This was the second brand campaign the TM agency did for Discover Network. It began as the theme I developed for a booth at a trade show. Discover Network had recently won an antitrust ruling that opened the door for merchants to accept Discover cards. Prior to the ruling, Discover cards could not be processed on the same terminal as Visa and MC cards because their merchant agreements did not allow it. Acceptance of Discover cards began growing by leaps and bounds. Discover Network wanted to call attention to this burgeoning acceptance to encourage banks to begin issuing their own Discover-brand cards (Investors Bank Discover® Card, etc.)
This 1969 Volkswagen ad appeared in major newspapers the morning after Apollo 11 reached the moon. This was a minor feat in itself because newspapers used to be painstakingly laid out by hand and the ad couldn’t be placed until it was known Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had safely landed.
The ad is brilliant in that it sums up the positioning the Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) agency had carved out for the Volkswagen Beetle and equates it to the lunar lander in the same endearing tone.
The work DDB did for VW was so groundbreaking Advertising Age proclaimed it the best advertising campaign of the 20th century. Take a look at how different it was from other advertising at the time. Below are two ads from the early 1960s. One is for Buick and the other was created by DDB for VW:
Volkswagen was just one of many memorable campaigns by DDB — the agency is widely credited with sparking a creative revolution in advertising.
The secret sauce? In a time when ad agencies were routinely staffed by WASPs with Ivy League Educations, Bill Bernbach shook up the status quo by hiring talented Jews, Italians and Greeks. He was also the first to pair art directors and copywriters together. The result was a style of advertising that was irreverent but persuasive.
The Exxon Valdez was a supertanker carrying approximately 55 million gallons of oil when it ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. At least 11 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds.
As frequently happens when things go wrong, people immediately looked for someone to blame. They settled on the captain of the ship, Joseph Hazelwood. He was portrayed as a careless drunk who was singularly responsible for the disaster.
In fact, he was the only person to face criminal charges. Before his trial, he claimed he had been “flushed down the toilet” by Exxon and was being made a scapegoat. Many agreed. Ultimately, Hazelwood was acquitted on all felony charges, but was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of negligent discharge of oil.
About this 1989 ad, copywriter and agency president Rick Colby told Communication Arts: “We did the ads for Greenpeace for almost ten years, and we won lots of awards for the work. But I think this was my favorite ad. It was so simple, so true.”
That makes for an effective ad — people recalled it decades later with the advent of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The tone of the copy softens the headline so it doesn’t come off as too preachy:
It would be easy to blame the Valdez oil spill on one man. Or one company. Or even one industry.
Because the truth is, the spill was caused by a nation drunk on oil. And a government asleep at the wheel.
But together we can curb our nation’s dependency on oil.
We can shelve Bush’s plan to lease the continental shelf to off-shore drillers.
We can put pressure on Washington to restore the funding Reagan took away.
We can convince U.S. automakers to market more fuel-efficient automobiles.
Together, we can put the brakes on our nation’s oil dependency before it’s too late.
When Daffy Dan’s Bargain Town opened in Elizabeth, NJ in 1961 it was a store where you could find all sorts of items for surprisingly low prices (silver dollars were 88 cents). Today, the store specializes in clothing and is simply called Daffy’s. Read More
This 1987 ad for the Honda CRX-Si is best understood in the context of the times. After two major oil-price shocks in the 1970s, the muscle-car era in America gave way to the economy-car era. The CRX-Si promised the best of both worlds.
Good advertising always has an element of truth to it. Here’s a comment from a former Honda CRX-Si driver that was made on the Internet in 2008:
I owned the all black 1986 Honda CRX si. I loved that car more than any car I have ever owned. It is the reason I have always owned Hondas; Accords, Element and the Odyssey. I was 18 at the time and the car was a pure pocket rocket. I balded the front tires within 3 months from “excessive acceleration” according to local PD. It handled like a dream and cornered like it was on a slot car track. So much fun to drive.
English Heritage is a government-funded group in the United Kingdom that is responsible for raising awareness of UK history and preserving historic buildings. By that standard, this 1995 ad and the others in the campaign are winners. Not only do they educate readers about UK history, they also encourage visits to the sites. Ticket and souvenir sales at these these historic sites are used to fund the group’s preservation efforts.