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

When Creativity Was Used To Tell A Story Not Just Demonstrate A Product Feature …

Look at that ad.

Look at it.

Isn’t it marvellous?

Simple. Clear. Charming. Engaging.

Sells the product feature through a human benefit.

A simple story that works for kids and parents alike.

The photo and the headline do all the heavy lifting, namely because the photo isn’t a stock image and the headline isn’t a piece of generic twaddle. And yet it’s not like it has high production values, it is just a good piece of advertising.

It’s also from a bygone age.

Not just because this ad ran years ago, but because advertising has become about selling features rather than benefits.

Explaining rather than communicating.

Describing rather than imagining.

Telling rather than inspiring.

It’s not advertising … it’s a product brochure designed to please the board of directors rather than actual human beings.

Despite my music and clothes taste, I hate looking backwards … but maybe the industry needs to do that. Not because we should aim to replicate what has gone before, but because we seem to need to remember it was stories, ideas, creativity and craft that once made us so valuable, not being able to churn out cultural landfill at the lowest price per execution.

35 Comments so far
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Proper advertising.

Comment by George

Don’t you mean good advertising?

Comment by Pete

Blah blah blah.

Comment by Bazza

Pete has become John Dodds.

Comment by Rob

Low blow.

Comment by Bazza

When you compare this to the advertising around now, you realise how bad the work has got.

Comment by George

An ad for kids roller skates from the 70s to make it worse.

Comment by Bazza

There is good work out there. But the problem is too many ads are just literal executions of the product feature with no idea.

Comment by Bazza

You do hate looking backwards. You have always been distracted by the shiny new thing before millennials made it their thing. And we know you’re much older than them.

Comment by Bazza

That’s funny because it’s true.

Comment by George


Comment by Pete


Comment by DH

I can see your smile from here as you wrote that.

Comment by Rob

Brilliantly simple, clear and effective.

Comment by Pete

Unlike Rob’s posts.

Comment by Bazza

Definitely unlike my posts.

Comment by Rob

This is brilliant.

I was recently watching a re-run of Art of reduction talk –

This just reminds me of how the ad is reduced to it’s true benefits

Comment by Sid

Thanks for the link.

Comment by Pete

This is excellent.

Comment by Lee Hill

Hope you’re doing OK, Lee.

Comment by Rob

Proper marketing.

Comment by John

I still don’t know what anti-slip means, but they make sure I know why it’s desirable.

Comment by John

thats the fucking problem doddsy, ad twats want to talk about how their product works not what it does for the audience anymore. pricks.

Comment by andy@cynic

As a Mum, this kid’s chufty face is all i need to know about the anti-slip roller skates – i want my kid to be chufty like that. Love this reminder, Rob (welcome back)

Comment by Nicola Daniel

Chufty. What an awesome, descriptive word.

Comment by Rob

My personal favorite ad of all time is Avis “When you’re only no. 2, you try harder. Or else.” It represented breakthrough thinking that smashed (not just broke) the norms for advertising at the time. And frankly, imagine trying to sell an approach like that today…

Comment by addadude

fucking hell campbell, is this the adland version of an old fuck ranting about how music was better back in your day?

Comment by andy@cynic

At least he is talking about something good, It wouldn’t be if it was about music.

Comment by DH

This is brilliant. My three favourites of all time:

Fedex, featuring John Moschitta:

Hamlet – Photobooth, with Rab C Nesbitt:

Guinness – The Surfer:

One thing they all share in common? Their ability to entertain. I can’t even remember the last time an ad had that effect on me…

Comment by Oli

I totally support your view, Rob. 90% of ads today are closer to product / price comparison listings, which is OK, but I prefer to do the comparison against other products.
“talking to a digital audience” isn’t an excuse either. The Big Idea transcends platforms: #metoo, “Yes we can”, “MAGA”, Marmite love/hate.
Personally, the 48 sheet is the purest form. You have 2.5 seconds to commuincate. Picture. Fewer than than 10 words. Boom.
I’ll get back in my basket now.

PS agree on “chufty”. I’ll ring the OED.

Comment by antdenny

Your blog is more interesting than Rob’s.

Comment by DH

And not so long-winded.

Comment by John

And more intelligent.

Comment by Bazza

for once i admire the whole fucking lot of you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Praise. 🙌

Comment by DH

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