Whenever a young person comes over for a job interview, I tell them the story of my own less-than-illustrious start in advertising over 25 years ago.
Thanks to a penchant for doodling, I had set my mind on the only available art course at that time – Graphic Design.
One day, I happened on this ad written by one Charles Saatchi.
As it was with most ads at that time, the Health Education Council ad employed a copy approach set over a clean, appetizing photo of a plate of steak and peas – art direction was at its most economic, letting the words paint a more vivid image instead.
Needless to say, it succeeded in doing two things:
- Made me a little sick in the mouth.
- Moved me so profoundly that I decided to become a copywriter upon graduation.
So, you could say I like this ad.
The second ad I like broke the Internet long before the phrase was even coined – it was Droga5’s very first piece of work, an online film for street brand, Marc Ecko.
When it first appeared in 2006, no one knew what to make of it. Was it real? Was it fake? I remember thinking and debating with friends in the advertising business about the brazen format in which it appeared in.
After two weeks, the film had received 23 million unique views, over 17,000 news stations had reported it and the Pentagon had to issue statements to deny that Air Force One was compromised – certainly the hallmarks of a successful viral campaign.
For Droga5’s part, it earned them a Grand Prix for Cyber and a Titanium Lion at Cannes but more importantly, it helped revolutionise online content that we’ve become accustomed to today.
Now on to the one that I don’t like
So our fifth-floor office has a large outdoor area from which you could see for miles. Closer to the building, this billboard for Uber has caught my attention, albeit not so favourably.
We see a man purportedly waiting for a taxi getting sloshed on by a passing car. The copy reads: Try Uber. Choose. Order. Go.
Now, the question that comes to mind is: Wouldn’t he have met with the same eventuality if he had ordered an Uber as well?
Yes, Uber could say that if you had the app, he could have ordered a car from somewhere not exposed to rain. Yet in my view, he could also be under a roof, and having gone out onto the sidewalk to get into a waiting Uber, still get sloshed. The variables are just too many to draw the conclusion that you won’t get wet if you took an Uber.
So, for me the argument doesn’t quite hold water.