Magazine article Marketing

How Advertising Can Be Good, Bad and Indifferent

Magazine article Marketing

How Advertising Can Be Good, Bad and Indifferent

Article excerpt

I am usually a little disturbed when the public's opinion coincides with my own; it makes me question their judgment - or mine. But an exception occurred a while ago when, in a poll by one of the music magazines, Marvin Gaye's What's Going On was voted the greatest pop record ever made. Quite right.

What is the best commercial ever? I think it was for Volkswagen in the 60s. Like the opening of Orson Welles' film Touch of Evil it is one long shot. A pair of feet emerge from a car door and land in deep snow. The camera pulls back as they crunch through the snow, until the last shot reveals a Volkswagen Beetle next to a snow plough. One wonderfully understated line is delivered: 'Have you ever wondered how the man who drives the snow plough gets to the snow plough?' A demonstration of what sold Volkswagen: reliability - and why Doyle, Dane, Bernbach New York was then perhaps the world's best agency.

You can divide advertising into four kinds: good ideas well done; good ideas badly done; bad ideas well done; and bad ideas badly done. In the last category I would put a recent poster campaign for Ruddles, whose previous effort featuring obscure jokes about Rutland I questioned - but it was better than this. Perhaps you saw it: a rather nasty blue representation of a computer screen, with lines like: Forget.e-mails. Drink. Wth. fe/males. Not. 4 boffins//4.people.with.best.friends.

Is this any way to sell a hearty rustic brew? I accept that ad agency posers spend all day tossing off in front of flickering screens but beg leave to doubt that the typical real ale swiller does. …

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