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 whose 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 running them as an irregular series. Today's is number eight, with selections from the inimitable ad-man, mad-mad and author of books George Parker (George has a new book out, more on that at the bottom of the post)...
“Having been around since Genghis Kahn invented the USP, I’ve worked on both sides of the pond on thousands of accounts at hundreds of BDA’s, and fortunately a couple of little, tasty ones. Consequently, I’ve seen millions of ads. The vast majority were shit. Here are three that truly stand out.
1 — Johnny Walker. The Man Who Walked Around the World.
I’ve always been a believer that great advertising grows out of the product. This film (No, it’s not a 30 sec spot, but if I say it’s an ad, it’s a fucking ad) nearly six minutes in a single take, with the incomparable Robert Carlisle, IS the product. The history, the character, the ambience. It’s enough to make me almost give up gin.
2 — Nokia. Gulp.
The ad is shot WITH the product… A bloody phone. Brilliant. Talk about a product demo. Beats the shit out of housewives scrubbing floors. What’s really clever is if you watch “The Making of Gulp.” (HERE) You realize that W+K got the entire student population of Britain working for fuck all. Neil Christie is a genius. Then as soon as it was made. The client fired them. That’s why advertising is the world’s dumbest fucking business.
3 — Volkswagen “Snow Plough.”
When you ask people what’s the best commercial ever made, they all say 1984. No, I say… That was the most famous spot ever made. In fact it was written by my good mate Steve Haydon, and it made Ridley Scott enough money to hire David Putnam as a tea boy. But in my humble opinion… This DDB classic from the sixties, sums up what great communication in advertising is all about.
Ads like this make the light bulb go on in the viewers head. In comparison, all the car stuff out there now is shit, because in spite of the millions spent on it… It’s still shit.
Thanks George. Now go and read George's new book Confessions of a Mad Man (you can buy it here on Amazon). I've been reading it for the last few days, it's an entertaining look back at a time when advertising was a lot more rock and roll, from a guy who was actually there (which begs the obvious question how does he remember?). I'll post up more when I've finished it, but in the meantime, as I'm sure George would say himself: just fucking buy it.
My Favourite Writing #1: Mark Denton
My Favourite Writing #2: Drayton Bird
My Favourite Writing #3: Ben Kay
My Favourite Writing #4: Dave Trott
My Favourite Writing #5: Vinny Warren
My Favourite Writing #6: John Allison
My Favourite Writing #7: Stuart Harkness