Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One of the best ads of all time

Back in the 80's John Webster was a leading figure in the advertising community. He was a believer in telling human stories. In 1988 I clipped an op-ed piece in Campaign (UK) magazine by Webster. Back then he bemoaned the rise of the technology and tricks - which have become commonplace today in advertising. This ad is genius for its idea, or should I say insight - The Guardian newspaper gathers all the facts to offer its readers an informed point of view (presumably instead of a rabble rousing opinion).

Not only has journalism declined, but so has advertising - both crafts that went hand in glove to tell stories that helped us form opinions.

Maybe a nice recession will push the reset button. We'll go back to the truth well told and be suspicious of tricks - except when they challenge bigoted, biased views.


  1. 1st - I am extremely impressed that you have kept this article for so long.

    2nd - I hope that you are right about the reset button. I don't know how many time I have sat and watched or read a commercial and been dumbfounded at the lack of skill in writing or emotional pull. The old days of advertising were so much better, and well written!

    Thanks for the great article, and sharing such an interesting old article!

  2. Always loved that ad. I clicked on the article and it grew big enough for my old eyes to read it. And read it I did. Not much has changed since it was written 20 years ago. Which is surprising really, given how much writing there is on the internet.

  3. So true. We do need to hit reset. Even the common messages like "great deals today only" or "works better than the rest" have become naught but background noise to the jilted consumer.

    As advertising merges ever more with marketing, this is a great time to hit reset for us marketers.

    Perhaps it's time to let the consumer tell the story, like they are, in Social Media?

  4. Hi David,

    Stumbled upon you via @ConversationAge on Twitter. Enjoyed the commercial and am looking forward to reading more from you.

    I especially identify with the idea of storytelling as a tool for provoking thought, not necessarily agreement.

    Ciao from Oz.


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