Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why Advertising Week in New York City Matters for Advertising Students.

New school year is about to start and I am always very exciting to greet a new freshman group... young energetic future AdLanders and a future grad class that plans to make change and "Change the Rules" of our business.

One of the great elements of the Creative Advertising program at Seneca College is the annual trip to New York of Advertising Week. This year marks our 7th year.

I am reposting a piece I wrote after our trip a couple of years back that really demonstrates why every student should attend Advertising Week. These are the perspectives of my students and what they took away as inspiration and learning from the experience. This year the dates are September 23-27th and registration for students can be found here.

I invite and travel with 50 students from the Creative Advertising Program at Seneca College to Advertising Week in New York City. This has become the "cornerstone" event of our academic year. They pack their bags, board a luxury coach and get ready for New York and Advertising Week. The anticipation sets in weeks in advance, but it's the final 10 hours of travel time before they will be in New York and what sets the stage for their future career plans and learning from industry leaders and visionaries.

Each year I arrange for private agency visits for my students during Advertising Week to get an opportunity to hear from various creative talents, strategic planners, account management and to take agency tours. This year, we visited: Saatchi & Saatchi hosted by Creative Director Tim Leake, Droga5 with a dynamic discussion lead by David Droga and Julia Albu, Strawberry Frog and Scott Goodson, RGA, Big Spaceship, BBDO, BBDO Atmosphere, TAXI NYC and Virtue/Vice. 

 Each year I also host a "Key Note" speaker for all students hear from and to have an open Q & A session. Last year I arranged for advertising legend George Lois (see a short video of his thoughts). This year CP+B arranged and hosted our lecture at the One Club with recently named CEO and creative genius Andrew Keller. A full speed 90 minutes of honesty, laughs, thinking and inspiration.

So what were the students most excited about? Agency tours. AdWeek Conferences. Meeting new people. It all comes down to and most importantly one thing, it was about learning, learning something new. Getting an experience that will motivate the students to want to their place in the advertising industry.

So what did my students take away with them from Advertising Week? 

Here is what some of the students that attended Advertising Week had to say:  

“New York Advertising week was a great experience for me. The experience was only as great as it was because of the students and the real drive and willingness to learn. The experiences outside of the direct learning from speakers and agency visits allowed me to learn more of who I am and who the people we were around the whole week are. The agency visits to Droga5, and Virtue/Vice really allowed me to see how the style of some agencies are in comparison to the idea of an agency I had before. The speakers also really made an impact on the message I heard and felt.” 

- Wilson Lin, Entrepreneur and Aspiring Account Executive 
"Advertising Week in itself was an experience, from hearing Russel Simmons speak at a panel to visiting Droga5, Advertising Week 2010 left me with a new perspective on advertising. It helped me to realize that everything I do is in my own hands. In an industry that impacts so many people on so many levels, it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that everything is in YOUR hands". 

- Sabrina Tricarico, Aspiring Art Director 
I was able to visit Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO. From both agencies I got to hear it straight from the current professionals about creativity, the creative process, and insights regarding the the structure of creative teams and how they're changing. Personally, that gave me a good insight as to what to expect in terms of the direction the ad world is moving and I also got to hear what they expect from us as aspiring creatives. Big Spaceship was a whole other can of worms. Not only did they structure their agency with absence on conventional job titles, this was my first (and only) view of an ad agency outside of Canada that is solely based on the rapidly growing, interactive side of the industry. Not only did i get a good sit down to hear what is creativity to them, but also get a good (for a lack of better term) lecture on how interactive is different from what we know orthodox advertising to be".   

"Overall, not only did I get reassurance, but also I feel that the profs we know have been pointing us in a certain direction, and these agency tours, in a way, cleaned up the path a little more.” 

- Nas Mohamed, Aspiring Art Director 
"Ad Week in New York this year was by far and away the most thought provoking, inspiring and engaging period in my life to date.  The knowledge I gained from hearing great minds like; Dave Droga, Scott Goodson and Andrew Keller was something that has had a profound change on my new career.
 Listening to where the future of advertising is going from people who play an integral role in changing it was awe inspiring.  They spoke of a future that will highlight the need to constantly keep the consumer engaged at whatever the cost.  We are already seeing the power of social media being integrated with brands and that concept, in some cases, has yielded amazing returns.  Some of the more recent examples are the Old Spice Facebook campaign, the Subservient Chicken and even movies like Catfish, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Creating movements married to brands is something that will not only keep consumers loyal but will allow them to regard brands in ways never before seen in the company/consumer relationship". 

 "Throughout Ad Week I learned a great deal from many people but one experience stood out for me in particular.  Meeting and listening to Andrew Keller, now CEO of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky was something that will resonate with me for the rest of my career.  He talked to our class about how to get into the industry (and how he got in), the values of maintaining a personal/family life (which we’re sometimes told is very hard to do) and talked in depth to us about some of the different campaigns he’s worked on.  What surprised me the most from the talk we had with him was that he’s just a really nice, down to earth and humble individual.  For someone in his position he has no ego and to be honest, you don’t expect that from the CEO of one of, if not the best ad agencies in the world. In a nutshell, Andrew Keller is the type of guy you dream of growing up to be". 

- Adam Bercovici, Aspiring Account Planner/Strategist 
"Given the opportunity to attend New York Advertising Week was a remarkable experience, both academically and socially. The events I participated in included meeting some of the most influential industry leaders and  getting the chance to attend and tour some of the most creative agencies in the world. This was definitely an experience I will never forget.

Being a student of advertising and getting the opportunity to visit a city with some of the most engaging and astonishing ads was an opportunity I am absolutely grateful for.  It definitely put a lot into perspective in terms of the endless opportunities within the advertising industry and where I see myself within the industry. New York was unquestionably one of the most engaging cities and I would definitely recommend the trip to all students who get the opportunity to go". 

- Lillian Hammah, Aspiring Strategist 
"I visited Saatchi & Saatchi, Big Spaceship and Strawberry Frog. Each agency taught me something different. Saatchi gave me a classic, corporate feel. Big Spaceship open concept and small interactive agency = agency of future. Strawberry Frog somewhere in between and gave me the idea of creating a cultural movement. The trip was a good motivation for me to do well in school and get my portfolio ready to get a job. I got a lot out of it information wise. There is no reason not to go. on". 

- Jeremy Gross, Aspiring Copywriter 
“The thing that everybody got out of it was that they realized that advertising is now a fully integrated team. Technology has to be emphasized. At the core, the consumer is top-of-mind. Doesn’t matter how advanced technology is, we still have to understand all their hopes and fears. Talk the talk and walk the walk. The most fun was visiting great agencies like, Droga5, Strawberry Frog and BBDO Atmosphere and being treated like equals, not like students. We were able to bond with our fellow students and got to learn some cool things about each other. Loved the insightful presentations and I recommend anybody who is serious about advertising to go next. Make a piggy bank and save your pennies now for next year’s Advertising Week"

 - David Taller, Aspiring Art Director 
"Advertising Week was great. I was able to tour several incredible agencies like Vice and Big Spaceship, where they taught us the differences between traditional and non-traditional media. I had a  great time listening to Nick Law’s presentation from RGA. The speakers were wonderful and on top of that, I picked up a  few presentation tips regarding how to connect with the audience as you speak". 

- Kristina Tran, Aspiring Strategist 

"The overall experience was an eye opener because you learned about  advertising in a popular place like New York. Everything is more  concentrated in terms of what we know from Toronto to New York. The Accounts were larger scales and almost everyone you saw or heard of  were icons in Advertising which was amazing, like David Droga, Andrew  Keller and Bob Greenberg. I was able to visit Droga5 and Vice which were really cool".

"A lot of us students bonded and were given a great  opportunity to become closer friends. We saw a variety of great speakers who weren’t known as “advertising people,” people like Marc  Echo and Russell Simmons, their point-of-views and opinions and how  they forecasted the future was very interesting because you’re gaining  perspectives from entrepreneurs and how they branded themselves, which is something us students are focusing on every day". 

- Vishal Raj, Aspiring Strategic Planner 
"I had the pleasure of visiting Virtue/Vice and BBDO Atmosphere. From all 3  agencies, I felt it gave me personal assurance that this career path  is what I want to do. It was also amazing to talk to creative  directors, account executives and also what I thought was awesome was  that at BBDO, they actually had 3 students who are currently interning there tell us about their experience and how it is working for BBDO. My overall experience at Advertising Week was amazing, it gave me self confidence and reassurance on the path I am going. It was also great too hear from the sources themselves on what they are looking for in an intern and what it takes to stand out from others". 

- Gunika Ahluwalia, Aspires to be in Account Services 

"The first agency I had the chance to visit for Advertising Week was Droga5. I really felt that they are balancing the traditional style of  agency with the new open concept style very well. The space itself  manages to be extremely inclusive to all departments however manages to keep them separate and specific. One of the first things I noticed at Droga5 was that every person in the shop had a huge smile on their face and seemed to be genuinely happy. This is very important for an agency, especially a creative one, as unhappy employees are not often the most creative!"

"Another agency that us students had the chance to visit was Strawberry  Frog. This is one of the coolest agencies I have ever seen. The way in which they operate and the philosophies they follow for their creative are just amazing. Strawberry Frog is all about creative social and cultural movements. This mode of thinking is incredible because it truly forces the creative to connect to the masses by interacting with the individual"

"Finally, I had the chance to check out Big Spaceship. This agency quickly became the #1 place in New York that I would like to be interning at. They work in a total open concept space and include all facets of their teams in the creative process from the intern to the CEO. They were different than most agencies, with different titles and job descriptions. Big Spaceship really pushed the idea that you don't have to follow convention to be successful in advertising; in fact, they demonstrated the contrary". 

- Michael Potash, Aspiring Copywriter
Each year I review and ask myself, "how can I top this next year". I am certain that the next group of students will make Advertising Week a wonderful experience of their own. 

Maybe it's time you attend and create your experience.

Once gain the students have taken various lessons, opportunities and plan to apply them to their daily lives and career planning.

I remind my students everyday of a personal mantra, a very simple ten words, two letters each statement, “IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME”.  A simple mantra that students need to remind themselves each day. Find inspiration and believe in yourself. You set your path.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sally Hogshead: A View From An AdGuy Conversations

Originally posted this July 5th, 2010 after I had the privilege of sitting down with Sally Hoghead when she was in Toronto speaking at the Art of Marketing. She lends so wonderful insights about career planning, how things work and her new book "Fascinate - Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation"

In the Spring of 2010 I had the privilege to sit down and speak with Sally Hogshead when she visited Toronto as a speaker during the Art of Marketing shortly after the release of her newest book "Fascinate".

Sally is passionate, bright and brilliant thinker. I have referred to her as a "big brain". Her newest book and our time together proved to be a wonderful learning experience and left me motivated and inspired.

Fascinate is very smart, easy and a great read. Sally divides her concept of fascination into seven universal triggers: Lust, Mystique, Prestige, Power, Vice, and Trust. Each is explained an in-depth study that explores the influence these seven triggers hold over people. Each is deeply a rooted pattern in how we react and become fascinated in our learning, engagement and influences our decision making in all parts of life. The book asks the question, what triggers cause us to make decisions, make purchases and motivates us to make changes in our lives.

Sally calls upon her experiences as a marketing innovation consultant and ad-agency entrepreneur for companies such as Target, Nike, Mini Cooper and Harry Winston Jewelers. Advertisers can longer just try to impress audiences with bold executions, the challenge today is communicate wth consumers beyond the bounds of rationality. Knowing what fascinates the consumer, building a personal message that triggers a response is the key.

Knowing your brand is one thing, knowing how to make it fascinating is now the key. When applying a trigger to a brand, take the Apple iPad as an example, the primary trigger is "Lust" and the secondary trigger would be "Trust". Apple has created a customer who lusts for their products, while based on a trust built on the quality. The more passionately someone feels about your product, the more successfully you’ve transformed a customer into a "lustomer".

Sally took the time to review my personal triggers. My primary is "Trust", secondary is "Prestige" and my dormant trigger is "Vice". Rare and interesting for me being a college professor. Episode Six below reveals her response and how I can call upon them.

This book is a very smart and fresh look at marketing, and how and why we need to change marketing strategies within the changing economy and new media available.

Our conversation was centered around how to help young AdLanders find their path and what it takes, and she had plenty of great advice and thoughts were we are are as a business and where we are heading.

She is one of the most engaging people I have ever met.

I wish to thank the kind folks at The Biz Media for providing me with the video and editing of each of the pieces. They are great group of guys who know how to get the job done and make everyone feel very at ease, and I really thank them for that.

Sally Hogshead Related Links:


Read more about 'Fascinate"

How Fascinating Are You? Take the "F Score" Test

Sally Hogshead YouTube Channel

HogBlog Thoughts and thinking on Radical Careering

Download a free PDF copy of Radical Careering


I asks Sally about how she got started in the ad industry. She reveals her interest in Sociology, and discusses the influence of society and on the consumer.

Sally offers some insight into the self-doubt that is inevitably experienced by every young "AdLander".


Sally discusses dealing with rejection, and the importance of finding a place that nurtures and supports young talent.

She touches on the advantages of working for a big agency and offers some insightful advice on the ever-important informational interview.


Sally offers her thoughts on the advertising industry today, including how it has changed since Madison Avenue was the capital of it all and where its going in the future. In addition she offers her opinion on social media, inventing new media, and coming up with big ideas that are persuasive beyond the media platform.


Sally talks about her career as an author and touches on the personal journey behind her first book, Radical Careering, and discusses how the career journey often affects the individuals self-perception. She talks about potential, and reveals her desire to bring a new way of thinking into the career category.


Sally talks toabout the origin of her newest book, Fascinate AND reveals the books non-marketing approach to understanding consumer behaviour and talks about interpreting marketing in a more instinctive way.

Sally offers her opinion on earning trust from the consumer, and the importance of effective reactive campaigns.

Anthony Kalamut talks to Sally Hogshead about the F-Score test - the main focus in her newest book, Fascinate.

Sally talks about the F-Score test - the main focus in her newest book, Fascinate and the importance of earning the consumers trust, and the inherent right-brained/left-brained nature of many consumer triggers.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Legend That Was Bill Bernbach. He Sold A Nazi Car & Jewish Bread. "Not To Be Different Is Virtual Suicide".


Originally posted this March 28th, 2010 as post to introduce the "legends" or the "original" Mad Men of our business to my students. To date this post has had over 7,300 visits. Update 2013 with "Quotable Bernbach'. Enjoy!
Bill Bernbach was my the biggest influence on my desire to get into this crazy 'bidness' called 'advertising'. One ad, 'The Funeral' was the spot that infected me and inspired me. Crazy, but we share the same birthday... must have been in the stars.

Bill Bernbach believed in a simple truth, “In advertising, not to be different is virtual suicide.” From this simple quote he and his legendary colleagues created and made major contributions to what we refer to as the "auteur" of the Creative Revolution. or advertising's "Golden Age".

He was a philosopher, a scientist, a humanitarian. And his influence was felt well beyond the world of advertising.

Bill Bernbach indeed changed the face of advertising forever.
In the rich history of the advertising, there were far more David Oglivy's, Hal Riney's and Shirley Polykoff's than there were Bill Bernbach's.

Hey, he sold a post war America that defeated the Nazi's a German car, the Volkswagen and convinced a the nation "You Don't Have to be Jewish to Love Levy's" rye bread".

When Advertising Age published their "Advertising Century" issue in 1999, they referred to Bernbach's creative revolution as "the most influential" and the Bernbach name was "the hands-down winner" as the number one " Advertising Person of the Century". When defining Bernbach they added he created the "devising creative yardstick by which most advertising today is measured."In the same issue, DDB's included 1959's "Think Small" Volkswagen advertisements, which was voted the No. 1 campaign of all time in Advertising Age’s 1999 “The Century of Advertising.

The Beginning of the Creative Revolution

On June 1, 1949, Bill Bernbach opened Doyle Dane Bernbach. Joined by partners Ned Doyle, Maxwell Dane they started what would become better known as DDB and the creative agency that began a creative revolution with 13 employees, one client and a point of view that was very different from any other agency that existed at the time: that good taste, good art and good writing could be good selling.

DDB opened its spartan offices at 350 Madison Avenue.  All 13 employees came from the ranks of Grey Advertising where Bernbach truly established himself as a writer and found his "creative" voice. The exodus from Grey included the cream of its copy and art departments, Phyllis Robinson and Bob Gage. The Grey exodus also included DDB's first client, Orbach's department store. Each principal had his job to do, a division of labor that kept them out of each others hair. "There was no strongest among us," Max Dane once said, "We each had our function and never had to fight the others for authority. Ned handled the clients. Bill produced the product. And I ran the infrastructure and even a little public relations. I never told Bill that for several years I had earned my living as a copywriter with the agency."

DDB invented the "Creative Team", the art and copy team concept, by pairing Bob Gage Hall of Fame Art Director & Phyllis Robinson copywriter. History refers to them as the first "Creative Team", the original art and copy combination. In the early 1960s another Art Director named George Lois would work on the legendary Volkswagen ads "Think small" and "Lemon".

From DDB's founding in 1949, Bernbach played an integral role in the writing of advertising, distancing himself from the administrative and promotional aspects of the business. He served as the creative engine behind DDB helping the company increase its billings from approximately $1 million to more than $40 million by the time he retired. DDB quickly grew to become the 11th largest advertising agency in America by 1976, when Bernbach stepped aside as chief executive officer.

Bernbach the ad man "philosopher" believed to be interesting you have to say things in ways other people don’t—but can still relate to. "To be heard, you have to say interesting things as often and in as many places as possible. To be understood, you have to communicate clearly. And to tell the truth, you have to tell the truth, which can be found in everything. For example, Satan is undeniably “the most evil man in the world,” so if you are ever hired by the devil to sell more immorality, brand him as such in a creatively loud way and you’re gold".

Bernbach's advertising philosophy went contrary to convention. His ads were always fresh, simple, and intelligent, yet exuded energy. He advocated a soft-sell technique to draw in the consumer that resulted in the product not getting lost in the advertising.

Above all he valued innovation and intuition over science and rules. In an interview, he credited his creativity as being the secret of his success, saying, "I think I...had the advantage of not knowing too much about advertising, and therefore I could be fresher and more original about it. As soon as you become a slave to the rules, you’re doing what everybody else does; when you do what everybody else does, you don’t stand out."

Simplicity was another quality exhibited in Bernbach’s work. His copywriting philosophy revolved around the idea that persuasion was the purpose of advertising and that only a simple approach would "make crystal clear and memorable the message of the advertisement." By incorporating creativity, simplicity and humor into his advertisements, Bernbach was able to create some of the most successful campaigns in the history of advertising.

Bernbach believed that copy is more important than market research, graphs, formal presentations and much of the other paraphernalia that dominate many agencies of the era, he said in a 1958 Time Magazine article that, "We get people to look and listen by being good artists and writers. We don't expect of research what it is unable to do. It won't give you a great idea."

Bernbach never believed in à la mode advertising. His creative philosophy was outlined in a guide he once wrote:
“Merely to let your imagination run riot, to dream unrelated dreams, to indulge in graphic acrobatics and verbal gymnastics is not being creative. The creative person has harnessed his imagination. He has disciplined it so that every thought, every idea, every line he draws, every light and shadow in every photograph he takes, makes more vivid, more believable, more persuasive the original theme or product advantage he has decided he must convey.”
If Bernbach believed a product could not live up to its advertising, he would not take on the client.
He strongly believed that advertising success hinged on the quality of the product. One of Bernbach’s most quoted lines is "[N]othing makes a bad product fail faster than a great advertising campaign." This guiding principle led DDB to select only products that could live up to their advertising.
In the book "Ad Land - A Global Advertising History" by Mark Tungate writes
"DDB was more like a hip jazz combo than an advertising agency" and Bernbach once compared its work to that of jazz great Thelonius Monk, founder of bebop (1)As a leader it is clear Bernbach was not afraid to be visible, tap into the culture of the time and break down barriers. He was also very clear about the type of people he wanted to recruit. He insisted the people hired fulfill two requirements: They had to be talented and they had to be nice. “If you were nice but without talent, we were very sorry but you just wouldn’t do,” he observed. “We had to ‘make it,’ and only great talent would help us do that. If you were a great talent but not a nice person, we had no hesitation in saying ‘no.’ Life is too short to sacrifice so much of it to living with a bastard.” (2). True to his beliefs, and borrowing from his mentor, William Weintraub, DDB was the first to hire ethnic minorities and women into visible and decision-making positions.
William (Bill) Bernbach - The Man

Bernbach was born August 13, 1911, in New York City ( he passed away of Leukemia October 2, 1982). As a child he enjoyed reading and writing verse and grew up with an appreciation of art. With the exception of a two-year tour of duty during World War II, Bernbach never strayed far from his roots in New York City.

Bernbach liked to hint that he came from a deprived background, saying that "he had no middle name because his parent’s couldn’t afford one". However, his family was better off than most, his father being described by Bernbach as "an austere but elegant designer of women’s clothes".

He attended New York University, receiving a bachelor's degree in literature in 1933. Bernbach also pursued studies in art, philosophy, and business administration that would serve him well during his career.

Job hunting during the Depression years would be a challenge as he decided upon advertising as his preferred field, he was unable to obtain work.

As many of "legendary", Bernbach started at the bottom of the corporate ladder, the mailroom of Schenley Distillers Company. But he always seemed to have his mind focused on an advertising career, he found himself spending his free hours creating ads, and once submitted one of his ads to Schenley's in-house advertising department but received no response. Soon after his submission he would see his ideas and words appear exactly as he had written them, in the New York Time Sunday Magazine. With some anger in his blood, the young Bernbach in a masterstroke of networking he made the acquaintance and made sure that Lewis Rosenthiel, the president of Schenley knew of the ad's true origin and creator. Rosenthiel appreciated Bernbach's creative spirit, and gave Bernbach a raise and placed him in the advertising department. He had begun his ad "agency" career as a writer with the opening of William Weintraub & Co. in 1942, but the following year he would join the army and spend two years in the army before returning to advertising and taking a job at Grey Advertising.

In 1945 Bernbach, became the Vice President of the Grey Art and Copy departments.  There, while working on the account of Ohrbach's, a low-priced Manhattan and Los Angeles department store, he stressed sophistication instead of price with the eye-catching illustration and a minimum of copy that later became his trademark, best scene in Ohrbach's "Cat" ad. But he found his style crimped by conventional ad concepts. He left Grey in early 1949 to form DDB with Grey Vice President Ned Doyle and a friend, Maxwell Dane. To no ones surprise he took the Ohrbach account along as the nucleus of the new agency.

Throughout his career, Bernbach won many awards and honors for his work within the advertising industry. These include induction into the Copywriters Hall of Fame in 1964, The Man of the Year of Advertising Award in 1964 and 1965, and The Pulse Inc., Man of the Year Award in 1966. He was also named "Top Advertising Agency Executive" in 1969 and received the American Academy of Achievement Award in 1976. In addition to receiving countless awards, he also designed the Advertising Hall of Fame "Golden Ladder" trophy.

But no bigger tribute or achievement would be made when he was inducted into the Art Directors Club of New York in 1983. It was said that Bill Bernbach was a discoverer and he was the art director’s first great benefactor. He loved to discover art directors; and he loved to purr and revel at their magical power to conjure images. So there was no way that Bernbach would start the world’s first "creative agency" (having worked with the dazzling Paul Rand) without Bob Gage, Bernbach’s most inspired discovery, and years later George Lois.

The Bernbach Effect

Bernbach stressed a simplicity, but a striking idea, a specific selling point that got across a message without a lot of talk. He had a disdain for the use of gimmicks to lure readers. Said he: "A picture of a man standing on his head would get attention, but the reader would feel tricked by the gimmick-unless, of course, we were trying to sell a gadget to keep change in his pocket."

He got a reputation for being an adman's adman, for putting small accounts on a level with big ones.
He made an once obscure New York bread one of the city's best known with ads showing nibbled slices and the message, "New York is eating it up." Among the agency's other memorable ideas came for Israel's El Al airline's new, faster Britannia plane service, with a picture of the Atlantic Ocean one-fifth torn away ""Starting Dec. 23, the Atlantic Ocean will be 20% smaller".

Great writing and simple visual were his trademark on the breakthrough work created for Volkswagen, other notable campaigns of Bernbach's and DDB are "We Try Harder" for Avis Car Rental", created "Mikey" for Life Cereal, "You Don't Have to be Jewish to Love Levy's" for Levy's Rye Bread and "It's so simple" made Polaroid a household camera.

What Made the Bernbach Effect Different?
What made Bernbach’s vision of how to make advertising work effectively? Take the Volkswagen campaign which was launched in 1959 with the famous “Think Small” ad. If there was one ad that marked the start of the golden era of advertising, “Think Small” was the one. (NOTE: According to Advertising Age, the No. 1 campaign of the 20th century).

But how did the decade of the Sixties differ from the decade of the Fifties? There was a summary that appeared on a blog called The Brand Strategy Insider that analyzed 146 automobile advertisements from the 1950s and compared them with the Volkswagen ad: 

Almost all of the 1950s auto ads (137 advertisements, or 94 percent) showed people in the ads. How else was a creative director going to demonstrate the pleasure that car buyers might feel about their new acquisitions?  

Almost all of them (135 advertisements, or 92 percent) used artwork, not photography. How else was a creative director going to make the cars look long and low and beautiful? 

Most of them (102 or 70 percent) used multiple illustrations. Some single-page advertisements had as many as eight separate illustrations. How else was a creative director going to communicate all of the car’s exciting features except by using a number of different illustrations? 

Almost all the ads were in color with hand-lettered headlines, big illustrations and large logotypes. How else was a creative director going to communicate the excitement of buying a new car? 

Some typical automobile headlines from the 1950s: 

Buick: “You can make your ‘someday’ come true now.

Cadillac: “Maybe this will be the year.” 

Oldsmobile: “You’ve got to drive it to believe it!”

Chevrolet: “Filled with grace and great new things.” 

Now compare these ads with “Think small.” The Volkswagen ad was in black and white with a small illustration, lots of white space and a headline totally lacking in news value. Everybody knew that Beetles were small cars.

At the time the ad ran, Volkswagen had been in the American market for nine years, had sold more than 350,000 vehicles and had generated a lot of favorable publicity.

As our industry is currently under a new a new "creative revolution", but this one is being lead and influenced by technology first. But it to be compared to the "original revolution", we must remember it was Bernbach's ideas and keen insights into human nature may be more relevant than ever. His timeless words have inspired thousands of creative men and women around the world. They have the power to inspire many more.

The advertising industry worships the creative process. At Cannes and at countless other places, the industry lavishes praise on its creative folks. The people who think up these wonderful ads. But it’s a rare individual who is good at recognizing the power of an idea once it is created. Bill Bernbach was one of those rare masters.

Hmmmmm, I wonder what he might have said about the Press Grand Prix winner at Cannes?

Much to be learned from the masters that came before us.

Great insights in the inner workings of motivated Mr. Bernbach can be found in these quotes.


Below are a series interviews featuring Bill Bernbach and George Lois who at one time was a art director at DDB, plus a series of legendary DDB television ads created during the "Creative Revolution" era.

Bill Bernbach on Advertising ~ Part One Intro

Bill Bernbach on Advertising ~ Part Two

Bill Bernbach on Advertising ~ Part Three

George Lois Talks About Bernbach

George Lois on The Creative Revelution

Retrospective of Bill Bernbach / DDB Work

Volkswagen "Funeral" (The Spot that actually got me into this crazy business)

Volkswagen "Keeping Up With The Klemplers"

Volkswagen "Snowplow"

McDonalds "Two All Beef Patties" 

Alka Seltzer "Spicy Meatball"

American Tourister "Goes Ape"

Video Retrospective of Print Ads

Saturday, August 10, 2013

These KMart Puns Are Killing Me... But Do They Work?

First it was customers “Shipping [their] pants.” Now it’s “big gas savings”

With over 24 million views on YouTube it would suggest YES!!!

At the time of this posting "Ship Your Pants" was over 19 million views and "Big Gas Savings" had just over 5.2 million. Those numbers support the YES!!!

But do puns get old? I believe they can... and likely will. There's always a fear that the jokes are already getting old but they seem to get traction in the social-sphere. We have become a culture addicted to over share on Facebook and Twitter.

My colleague and friend Suzanne Pope (you should be following her blog religiously at adteaching.com) has a great insights on the subject in an article she wrote a few years back (see item #4): 
‘If puns don’t make sense for the brief on every level, then ditch them.’

Kmart was created by DraftFCB

Kmart's isn't saying whether it will continue this streak of "puntastic" advertising. A Kmart spokeswoman said, “Creativity is important in Kmart’s advertising; especially to engage our members and share new information on promotions and initiatives. We believe that humor is a natural part of the strategy.”

Hot on the heels of its "Ship Your Pants" and "Big Gas Savings" spots, the discount retailer came out with another humoros back to school ad that has also gone viral (2.2 millions views). While the previous entries relied on double-entendres, the newest one mines another classic comedy trope: Little kids cracking "yo mama" jokes in the schoolyard.

The jury is out. We'll see.



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