The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A Reminder That Print Advertising Can Still Be Brilliant As Long As You Want It To Be Brilliant …
December 4, 2015, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Audio Visual, Craft, Design

I must admit, I have a soft spot for print advertising.

Not the stock-photography shitty stuff you see 99% of the time, but the stuff that is distinctive, crafted and tells a story.

The stuff that is simple rather than simplistic.

The stuff that treats their audience with intelligence, rather than a bunch of retards

The stuff that stands out from everyone else because they’ve appreciated the importance of design, not just shouting.

The stuff that, if truth be told, was the backbone of British advertising.

There’s been a bunch of these ads over the years, but recently, it seems there’s been a lot less.

Maybe that’s because of the way designers and art directors are being trained these days or maybe it’s because of the economic marketing shift towards digital … but it’s probably got a lot more to do with the approach favoured by many marketing departments.

Sell the features, forget the brand.

This could be why one of the last print ads that I really loved was that British secret service execution … but recently I saw one that took me back to the glorious days of print.

Where an image said a thousand words.

And the words simply said enough to make you want to find out more.

And the best bit is it’s for a British company.

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls … cop a load of this:

I love it.

Sure, you could argue you need to know what Bowers & Wilkins do for it to be truly effective, not to mention understand they have a product that looks like a Zeppelin balloon … but I’d argue you’re being too John Doddsy, and even he couldn’t fail to be impressed by the lack of copy in the ad.



Explains the product benefit without having to spell out the product benefit.

For me, it’s almost a perfect print ad.

One you can’t fail to notice and – more importantly – associate with a particular brand, which is something very, very rare these days despite the fact that’s what all work should try and do.

What with the SONOS logo and this, it seems it’s the sound companies who are leading the way in terms of brand building communication.

[Mind you, if you look at this old SONY ad, you could argue they always were]

So take a bow Bowers & Wilkins and your agency.

This is awesome. Just like your audio systems.

31 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That is very nice.

Comment by Pete

Would be if they were playing zep.

Comment by Billy Whizz

you sad twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

That is lovely. Simple but sharp. A welcome relief to the monotony of bland stock shot, “slice of life” posters with bland or meaningless headlines running across them.

Comment by George

proper design and proper art direction. dying art because modern art directors seem to just know how to fucking draw not design. another basic standard lost to history and validated by promoting people beyond their fucking capabilities or fucking knowledge.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes, it does amaze me how many art directors these days need a designer to translate their ideas into reality. Sad and scary really.

Comment by Rob

once upon a time, this would have been an average print ad. thats how fucking far ad lands standards have fallen and how shit companies have become.

Comment by andy@cynic

Everybody reads short copy.

Comment by John

smug fuck.

Comment by andy@cynic

I like it too. Simple, assured elegance.

My only question would be why “performance” is on the third line. I understand that it’s probably an issue of design balance, but it was the one slight jar for me.

And looking at it far more closely than I would if I were flicking through what ever awful magazine you saw this in, I then notice that two lines have a full stop and one doesn’t.

This probably doesn’t matter, but I’d be interested if the creatives here can confirm that I’m wrong.

Comment by John

There are 2 answers that spring to mind John. First is that “performance” implies sharpness, energy and sonic brightness. Second is that few look at ads that closely and even if they do, it would be a very perculiar individual who chose not to buy the product based on a single word that didn’t quite resonate with them. Hope that helps.

Comment by George

Yes it does. But to overanalyse even further, maybe it’s possible to argue that if you’re selling high level audio with all the precision that implies, then customers would want your ads to be similarly precise and so an odd word bugging someone might actually have an adverse effect. Who knows.

Comment by John

The best way to tell is to know which magazine Robert saw it in. I’m assuming it was more likely to be a general technology/gadget title rather than a specialized audio magazine.

Comment by George

You know me so well Geoege. I think it was T3, could have been Stuff but definitely not an audio specialist magazine so they definitely were after mainstream sad gits. Like me. Damn.

Comment by Rob

It wasn’t too hard to guess Robert.

Comment by George

Don’t forget the bass. It’s all about the bass.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Selling sound via print is hard. Helping people imagine is key and performance adds a dimension to audio that audio alone cannot convey.

Comment by Pete

And what George said.

Comment by Pete

Nice work, but there’s a hint of Susan Alinsangan’s iPod silhouette work there.

Comment by Bazza

because its for a fucking sound system? youre worse than a fucking post rationalizing planner twat. the good news is it makes beats look like the shitboxes they really are. or I should say were because you fuckers are going to do a bit of tweaking and charge label whores another $500 for an average fucking headphone. thieving bastards.

Comment by andy@cynic

I can see why you may say that Bazza but then we could say your silhouette campaign was influenced by a bunch of popart ads of the 50’s and you wouldn’t want to me to do that would you.

Comment by Rob

When will I learn to keep my opinions to myself?

Comment by Bazza

That is excellent. Do you know who was behind it Robert?

Comment by Lee Hill

I don’t. I’ve been trying to find out myself.

Comment by Rob

I’ll find out.

Comment by John

Google Dodds

Comment by Rob

I don’t know them. I don’t know what they make. It doesn’t make me want to find out either. This ad is meaningless to me.

It’s pretty though.

Comment by Marcus

I get that you don’t know them, I don’t get how you can’t work out what they make given they make it fairly obvious in their copy. I’m worried that you’ve just become one of those people who clients think you have to spoon feed info to, because they’re too thick to work it out themselves. Please say no!!! NOOOOOOO!!!

Comment by Rob

Not at all. I’m worried that your being blinded by the craft (I should point out that I adore print advertising).

But… it…

Could be a band. Could be a stereo. Or speakers. Or earphones. With a little imagination it could even be a new show for HBO or a performance art exhibition in Cologne. Or a poster for a film festival.

I’d have to make the effort to find out. That’s not going to happen based on what I see here. It’s beautiful but not effective.

Comment by Marcus

Brand coldness.

Comment by John

Jesus Marcus, Stevie Wonder could see what it is and if 9 words are too many for you to read then John Dodds will have to redefine what qualifies as “long copy”, much to my annoyance. Ha.

Comment by Rob

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