OPINION: A strong idea is still the key to making great ads

John Meszaros, the client who helped make Audi’s ’Vorsprung durch Technik’ part of the language, received advertising’s ultimate accolade two years before he left the car maker in 1992: the blessing of John Hegarty. ’John has the most creative flair of any of our clients,’ Hegarty said. ’He doesn’t just make a commercial judgment, but looks at the ad from a creative point of view. It’s a double-edged thing, as we have disagreements, but I have great respect for him.’

John Meszaros, the client who helped make Audi’s ’Vorsprung durch

Technik’ part of the language, received advertising’s ultimate accolade

two years before he left the car maker in 1992: the blessing of John

Hegarty. ’John has the most creative flair of any of our clients,’

Hegarty said. ’He doesn’t just make a commercial judgment, but looks at

the ad from a creative point of view. It’s a double-edged thing, as we

have disagreements, but I have great respect for him.’



As it was Meszaros’s flair that so patently paid dividends for

Volkswagen and Audi, Campaign was delighted when he agreed to write this

week’s feature (see p26) comparing the car market and its current

advertising with that of ten years ago - the time when Meszaros and the

then DDB Needham were busy positioning the Golf as vital yuppie

accessory with ’changes’ and other exemplary ads.



As Meszaros notes, his thesis will not please many car clients and their

agencies. He explains how most recent car advertising has been more

memorable for its weight of spend, its ’noise’, than for its intrinsic

interest or its strong idea. This, of course, has been exacerbated by

the high level of launch activity.



In the car market more than any other, clients have to throw money at

ads in order to get any kind of share of voice. A manufacturer might

spend pounds 20 million a year on ads, an impressive budget for any

other product category, but it is still small in comparison with the

pounds 500 million-odd total spend in the sector.



Meszaros suggests one way of producing more effective work. ’When I was

a client,’ he writes, ’we treated agencies as partners and business

advisers.’ How many times have we heard the argument that agencies can’t

do their best work from a kneeling position?



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