In the cluttered and cutthroat world of advertising, it takes something special to stand out. Whether its humor, novelty, or sheer audaciousness, advertisers will use any means necessary to grab the public’s attention. Looking for a local example that successfully combines all three approaches? Look no further than the Milwaukee-area billboards for Buck Buckley’s Total Basement Finishing, which contain the delightful and hilarious tagline, “It’s about buckin’ time.”

Yes, “It’s about buckin’ time.” So simple, so silly, so brilliant. To get the story behind this winning campaign, we got in touch with the owner of the Delafield-based business, Scot “Buck” Buckley. Where did the slogan come from? Has anyone complained? Why is drywall not the best option for your basement environment? It’s about buckin’ time for some buckin’ answers.

Milwaukee Record: Tell us a little about your business.

Buck Buckley: We do mold, mildew, and moisture-resistant materials for basement environments. We build basements. We don’t dig them out, we finish basements. In the Midwest, with the amount of mold that can grow on the backside of drywall—doesn’t take long, in fact, it can happen under the right circumstance within 72 hours—we have found over the years, for years and years and years, way back into ’04 when I started in this, we found that drywall is just not the right material for the basement atmosphere. Period, over and out. It’s super for the first floor, super for the second floor, but it’s a very inexpensive material for the basement and the wrong material. When I say “inexpensive,” in other words, it’s very expensive, because if you do it twice, if you have the 100-year flood that happens every two years in Wisconsin… [Laughs]

That’s what we do. We finish it all. We do all the ceiling, all the HVAC, all the electric, all the walls, everything to code. I don’t know if you’ve seen our reputation, but it’s pretty darn good and we’re pretty darn proud of it. We have over 50 video testimonials and over 117 written ones on BBB, Angie’s List, and our own website.

MR: Now, the billboards. Have you tried different billboards in the past? How did you come up with “It’s about buckin’ time”?

BB: It’s my first attempt. I was just sitting there in an idle conversation with some pretty intelligent advertising people, and I said, “I’ve gotta make a splash, it’s gotta be memorable.” I have my name on it. Buck Buckley’s Total Basement Finishing, in the state of Wisconsin, you know, it goes naturally with buck season. As I say all the time, “Buckin’ A, we gotta be memorable!” And I said, “That’s it! It’s about buckin’ time! Get your buckin’ basement!”

My first worry was what kind of negative reviews I would get. I’m 58 years old, and I can’t be sent to the principal’s office anymore. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, I mean that in a way that I have to make my splash now. I don’t have another life to live. With that being said, it became a reality. [Laughs]

MR: What has the response been like? Any complaints?

BB: We’ve had negative responses. We have to document all the responses. We’ve had six out of…you tell me, hundreds of thousands of people that have seen it? We have a multiplier, we multiply that by five, so whatever you want to do as far as knowing that a few people are not going to like what you’re doing…We see Silk billboards up all the time, I mean, c’mon! [Laughs]

We got a response from a lady on Saturday, when we just put it up, that it was across the street from a school. On Sunday, we got another response from another young lady that it was across the street from a school. Well, that wasn’t right to me. I don’t need little Bobby coming to his teacher and saying, “Hey, where’s my buckin’ homework?” So on Monday we called up the rep at 8:30 in the morning and said, “What’s wrong with you?” He said, “What do you mean?” “You didn’t tell us it was across the street from a school. Take it down.” And we took it down. It was down within two hours. We have it documented that she wrote us back and said, “Thank you very much.”

The other [complaint] was at 11 o’clock at night from a drunk guy! He said, “Why don’t you just go ahead and say…” [Laughs]

MR: Any positive responses? Have the billboards gotten people in the store or on the phone?

BB: Tons. Yes. We have URLs and we track everything. We’ve gotten major positive responses, just for the humor! It’s about buckin’ time we found somebody that has a good sense of humor! Every time people pass it they laugh. That has been the overwhelming response. Our next campaign is going to be even funnier!

MR: Can we get a preview of it?

BB: [Laughs] We’re toying with it now, and we’re trying to put it together: “It’s buck season all year long.”

MR: Perfect. So, to sum it all up, what exactly is it about buckin’ time for?

BB: To finish your basement!

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.