrative niche by marketing the product as a gourmet, zero-preservative, craft-made cookie. A risk well rewarded.
From “What’s Going On?” to “What’s Going On???”
With any great market advancement, a plethora of eager competitors emerge. And shortly after arriving on the scene, Famous Amos was met with rival brands like Mrs. Fields, and new, upmarket product lines from Nabisco and Duncan Hines.
A combination of these market competitors and Amos’ inability to keep up with his success led to the first cracks in the business. By 1985, Famous Amos reported a $300,000 loss on sales of $10 million.
Later that year, Amos officially gave up the reigns of his company, selling a majority stake to Bass Brothers Enterprises for $1.1 million.
Two years later, the new owners upended the recipe entirely, adding preservatives and shelf-stable ingredients. Famous Amos was rebranding as an affordable brand. It wasn’t entirely unexpected; such mission-statement-defying practices are common for newly bought companies, but the decision prompted original owner Wally Amos to depart.
In 1992, President Baking Company bought Famous Amos for $61 million—more than 55 times what Wally Amos sold his controlling stake for just a few years earlier.
Amos wasn’t through with the cookie business, however. Later in 1992, he launched his new venture…
And was promptly sued.
Turns out: the latest Amos product— Wally Amos Presents Hazelnut Cookies— stood in direct violation of the contract he had signed years prior when selling his first business. The one that expressly prohibited Amos from using his own name and likeness in the selling of any product.
Undeterred, he changed the name of his company, operating instead as Uncle Nonamé. Boldness had treated him well in the past— and I think it’s an undeniably ballsy way to approach being sued over your own identity— but the market operates in mysterious ways. In 1996, Uncle Nonamé filed for bankruptcy.
What Became of Wally Amos?
By 1999, Amos was in talks with Keebler, the new owner of Famous Amos. An agreement had been reached: Wally Amos would become a paid spokesperson for the brand under the condition that they craft the recipe closer to the original.
And it feels like a solid ending to the story. The sweet embrace of a father and son after a long, arduous journey, complete with lawsuits, bankruptcies, and foreclosure. Ending up together would be fitting— if a bit too good to be true.
“It was bittersweet,”
says his son, Shawn Amos.
“He was happy to be back in the center of the brand he started, but he also had a hard time accepting the fact that at the end of the day, he was just a paid spokesperson.”
The feeling of being alienated from one’s own brainchild eventually led to a short-lived reunion between Amos and the brand that bears his name.
After leaving once and for all, Amos pivoted to making muffins with Uncle Wally’s Muffin Co., opening a bake shop in Hawai’i.
Amos wrote multiple books about his experience over the years, including Power In You, Man With No Name: Turn Lemons into Lemonade, and The Famous Amos Story: The Face That Launched 1,000 Chips. He has also been a vigorous advocate for literacy and was granted a National Literacy Honors Award by President George H.W. Bush.
At age 80, Amos appeared on the hit television show, Shark Tank, pitching another new business, “The Cookie Kahuna”. The business ultimately failed.
In 2017, he launched a GoFundMe announcing he was struggling to pay for food, gas, and rent.
No longer famous, Wally Amos continues on with his baking and entrepreneurial spirit. His life is a statement of hard work and resilience, but also a cautionary tale about success, hubris, and the risks we make along the way.
Top 10 Video Marketing Agencies You Must Check Out in 2023
If you’ve been following the latest marketing trends, you would know that video marketing is popular. Factors like lower costs, the availability of video platforms, and the rise of social media influencers helped change how consumers interact with video content. Read on to learn the best video marketing agency to help you leverage the power of video.
1. Vireo Video
If you need an expert in Youtube marketing, be sure to check the features of Vireo Video. The platform specializes in Youtube marketing and offers various video-related services, such as Youtube content strategy, SEO, and advertising. Vireo Video is trusted by brands like Eckhart Tolle and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. For Eckhart Tolle, Vireo assisted in the optimization of his videos and helped grow his Youtube channel. As a result, his channel has more than 45 million new views or an increase of more than 260% compared with the previous period.
- Influencer marketing
- Video optimization
- Targeted YouTube advertising placements
- Strategy development
Video marketing is one of the many services offered by the digital marketing agency NinjaPromo. If you’re looking for a perfect partner to assist you in reaching your desired audience quickly, NinjaPromo is one of the best agencies to work with. The company can help you create creative, engaging, and practical videos to promote your brand and increase your online presence.
- Video Production
- SEO optimization
- Explainer videos
- Event and product videos
Moburst is a mobile and digital marketing agency that specializes in helping businesses grow their mobile apps. They offer different services to enable enterprises to improve their mobile app performance and increase user engagement. Moburst has created over 1,500 videos that generated 900+ million views.
- App Store Optimization
- Video production
- Mobile User Acquisition
- Mobile App Analytics
- Mobile App Design and Development
- Mobile App Retargeting
4. Voy Media
Trusted by big brands like Lacoste, Voy Media is a full-service agency offering various marketing and creative services. Their services are designed to help businesses grow their brand. Likewise, the agency helps them generate leads and increase conversions through social media platforms. Voy Media also ensures its clients receive the necessary support by assigning a dedicated account manager.
- Video editing and production
- Product and lifestyle photography
- Graphic design and illustration
- Full studio production with talent and script
5. Pop Video
Pop Video was established in 2010 in Houston, Texas. They describe themselves as a business-first solution for a video-first world. Pop Video has a team of visual content creators with a specialization in video production and visual content marketing.
The agency has worked with various clients across different industries, including healthcare, technology, retail, and finance. Some of its notable clients include Microsoft, Adidas, and Coca-Cola.
In addition to its core video production services, Pop Video provides consulting and training services to help businesses develop their video marketing strategies and produce their video content in-house.
- Video Marketing
- Video production
- Content creation
- Social media optimization
If you need help with educational videos, explore the services of Epipheo. Epipheo is a video marketing agency that creates animated explainer videos and other visual contents to assist companies, organizations, and individuals in connecting with their audience effectively.
- Social video ads
- Storytelling testimonial videos
- Animated explainer videos
- Live action videos
- Strategy and consulting
7. Early Light Media
Early Light Video is a full-service video production company that creates high-quality video content for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. The agency is known for delivering top-notch video content that meets its clients’ needs. It was founded in 2013 by a team of Emmy Award-winning creative directors, With offices in Baltimore and Washington, DC.
- Video production
- Voice-over casting
- Music Licensing
8. Indigo Productions
Indigo Productions is a full-service video production company based in New York City. They specialize in creating high-quality videos for corporate clients, advertising agencies, and individuals. Their team of scriptwriters, directors, producers, hair and make-up artists, and location scouts will handle all the logistics.
- Promo videos
- Web commercials
- Music videos
- Movie trailers
9. LAI Video
LAI Video is a Washington, DC-based boutique video production company specializing in creating visual stories that inspire and engage audiences. The company was established in 2013 and has become a leading video production agency in the DC metro area.
LAI Video has worked with various clients, including National Geographic, The World Bank, Georgetown University, and The Smithsonian Institution. Their skilled team of filmmakers, animators, editors and producers work closely with clients to ensure that each video project meets their specific goals and objectives.
- Corporate videos and commercials
- Video communication campaigns
- Video animation
- Marketing storytelling
SparkHouse is a video production company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, specializing in creating high-quality video content for businesses and organizations. The company was founded in 2013 by filmmakers and storytellers passionate about creating visually stunning and emotionally compelling videos.
SparkHouse has worked with various clients, including Target, 3M, Best Buy, and General Mills. Their talented filmmakers, animators, writers, and producers work closely with clients to ensure each video project is customized to their unique needs and objectives.
- Brand Videos
- Corporate Videos
- Event Videos
- Social Media Videos
- Documentary Films
Which Types of Videos Do You Get from a Video Marketing Agency?
A video marketing agency typically provides various video types, each with a specific purpose and target audience. Below are the common types of videos you can request from a video marketing agency.
- Brand videos
- Explainer videos
- Corporate videos
- Testimonial videos
- Social media videos
- Live stream videos
- Case studies
Video marketing is essential for businesses looking to engage their audience, build brand awareness, and drive conversions. As we look ahead to 2023, the competition will only continue to grow, making working with a reliable video marketing agency more critical than ever.
Top 10 Video Marketing Campaign Examples You’ll Enjoy Watching
A video is an effective form of content, and its increasing popularity has gone together with the rise of social media. However, many marketing professionals still need a video for their digital marketing strategy. In other instances, some have already integrated video into their campaigns but need to see the best results. We’ve compiled some video marketing campaign examples that could inspire you to get the best possible ROI.
1. Google Android: Friends Furever
Android’s “Friends Furever” video is a simple and cute marketing campaign. The video was shared over 6.4 million times, according to video ad tech company Unruly. Google produced a quirky video showcasing animals forming unexpected friendships. Each clip in the montage features great pairs of animals: dogs and elephants, chimps and horses, and tigers and bears.
The campaign proves that even the most uncomplicated videos can be super shareable with the proper subject matter.
Watch the video here.
2. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
We encourage you to watch from the 20-second mark to see how it goes. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is a small ice cream shop from Columbus, Ohio, and its YouTube channel proves you don’t need hi-tech equipment to make lovable videos. This is a remarkable small business video marketing campaign.
Watch the video here.
3. Reebok: 25,915 Days
The video features one woman’s relationship with running in reverse, from running the Reebok-sponsored Spartan Race as a middle-aged woman to birth. It’s a great way for Reebok to promote its brand mission of changing how people perceive and experience fitness at every age.
And at the end of the video, a compelling CTA reads, “Calculate your days.” After all, adding a well-curated Call to Action is one of the secrets of a successful video marketing campaign.
Watch the video here.
4. Alibaba: To the Greatness of Small
Sometimes, the most powerful messages resonate with the smallest audiences. This global marketing video is from the China-based ecommerce platform Alibaba. Alibaba’s global customers are almost as big as Amazon’s. The campaign was a powerful tribute to the role of SMBs in the global economy. Similar to a young athlete with Olympic dreams, all great brands start with an ambitious founder.
Watch the video here.
5. Coca-Cola: The Last Customer
Coca-Cola is known for heartwarming holiday videos, and this is one of the best! The Last Customer is a video campaign launched by Coca-Cola in 2020. The campaign was designed to promote small businesses’ importance and their role in their communities.
The campaign consisted of a short film about a small convenience store owner preparing to close his shop for the last time. The owner reflects on his memories of running the store and the relationships he has built with his customers over the years. As he closes shop for the last time, he is surprised by his loyal customers who have gathered to say goodbye and express their appreciation for all he has done for their community.
Watch the video here.
6. GoPro: Fireman Saves Kitten
“Fireman Saves Kitten” is a video campaign launched by GoPro in 2013. The campaign was designed to showcase the power and versatility of GoPro cameras in capturing dramatic and inspiring moments.
GoPro shows a powerful example of how brands can use their products to tell compelling stories and promote meaningful social causes. It was a testament to the power of video content to engage and inspire audiences. Moreover, it helped to cement GoPro’s reputation as a leader in the action camera industry.
Watch the video here.
7. Nike Women: Better For It
Suppose your campaign is a powerful message of encouragement and empowerment for women. In that case, The “Better For It” campaign encourages women to embrace their imperfections and to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. The campaign’s tagline, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying,” aims to motivate women to take risks and persevere through challenges.
The campaign also includes a digital community where women can connect and share their stories of progress and inspiration. The community features a range of resources, including workout routines, training tips, and motivational messages.
Overall, the Nike Women “Better For It” campaign is a powerful message of encouragement and empowerment for women of all ages and backgrounds. It seeks to inspire women to push themselves to be their best physically and mentally and celebrate their achievements along the way.
Watch the video here.
8. BuzzFeed for Purina: Puppyhood
BuzzFeed did a great job writing a script that takes all the classic puppy stories you’ve heard and turns them into a delightful tale of a man and his dog spending time together.
Although it’s evident to today’s trained consumer that Purina’s Puppy Chow brand is behind the video, the product placement is so subtle that it’s not bothersome. Video marketers, take note.
Watch the video here.
9. Intel: ‘Meet the Makers’ Series
Intel’s five-part “Meet the Makers” series aims to highlight the stories and innovations of people who are using Intel technology to create new and exciting products. It features videos showcasing different makers and their projects, from artists to scientists to entrepreneurs. So, if you’re looking for an effective and engaging way to advertise your product or service through video, the video ad is a good inspiration.
Watch the video here.
10. Google Earth: Homeward Bound
The Google Earth: Homeward Bound campaign is a marketing campaign that aims to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on the planet. It is also meant to promote the work of Homeward Bound, a global leadership initiative for women in science.
By inserting their product into a story of loss, love, and restoration, Google Earth successfully positioned its capabilities as life-changing — but it doesn’t feel too showy. The video makes you think that Google Earth isn’t out to make money, but rather, they’re out to build a service to improve the lives of their users.
Watch the video here.
Based on the examples above, the best video marketing content is engaging, informative, and resonates with its target audience. It should tell a story, evoke emotions, and offer a unique perspective or solution to a problem. Businesses and brands can build brand awareness and loyalty by creating high-quality video marketing content that connects with their audience. It ultimately drives sales and revenue.
Now it’s your turn. Video can do wonders to increase content engagement and clickthrough rates. Use these marketing videos as inspiration, and create fantastic visual content. These video editing tools can make your video content creation easier.
Why Use Video Marketing: 8 Compelling Reasons to Convince You
Video marketing is one of the latest trends in business strategy. As it progresses rapidly, 83% of businesses believe that adding videos to their advertising and marketing strategy gives them good ROI. Do you still have doubts? Why use video marketing for promoting your business? The answer is simple. Adding video to your promotion checklist is worth it. Not only because everyone is doing it but because the video is an excellent digital marketing tool. Here are eight reasons to convince you to start working on your video marketing efforts.
1. Video Increases Conversions and Sales
Videos are crucial to the online customer journey and can make you serious money. Consider adding a product video on your landing page and increase conversions by 80%. The percentage shows that people who watch your videos are more likely to purchase your product or service. Wyzowl’s November 2022 survey shows that 89% of people say watching a video has convinced them to buy.
2. Video Builds Trust
Trust is the cornerstone of conversions and revenues. However, building trust should be the ultimate goal. The idea of content marketing relies on trust and creating long-term relationships. That’s why video content is likely to engage and convince the audience.
YouTubers have become the most influential social media personality when discussing audience segmentation to help you promote your product or service. So, if you decide to invest in content marketing, you must also be serious about video marketing.
Promotional videos can foster trust as well. Some consumers are still skeptical about buying online products and services because they fear fraud and cheating. But compelling marketing videos present your products in a conversational form.
Overall, video content is an effective way to build trust with your audience. It allows you to communicate authentically, transparently, and credible, create an emotional connection and establish consistency with your brand.
3. Video Ranks Better in Google
Video content can rank better on Google due to higher engagement rates, improved user experience, diversified content, social signals, and video SEO. You should create and optimize video content for a higher ranking in Google search results.
One of the factors of Google’s algorithm for search rankings is “dwell time,” or how long visitors stay on your website. This may also be called “long clicks vs. short clicks.” If people spend a lot of time on your website, it must have quality content. A short, compelling video is a great way to capture viewers’ attention.
4. Video Shows Higher Return on Investment (ROI)
Statistics show that 83% of companies believe video provides a good return on investment. Even though video production is yet to be the easiest task, it can generate more revenue. Plus, online video editing tools are constantly evolving and have become accessible. Even your smartphone can make decent videos already.
Another good news is that your videos can be imperfect. It’s the content that matters! The latest research shows that users are mostly put off by videos that need to explain the product or service more. Low quality and poor design only matter a little. So the video is like pizza. Even if it tastes terrible, it still looks pretty good.
5. Video Marketing is Versatile
Video marketing is a versatile tool that can be used to achieve different marketing goals. Video can work well when launching a new product or service. More businesses using video marketing said they have an explainer video on their homepage.
You can create animated videos if you’re trying to explain a difficult concept to your audience. Animation can bring ideas to life that no text or live video can. Besides, more than boring talking heads are needed to break through the clutter. Animated videos give a perfect mix of entertainment, education, and simplicity. And they work.
6. Mobile Users Love Videos
Video and mobile go hand in hand because people enjoy watching videos on the go. And as the number of smartphone users continues to increase, the video audience keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Google says smartphone users are twice as likely to watch videos as TV viewers. Likewise, mobile phones are more accessible than desktops, where viewers can easily connect to brands that show video content or ads.
The keyword here is convenience. Videos are easy to consume on mobile devices, requiring minimal effort, and can be viewed on the go. With the increasing number of mobile users, video content has become a popular and convenient way to consume information.
7. Video Marketing Captures a Wider Audience
Video content is an excellent tool for learning, but it’s also super easy to consume. In today’s fast-paced world, people don’t have enough time to read long product descriptions or service manuals. The modern customer wants to see the product in action. This trend has become one of the most fundamental driving forces in video content marketing.
Video marketing can capture a broad target audience and works on many levels, even the laziest ones. Ensure you target not only the eyes but also the ears of the potential client. Your competitive advantage gets double power!
8. A video is an Effective Tool for Social Media Marketing.
Social media channels also encourage video content with their new features. Plus, YouTube is the second most popular social network in the world. Video content is more likely to be shared on social media than text or static images. This means that videos have the potential to reach a larger audience than other types of content.
Video advertising is becoming more and more affordable and widespread. It’s an excellent way for marketers to reach people. It is easier than ever for businesses to create and share high-quality video content. We believe this article helped wipe out your doubts and answered the question, “why use video marketing.”