Bernbach's VW Campaign Killed Advertising, Ads A Commodity

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Writing a chapter (pdf) for Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin's book Pick Me, U.K. creative Brian Millar blames Bill Bernbach's Volkswagen campaign for forty years of advertising sameness. Perhaps that it a bit of a stretch but his piece does contain some good commentary on how insights can lead to great creative. He must have read Phil Dusenberry's Then We Set His Hair on Fire.

by Steve Hall    Dec-13-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Publishing   

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Comments



Comments

Exactly. At Tangelo Ideas, we preach: Anything is advertising. Everything matters. This chapter explains why - perfectly.

Posted by: ernie mosteller [TypeKey Profile Page] on December 13, 2005 12:48 PM

Good stuff. Definitely inspiring. For a good read, which puts the VW ads in historical context, check out The Conquest of Cool, by Thomas Frank.

Posted by: Gary Stein on December 13, 2005 1:03 PM

Just curious: why must we read books about our business to gain insight into our business? If these wise ones are so brilliant, why must they write books?

Nothing is more boring than reading about making ads. Just go out and do it...and shut up.

Posted by: W on December 13, 2005 3:51 PM

But yet DDB VW ads are still witty and engaging...

Posted by: Rob Mortimer on December 13, 2005 8:48 PM

LOL to W.

We just like to share the love, my friend. :D

Besides, in a karmic universe, maybe one more book about making ads takes the place of a book about Donald Trump... or Martha Stewart or... Jessica Simpson.

See? It ain't all bad after all.

Posted by: olivier blanchard on December 13, 2005 9:25 PM

Oddly, I hadn't read the Phil Dusenberry book when I wrote that piece (not sure it was out yet). But it's great. All the more reason for writing books about advertising (see above).

I'm sure that David Ogilvy said something to the effect that you wouldn't hire a lawyer who'd never read any books about law, or a doctor who'd never read any books about medicine.

Maybe W was born a perfect copywriter. Perhaps he can't get any better. If so, good luck to you W.

brian

Posted by: Brian Millar on May 3, 2006 12:46 PM

Oddly, I hadn't read the Phil Dusenberry book when I wrote that piece (not sure it was out yet). But it's great. All the more reason for writing books about advertising (see above).

I'm sure that David Ogilvy said something to the effect that you wouldn't hire a lawyer who'd never read any books about law, or a doctor who'd never read any books about medicine.

Maybe W was born a perfect copywriter. Perhaps he can't get any better. If so, good luck to you W.

brian

Posted by: Brian Millar on May 3, 2006 12:52 PM

Thanks for the plug. Actually, I hadn't read Then we set his hair on fire when I wrote this, I'm not sure it was out yet. To take W's point, I'd like to quote David Ogilvy,

I asked an indifferent copywriter what books he had read about advertising. He told me he had not read any; he preferred to rely on his own intuition. "Suppose," I asked, "your gall-bladder has to be removed this evening. Will you choose a surgeon who has read some books on anatomy and knows where to find your gall bladder, or a surgeon who relies on his intuition? Why should our clients be expected to bet millions of dollars on your intuition?"

Read and be better. Don't and be indifferent. Your call, W.

Posted by: brian millar on October 3, 2006 3:24 AM





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