Advertising isn’t marketing; advertising is the voice of marketing.
Marketing is responsible for sales, advertising isn’t responsible for sales.
Advertising is responsible for getting the sales message heard.
Of course, if it’s the wrong message the ads won’t work.
But that’s marketing’s job, to make sure the message is right, that’s not advertising’s job.
Advertising’s job is to get that message noticed, understood, remembered, and repeated.
That’s why John Webster would always insist his advertising had a solid, muscular base, so his unique executions would be delivering an effective sales message.
Because without that, the beautiful execution just dissolves like smoke when the ad’s over.
That’s why a great line isn’t just a pun on the name, or a rhyme, or alliteration, it has to deliver a core sales message.
Look at the campaign lines that still resonate:
The Milk Marketing Board for regular health benefits: DRINKA PINTA MILKA DAY
Heinz beans reinforcing their brand as market leader: BEANZ MEANZ HEINZ
The COI promoting the habitual use of seat belts: CLUNK CLICK EVERY TRIP
A radio campaign to make bananas a fun snack: UNZIP A BANANA
The Egg Marketing Board to promote protein benefits: GO TO WORK ON AN EGG
Timex, summarising the torture tests: TAKES A LICKIN’ AND KEEPS ON TICKIN’
Cream cakes justifying a guilty pleasure: NAUGHTY, BUT NICE
For Jubbly orange-juice drink: LUBBLY JUBBLY
Posters for doctors’ waiting-rooms: COUGHS AND SNEEZES SPREAD DISEASES
For Ronseal as a no-nonsense solution: DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN
Nike for serious athletes, no excuses: JUST DO IT
For L’Oreal to justify the extra price: BECAUSE I’M WORTH IT
To enhance Federal Express’s reputation for reliability: WHEN IT ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HAS TO BE THERE OVERNIGHT
For Wendy’s with more meat than McDonald’s or Burger King: “WHERE’S THE BEEF?”
B&H, a long, pleasurable smoke: “HAPPINESS IS A CIGAR CALLED HAMLET”
For Heineken, more refreshing: “REFRESHES THE PARTS OTHER BEERS CANNOT REACH”
For Castlemaine, Aussie masculinity: “AUSTRALIANS WOULDN’T GIVE A XXXX FOR ANYTHING ELSE”
For Avis, why the second biggest is better: “WE TRY HARDER”
Why rye bread makes a tasty change: “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE JEWISH TO LOVE LEVYS”
How New York City, despite everything, is still the biggest and best: “I LOVE NEW YORK”
I learned a lot from all these lines.
I learned that no matter how expensive the previous thirty seconds is, what survives and gets into the mind of the public is the line.
If the line has the sales message, that’s the most important part.
That’s why, at GGT, we did ads that Campaign magazine described as having: “The wit and style of the best UK advertising and the muscularity of the best American advertising.”
They described ‘muscularity’ as: “Like a brick coming through the consumer’s window with the client’s name wrapped round it”.
So when reliability was the most important feature, we did: “ARISTON AND ON AND ON….”
To separate the brand from the mass of Japanese manufacturers: “HELLO TOSH GOTTA TOSHIBA”
To highlight an umbrella’s tensile strength: “YOU CAN BREAK A BROLLEY BUT YOU CAN’T KNACKER A KNIRPS”
London Docklands’ advantage over the countryside: “WHY MOVE TO THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE WHEN YOU CAN MOVE TO THE MIDDLE OF LONDON?”
To summarise a supermarket’s range: “MORE REASONS TO SHOP AT MORRISONS”
To get commuters to dispose of used tissues immediately: “CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT”
It’s advertising’s job to get marketing’s message in the end line.
Because it’s never the expensive visuals that go viral, it’s always the strapline.