By DAVE TROTT, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 02 July 1999 12:00AM
I don’t know if there’s anyone out there, reading this, who’s old enough to remember advertising. I’m talking about the old days, when the job was to sell things. Ages ago. Before the only job of planners was to get us to empathise with the target audience. Before art directors and copywriters became designers and TV producers. Even before the target audience for everything we do became 12 people on an awards jury.
I don’t know if there’s anyone out there, reading this, who’s old
enough to remember advertising. I’m talking about the old days, when the
job was to sell things. Ages ago. Before the only job of planners was to
get us to empathise with the target audience. Before art directors and
copywriters became designers and TV producers. Even before the target
audience for everything we do became 12 people on an awards jury.
There, I thought that’d shock you. In the old days we used to do
Yes. I know we still call it advertising. But in the old days we
actually used to do advertising. We’d try to sell things to people - 55
million people, in fact.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: what’s that got to do with winning an
advertising award? And you’re right. It has the square root of fuck all
to do with winning an advertising award. Which is probably why we
stopped doing it. Because 55 million punters can’t give you an
advertising award. They can whistle your jingle at bus stops. Kids can
shout your slogan at each other in the playground. You can use word of
mouth to get ratings many times larger than your client is paying for.
You can get your TV campaign off the box and into the streets, even into
But, fair do’s, it does have the square root of fuck all to do with
winning an advertising award.
So let’s forget all about it and get on with the real business. What
will the jury vote for? Well, St Ivel Utterly Butterly, I should
imagine. I don’t have a clue what it’s all about. Christ knows why I’m
supposed to buy the product, or even know what the product is. (Is it
low-calorie, spreadable, healthy, delicious or what?) The whole thing is
very confusing but beautifully shot. Perfect credentials for an
advertising award, in fact.
Just like the Rover 75 commercial. Is the car big, is it good value, can
it corner well, is it fast, does it even have an engine, if so, what
sort? Oh, don’t be so old fashioned, what’s that got to do with
empathising with the consumer? Our kind of purchaser isn’t merely buying
What do you think this is about: transport? This is mood, this is
lifestyle, this a paradigm, a context, this is all about the kind of
person you are.
The Rover 75: it is, are you? Yet again, in car advertising, planning
has fused with the psyche of the target market, helping to create an ad
that’s beautifully shot and doesn’t mention the product. Almost a
certainty for an advertising award, I reckon.
Just like Trebor Fundays. ’Let’s show grown-ups recapturing their
childhood, our target market will recognise the emotions depicted and
empathise with them, we don’t need hard sell’, (planner-speak). ’Bung
the pack on the end, then it won’t spoil the film’,
Then what about the two press ads for FT.com? Apart from looking good, I
don’t know what stock shots from Henri Bresson and Elliot Erwitt tell
you about the FT’s online service (if that’s what they’re advertising).
What can I say? No FT, no comment.
What about the Debra cinema commercial; will it get an award? Well it’s
a demo - juries love a good demo. It’s a charity - juries love a
It’s well shot - juries ... (etc).
Which just leaves BBC Knowledge. I’m just not sure this one’s got much
of a chance. Sure, it’s well shot, the trouble is, I understood exactly
what was going on. Talk about lazy, they couldn’t even be bothered to
make it confusing. It wasn’t weird, it wasn’t even quirky. It wasn’t
shot upside down, through the bottom of a milk bottle, with some quick
cuts of a legless hunchback painted gold. What are they playing at? I
mean, I understood what the product was, what was good about it, how it
worked, and why I should (gasp) buy it.
I should save your entrance fee on that one, fellas. You’re aiming at
the wrong audience. You’re talking to punters.
You obviously don’t know anything about advertising.
Dave Trott is the creative director of Walsh Trott Chick Smith
Project: Rover 75
Client: John Sanders, UK marketing director
Brief: The Rover 75’s distinctiveness means not everyone is going to
like it but a lot of people will love it
Agency: Ammirati Puris Lintas Writer: Sam Cartmell
Art director: Jason Lawes
Director: Rupert Sanders
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: Global terrestrial and satellite TV
Client: David Bendor-Samuel, head of communications
Brief: Raise funds for EB, the genetic skin blistering disease
Agency: M&C Saatchi Writer: Angela Jones
Art director: David Graham-Dao
Director: Brian Griffin Production company: Douglas & Jones
Project: BBC Knowlege
Client: Liz Cleaver, head of programming
Brief: BBC Knowledge, the digital TV and internet service, offers
unparalleled access to information
Agency: Leagas Delaney Writer: Will Farquhar
Art director: Ian Ducker
Director: Graham Rose Production company: In-house
Exposure: BBC television
Client: Malcolm Waddington, marketing communications director
Brief: Increase brand awareness of FT.com and drive traffic to the site
Agency: Delaney Fletcher Bozell Writer: Not supplied
Art director: Gary Betts
Typographer: Shelley Dobson Photographer: Various
Exposure: Business titles and national press
Project: Trebor Fundays
Client: Louise Cook, marketing controller
Brief: Trebor Fundays are bags of your favourite sweets that bring out
the child in you
Agency: Fallon McElligott Writer: Andy McLeod
Art director: Richard Flintham
Director: Chris Palmer Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: National TV
Project: Utterly Butterly
Client: Tony Lucas, marketing director
Brief: Show how obsessed Utterly Butterly users are with its buttery
Writer: Steve Meredith
Art director: Ray Brennan
Director: Barney Cokeliss Production company: Concrete
Exposure: National TV
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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