Love will keep us alive.

Instead of weeping about the death of ads, how about saying something positive I hear you squeak?

OK then, how about passing on the adverts baton, something that, rather than clutching at pearls, the old and wretched, the whiners, cry-babies and bed-wetters should be doing. Keep alive the tenets of the agencies they profess to love so much before we are all gathered up ourselves.

Keep alive the values that should outlive us even if replaced by eminently forgettable new acronyms.

To begin – write.

Acquired learning is sadly lacking in the industry. Last time I mentioned Ogilvy’s comment about advertising going unrecognised as a profession. Ask yourself, how much learning is available about advertising compared to the mountains of reference produced about law? How many agencies actually have libraries, eh?

In all fairness, David did his bit. Ogilvy on Advertising, Confessions of an Ad Man to name the most prominent tomes. I didn’t agree with much of what was written, but it’s the thought that counts.

I had a crack at writing myself. I assembled all my ad articles together in a book called Civil Writes (it was available at Borders who immediately went out of business).

And I edited/wrote a handbook on the theories and practical application of J. Walter Thompson’s ideas on effective advertising, immodestly called The Thompson Way.

There’s a great book called From Those Wonderful Folks That Gave You Pearl Harbor by Jerry Della Femina; required reading as the blueprint for the TV show, Mad Men.

But my particular ‘bible’ is a little book from a long departed alumni of J Walter Thompson, it’s called A Technique for Producing Ideas. It’s magic and it’s available on Amazon. But that’s about it from the agency lot.

So, as it bears repeating, keeping it alive part one – write! Write books, write articles write pamphlets, write on toilet walls.

Secondly, possibly more importantly…. teach.

A few folks lecture. I try. This comic’s beloved publisher and editor, Ham, does. (That’s Professor Ham to you. Ed.)

Some agencies, not all, spent a lot of time and intellectual energy in developing practical ideas and theories on the creation of the most effective advertising. I certainly try my best to pass on the things I learnt, much of which I wrote about in the handbook I mentioned above; things like, ‘The Buying Cycle’, how people make purchase decisions. ‘Brand Personality’, how brands actually take on anthropological human characteristics. ‘A Scale of Advertising Effect’ how different products are purchased in different ways.  ‘Stimulus and Response’, the best way to make viewers respond to adverts. And more.

I recently gave a talk to a bunch of university students (I was told 300 of them but it was online, so they were mute and invisible, but unfortunately for them they got to see me!). The topic was again from that booklet, A Technique for Producing Ideas, they seemed to like it – I did.

There is, for me at least, a great deal of satisfaction in passing on worldly wisdom – it does the ego a world of good.

So there you are. Mourn if you must. But I assure you, if you really love the agencies that have been unceremoniously interred, then practice the things I spoke about above – write and teach. 

Or indeed anything else to ensure the essence of the agencies, if not the names, are not lost.

And dry your lying eyes.

Paul J Loosley is an English person who has been in Asia 40 years, 12 as a creative director and 26 making TVCs. And still, for some strange reason, he can’t shut- up about advertising. Any feedback: mail [email protected] (please keep it lively).


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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)

 

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