Magazine article Marketing

It's a Miracle to See Such a Basic Ignorance of Ads

Magazine article Marketing

It's a Miracle to See Such a Basic Ignorance of Ads

Article excerpt

A passage in Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire casts doubt on the story of the death of Christ and attendant miracles such as the veil of the temple being rent in twain, the earth being plunged into darkness and so on. How careless of ancient scholars, Gibbon observed, not to notice such astonishing occurrences in an age when no significant event passed unrecorded.

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, it is equally hard to comprehend so many advertising practitioners' ignorance of the most basic principles. It beggars belief that anyone involved has spent more than three minutes studying what makes ads work.

Had you read the Sunday Telegraph, October 13 - which perhaps you did, since it was being given away, probably to massage circulation - you might have seen on the back page a National Savings ad. It boasted nothing as obvious as a benefit or even a headline, unless you count the beguiling copy opening: 'National Savings first option bonds offer'. The type was carefully reversed out on a background like a 1960s Pucci print to make it illegible. The base line ran 'Unique investment opportunities from HM Treasury'. I assume this means unique opportunities for them to squander taxpayers' money on costly drivel. There was also a picture of a man called Peter Whatall, with no explanation. I fervently pray he was there to take the blame.

Inside, on page 13, was an elegant example of the fledgling wit school of advertising, for a firm called Martin Currie. …

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