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


An Oldie. But A Semi-Goldie …

This is one of those ads that is constantly referred to as being a perfect example of perfect advertising.

David Ogilvy was behind it – spending 3 weeks doing nothing but reading about the car – before producing that amazing headline.

OK, so there is some conjecture whether he came up with it or not, but regardless, it’s one hell of a headline.

But here’s the thing, when you read the rest of the ad, I’m not sure if its worthy of all the accolades bestowed upon it.

Sure it comes from a different time [as the $13,995 price tag highlights] … and yes, some of the ‘features’ they mention were probably cutting edge back then [power steering for example] … but after you get past that epic headline, what you actually have is an ad that is just a list of product features.

While there are still nods to the sense of craftsmanship and technology within that list – for example, you can have a telephone as an optional extra – I can’t help but feel that all the romance the headline conjures up in your mind disappears once you get to the details.

Maybe that’s because it appears the strategy was not actually to communicate the sophistication and craftsmanship of the car, but to change the perception of it being only for the super-elite … the one’s who are chauffeured around rather than drive themselves.

Hey, I could be wrong, but the fact they use that hilarious image of a ‘Dad’ picking up the kids from the local shop after school – not to mention they state in the copy that you don’t need a chauffeur to drive it – means I might have a point.

Now I get I have no right to criticise the wonderful Mr Ogilvy and the fact this ad is continually referred to implies it was hugely successful … but when I was reminded what the actual ad looked like – rather than just hearing that headline – I couldn’t help feeing that I find this scam ad for Bentley far more appealing.

[Though I accept that just might be my Nottingham heritage shining through]

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39 Comments so far
Leave a comment

a middle finger beats a fucking list.

Comment by andy@cynic

That Bentley ad is tailor made for Trump supporters.

Comment by DH

fucking good headline though. even if the image is a daily mail readers idea of lifestyle porn.

Comment by andy@cynic

fucking hell campbell, youre picking a fight with ogilvy. i am almost fucking impressed.

Comment by andy@cynic

Not that you would want it, but I think it is safe to say a career at Ogilvy is now not on the cards.

Comment by George

Those kids would be bullied mercilessly being dressed like that.

Comment by DH

I remember this ad entirely differently. I remember the headline and the image but I thought the copy was an elegant story about gliding from destination to destination. Did that ad ever exist or am I suffering from the ‘Mandel’s effect’, the polite way to say stupidity?

Comment by Pete

I find it interesting how different advertising is between then and now. These days, all those product features would be considered overkill. There also isn’t one clear “creative idea” uniting all the messages. Yet it was written by one of the greats who created the rules the industry continues to adhere to.

It would be interesting if a modern car brand followed this approach and explored the response they received.

Comment by Pete

I don’t think any art director would ever let that happen, Pete.

Comment by George

the bore the fuckers to death strategy. once a planner always a fucking planner eh pete?

Comment by andy@cynic

I would say car design has evolved more than advertising formats.

Comment by Lee Hill

One of Russell Davies’ best slides is the one he did for Honda that showed a range of press ads for other cars – they all looked pretty much identical.

Comment by John

Long copy etc.

Comment by John

Maybe someone willing to buy a Rolls Royce likes to read about all the features they will be getting? Though I do feel the Bentley no copy, finger ad is more enticing.

Comment by Pete

That’s what brochures are for.

Comment by John

I believe David Ogilvy was born in the home counties. This ad all but confirms it.

Comment by Lee Hill

Where is Rob?

Has he died and we’re reading his pre-written posts?

Is the end of this blog finally near?

Comment by DH

That’s not very nice David.

Comment by George

It was a question not a statement of hope.

Comment by DH

I have information about the existence of a quantity of pre-written posts that is too depressing to share

Comment by John

Admit it John, there’s hundreds of them isn’t there?

Comment by Bazza

I assume when that Rolls was made, their version of a car phone was sending a butler out to deliver your messages.

Comment by Bazza

One of the other Ogilvy Rolls Royce ads of the era said: “People who feel diffident about buying a Rolls Royce can buy a Bentley instead”.

Points for using the word ‘diffident’ in body copy …

Comment by Ian Gee

yeah, because a bentley is such a inconspicuous piece of fucking tank.

Comment by andy@cynic

and no, i didnt have to look the word up. fuck you all.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think anyone who has to drive a Rolls Royce themselves looks like an idiot and probably couldn’t afford it to begin with.

Comment by Ambrish Bandalkul

what the fuck are you talking about?

Comment by andy@cynic

The drivers might be dicks but they can afford it enough to drive out of a showroom with it.

Comment by DH

A while back I did some groups with German prestige car owners in China. For Mercedes S Class owners, their main complaint was that people thought they were the ‘driver’ not the owner.

Comment by Ian Gee

Oh I can so hear them saying that. Only in China eh. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Take out the long copy from the Ogilvy ad and it’s a still great ad for today.
But in any case, I know Bentley is a scam ad, but somehow the difference in both ads captures the difference between then and know – in the this industry, real craft and charm see to have evaporated in favour of either ‘grandstanding’ or ‘going native’ in other words not having the bravery to admit you are actually advertising at folks.
And culture in general is sadly more coarse.
I know some might say Bentley buyers like being ‘fuck you’ rich, but simply playing back a (questionable) truth about your real buyer doesn’t seem that clever, I don’t recall much Sainsburys advertising showing that most of their customers are really crap cooks.

Hello everybody

Comment by northern

Hello NP. Have you seen the new Sainsbury’s ad?

Comment by John

Yep and I’ve decided to like it, despite it’s W+K.
It’s no ‘recipe’ campaign though

Comment by northern

I really like the Sainsburys stuff and I’m. It just saying that to protect my pay packet. I’ve seen the next campaigns too and they are all lovely … but part of that is because of the fresh and distinctive voice they have rather than the usual “contrived we care about food” messages of all the others.

Comment by Rob

if this is how youre going to be in 2017 then you can fuck right back to whatever northern rock youve successfully been hiding under.

Comment by andy@cynic

hello back.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nope, knowing I’m annoying you only makes it more fun
I only don’t bother coming very often because I assume Rob is on holiday.
However, since I see he’s starting wearing sports jackets maybe it’s the start of him working for a living.
Most men have some sort of grasping at youth mid life crisis when they become a Dad, trust Rob to do the opposite

Comment by northern

thats because he started his midlife fucking crisis at 11. anyway youre fucking right about him not being here. but get this, hes not on holiday its fucking manflu. hes not made a single fucking comment for days. when hes back ill find out he was recovering in the seychelles. paid for by a fucking client.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re back. Yay. Though you appear to have turned into Mary Berry while you’ve been away. Ha.

Comment by Rob




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