My Favourite Writing #1: Mark Denton

As our regular reader will know, it’s our belief that regardless of strategy, creativity and the creative crafts ultimately make the difference between great advertising and not-so-great advertising. And none more so than great writing. Regardless of media or technology, great writing is still the most powerful tool available to the marketer and advertiser. So we've been asking people who’s opinions we respect to tell us their favourite three pieces of advertising writing. And thankfully most of them didn't tell us to fuck off. We’re going to run them as an irregular series, starting today with selections from Mark Denton...

Smirnoff – Accountancy was my life until I discovered Smirnoff.“This was one of a popular poster campaign that included great lines like, ‘I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant until I discovered Smirnoff’. But more importantly inspired some even more creative graffiti, my favourite being, ‘I thought Wan King was the capital of China until I discovered Smirnoff’.”
 

Economist – ‘Somebody mentions Jordan. You think of a Middle Eastern country with a 3.3% growth rate.’ “Quite simply, I laughed out loud when I saw this poster. It’s my favourite headline of all time.”


Citroen – ‘In 9 years it’s only had one break in transmission.’ “This was a press ad for Citroen CX Estates. Quite nice headline, but the impressive bit was the copy. Richard Cook was obviously sensitive about the credits on the ad, so he wrote the copy in a way that included a hidden message. Each sentence started with an initial that when isolated and bunched together spelt out, R I C H A R D C O O K W R O T E T H I S. The credits in the D&AD annual of that year credit copywriters Richard Cook and Harvey Flinder.”


Here's a little more information about the Citroen ad from Mark:

"I've got a bit more info on the Richard Cook story from Dennis Lewis who was at Colmans at the time of the incident.

The story goes that Richard wrote an ad that that got into the D&AD annual but he didn't get a credit for it.

So the next decent ad he wrote he made sure he wouldn't get shafted again.

Dennis and his copywriter Steve Hooper were in on the joke, as was Richard's Art Director who had to adjust the paragraphs in a supportive fashion every time there was a copy change.

Apparently Richard confessed when it got into the D&AD annual and was bollocked by the Colmans management. No one can remember if the client ever found out."

Thanks very much Mark.

8 comments:

  1. Great ads - looking forward to seeing the rest of the series, it's always interesting to see other peoples favourites and why.

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  2. The Smirnoff ad is genius. I wonder if you'd get away with that line these days?

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  3. Does anyone write headlines as good as the Smirnoff one any more?

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  4. I love the Citroen ad. Reminds me of the hidden message in this personal ad. Old I know but still amuses me.

    A well built woman with good
    reputation who can cook frogs
    legs, who appreciates a good fuc
    achia garden, classical music and tal
    king without getting too serious.
    But only read lines 1,3 and 5.

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  5. I've got a bit more info on the Richard Cook story from Dennis Lewis who was at Colmans at the time of the incident.

    The story goes that Richard wrote an ad that that got into the D&AD annual but he didn't get a credit for it.

    So the next decent ad he wrote he made sure he wouldn't get shafted again.

    Dennis and his copywriter Steve Hooper were in on the joke, as was Richard's Art Director who had to adjust the paragraphs in a supportive fashion every time there was a copy change.

    Apparently Richard confessed when it got into the D&AD annual and was bollocked by the Colmans management. No one can remember if the client ever found out.

    (It's fun finding this stuff out. It's like being in a cross between Time Team and Murder she wrote).

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  6. Lovely writing, thanks for sharing this.

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  7. I've always translated the Smirnoff one as 'Smironff really gets you fucking pissed.'

    Which is a great selling point.

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  8. The guy in the Smirnoff ad is my dad, does anyone know where I can get an original from?

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