Entries in advertising creativity (1)


Baker’s Blackbelt Course in Marketing Creativity 1.1


Welcome back to Baker’s Black Belt Creativity.

Your first assignment was to find three ads or three (fill in the blank) that resonated with you. That created a wow moment.  That made you so envious that you were ready to quit the business or even more willing to be better.

The first misdirection is this. 

Did you have to search ad books or the Internet to find your wows? 

Too bad. 

The truly great creatives I know have it engraved in their minds; on their office wall, a file called “I’m not worthy" or simply in folder called “inspiration.”

If we were together in an actual class, I would have to write from memory the 10 ads that wowed you.  Then, we would discuss why.  It doesn’t have to be ads; it could be commercials, web sites, or a brochure. (Remember the Peterman Catalog?)

Here are my three.  Starting with the 1960’s.

1.  Volkswagen Lemon.

The sibling of Think Small, I love Lemon more.  Created by Julian Koenig and Helmet Krone over 50 years ago, it still hits me because; I don’t know how they DDB sold it. 

You essentially are saying in a word picture that the Volkswagen is lemon – a car that is bad.  Really bad.

But what makes this ad so special is that it gave permission, as Bob Garfield of Ad Age once wrote, “to surprise, to defy, and to engage in the consumer without bludgeoning him about the face and body.”

The ad acknowledged that consumers weren’t blathering idiots. But rather, they understood that Volkswagen was remarkably fastidious about the cars they made. 




2. Rolling Stone: Perception Reality

Two decades later.

If you were at an ad agency in the 80’s, you simply couldn’t avoid this campaign. 

Fallon McElligott Rice (as it was known at the beginning of the campaign) had a monster of a brief. “Change the perception most advertisers and media decision makers had about the readers of Rolling Stone.”

Launched in June 1985, the campaign included a total of 55 ads and ran for seven years. It became one of the best-known trade campaigns of all time, and New York's One Club for Art & Copy ranked it number 3 of the 12 best advertising campaigns of the 1980s. 

If your core audience is anti-mainstream and your job is to create the “reality” that the readers aren’t so anti-mainstream with the magazine’s street cred at risk, and you pull it off with such memorable creativity, that’s a wow.

 3.  Volvo Safety Pin

I am still wowed by this marriage of simplicity and truth.

Created in 1996 by the creative team of Masakazu Saka and Minoru Kawase at Dentsu Young and Rubicam, the ad needed no headline, no copy – just a logo. Volvo was synonymous with safety.  The safety pin was iconic.  Together, they inspired a wow ad.

Old ads? Yes.  Old ideas? No.  That's the secret. The big idea is that good ideas come from good thinking.

There are tremendous new ads being created everyday.

But unlike the 60's or even 80's , chances are you won't find them in mainstream magazines or TV.   

For example, look through an issue of Time or People or even Rolling Stone and try to find an ad that wows you.  It will be a challenge.  But they are out there and you'll be creating them.

 Assignment #2.

Find at least three ads that have no headlines and preferably no words whatsoever.  Find them and send your favorites to Inotivity@gmail.com

Book Recommendation:

Copywriting:  Successful writing for design, advertising, and marketing.  Mark Shaw.  Hint, it's for art directors and designers too. 

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