The perfect ad

7 May

When I interview people for creative positions in the creative department, I always ask the question: “So why are you in advertising?” in the hopes of hearing back from them: “Because I want to nail the perfect ad.”

What is a perfect ad and how do you know if you’ve nailed it? Here’s what I think:

> It’s impossible to ignore and unforgettable once you have seen it.

> Whether simple or complicated, the level of complexity is absolutely relevant to what is being sold.

> It speaks in a language that the target market will immediately appreciate.

> It creates such a buzz for the product that your client’s business is overrun.

> It generates conversation.

> It makes the agency famous.

It is Advertising’s holy grail, and there is a certain hungry look about those who seek it.

I believe my old Ball Partnership Creative Director Neil French nailed a few. This one for Prontaprint remains my favourite of his. (Get a  readable view of it here.) Chatty, long-winded and requires too much time right? Just like a lot of documents. Amazing how a little colour can focus the eye! Best of all, you don’t actually have to read it except for the one line….then you’ll hunt for the client’s name.

But my favourite ad of all time is this winner from Australia for indestructible surf shorts from Kadu. The creative team was Ben Nott and Paul Bennell, the year 1994. It transformed their client’s business and won them the Grand Prix at Cannes. Meets the criteria I set out above, don’t you think? Made me sick with envy.

Right, back to the drawing board.


5 Responses to “The perfect ad”

  1. Corey May 7, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    This was a great Friday morning read, very enjoyable. Love seeing some gems.

  2. dougbrowncreative May 7, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Thanks Corey…got any perfect ads you or someone at Aasman wants to share with us? We’d love to see them!

  3. Eli May 7, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    I am a big believer in “sex sells”

    People like to look and feel sexy. So when you can appeal to them in a mode that deeply resonates with their desires, I’d say you’ve got a working formula. 

  4. cojones May 8, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    I love simplicity in advertising. For example this series:


  5. dougbrowncreative May 8, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    > It’s just that sex is so ubiquitous isn’t it Eli. It’s rarely done in a way that ignites you. I recall a campaign in Venezuela for Polar beer which was just pure sexism: big-breasted bikini models shot from the neck down – pure sex object stuff. It shocked me at first because we don’t do that in Canada anymore, then it just became wallpaper. When Polar released its Ice beer, the bikini model’s nipples became erect. I thought that was both funny and smart.

    > Thanks for the link Chris. Beautifully simple solutions. Reminds me of the work of Bob Gill, the minimalist American graphic designer. I personally love this style of advertising: the idea doesn’t get in the way of the message.

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