The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A Picture Can Still Tell A Thousand Words. Or – Based On The Level Of Press Coverage Thatcher’s Death’s Has Had This Week – Probably A Billion.
April 12, 2013, 6:19 pm
Filed under: Comment

This is BBH’s genius ad for the Guardian newspaper.

Simple. Powerful. Mischievous. Relevant. Differentiated. Provocative. Engaging. Memorable. Desirable. Stealable. Quotable. Socialable.

I know I often talk about the power of long copy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognise the majesty of brilliance like this.

Something tells me this will become as iconic as this, and so it should.

Well done BBH, this is going to win plenty of awards and it totally deserves to, which is more than can be said for a lot of the stuff out there.

44 Comments so far
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Brilliant – not just a summation of her life, but also of the debate since her death as well. What’s the format? (not that it matters for something like this – it’ll travel well)

Comment by Sarah

Ads that reference other ads are usually pretty wanky and self-congratulatory – it’s a great testament to the strength/success of the original love/hate work that this doesn’t feel like that at all. This works because Marmite as signifier of divisiveness has become a part of the cultural fabric. Genius from all concerned.

Comment by AJ

That really is something rather special.

Comment by Lee Hill

Best ad publicis will do this year.

Comment by Davis

Couple of additional points that I think are worth mentioning – which admittedly a couple of guys above have touched one …

1. The best & worst thing about this ad is that it shows the entire marketing and advetising industry recognises brilliance yet often just aims for average.

2. It highlights adlands constant claim that we need months to come up with great work is rubbish. Sure, more time can definitely improve standards, but the key is less about leadtimes and more about nurturing great talent and great clients.

(Let’s not forget that to get this done would not only need an open minded client, but one that would make decisions and take responsibility)

3. As much as BBH deserve the plaudits – as does the Guardian for the reason above – so does the guys behind the Marmite campaign, because this wouldn’t work if they hasn’t done such a good job in defining a powerful & simple brand premise.

I cannot tell you how much I love this ad.

It’s not a campaign … it’s an ad … but it shows when you get it right, it can infiltrate culture and drive business and value. Awesome.

Comment by Rob

Yes, that is excellent.

Comment by Marcus

Wonderful. The ad is anything but Marmite

Comment by northern

Absolutely stunning. What a joy it was to wake up to a decent ad.

Comment by Ciaran MCCabe

An ad for adland.

Comment by John

Yep. Unless the scandal I have commented about below is true. Actually, that would probably also be an ad for Adland as well.

Comment by Rob

By the way Rob, what you said in Campaign about working in China was great, but did you sign off on the mugshot?
It looks like you’re trying to smile while someone tells you you’ve been signed up to an arranged marriage with Morissey

Comment by northern

Actually I did, tragic isn’t it. Not helped by the über-close cropping and the fact the one I wanted them to use contravened their ‘no B&W’ pic policy.

They did edit the article a bit including missing out the key sentence which was, “There’s no other place I’d rather be” … but it doesn’t matter because I’m using it to full to a days blog posting next week, ha.

Comment by Rob

Possible scandal alert:

Apparently someone on twitter, @lucy_wragg, is claiming she sent this: to ‘The Guardian’ yesterday. If true and anything more than a coincidence, I’ll be devastated. As will BBH presumably. That said, given how known she was for being “divisive” and how well known/defines the Marmite brand idea is, I can believe its just a coincidence.

Comment by Rob

Or it could be a clever social media campaign aimed at generating earned media!

Anyway, nobody who reads or writes The Guardian loved Thatcher so it’s disingenuous.

Comment by John

This would never of happened if they’d not sold the remaining 49% to Publicis. Ha.

Comment by Rob

I reckon it’s because Fred’s left for the frontier
On that note, it would be typical if the South Korea gig get’s cancelled by war wouldn’t it?

Comment by northern

That said, it’s still horrid for the illustrator but if they handle it right, they could leverage this well for their gain.

In other news, when I was 6, I sent Blue Peter a drawing of a man using a telephone OUTSIDE. 20 years later, mobiles were invented. Coincidence?

Comment by Rob

Yes, all Fred’s fault.

And if there was a war, you’d still turn up wouldn’t you. Real northerners wouldn’t let a few nuclear bombs put them off, would they?

Comment by Rob

You stole that idea from whoever you have running your twitter account.

Comment by John

My cat.

Comment by Rob

I’m sure it’s a coincidence it resembles the illustrators idea. Unfortunate but a brilliant and simple ad.

Comment by Bazza

Love it. Not so keen on the “one woman, a nation divided” line, but it’s a great ad for all the reasons stated.

Comment by George

This is as much an ad for BBH as it is the Guardian. Understatedly brilliant.

Comment by Pete

It’s not brilliant.

Comment by John

Maybe brilliant is too much, but you must admit it is very good.

Comment by Pete

I’m not even sure I’d go that far. Good but not very good. The Marmite reference has been all over the media here and , as I suggested above, it’s preaching to the converted ( Guardian readers) and industry award judges. I guess it just doesn’t wow me.

Comment by John

The Kmart ad is.

Comment by John

Ship your pants? It’s funny, especially for Kmart and sells the deal well but I have to disagree, I think this ad is smarter, better looking and much more memorable.

Comment by Pete

And you don’t think ship my pants etc is going to enter the vernacular for a few months just like wassap did? Whereas this ad will only be remembered within the industry.

Comment by John

Ha, look at me championing low brow humour.

Comment by John

doddsy for fucks sake, this pisses on that kmart attempt of a carry on film. but this guardian ad isnt the second fucking coming of christ either. people like it because its simple, well fucking designed and has a point and its so long since theyve seen that shit they think its come direct from einsteins fucking brain.

for people, change to people of adland.

this is the print equivalent of an episode of mad men. normal fuckers will like it because its easy to understand and looks good. adland will wet their fucking knickers about it because it represents the sort of work and fame they that got them in the industry before they found out it was a shit 9-5 cubicle job producing 2nd hand wallpaper that no one wanted.

Comment by andy@cynic

and youre starting to sound like a white van driving, link test fucker doddsy. careful you dont lose your edge. ship your pants is a great ad for kmart but its only a good ad. this is a great ad for adland but only a good one for real people. but its still better than the kmart fucker. its british for a fucking start. and has some depth to it.

sean connery versus chuck norris.

and sean is driving chuck in his 007 aston with his finger on the fucking ejector seat button.

Comment by andy@cynic

So you’re basically agreeing with me. Ads are for the client and their potential customers, not for adland. Their earned media isn’t worth paying for.

Comment by John

Ideas trump slickness.

Comment by John

Sorry John, are you actually claiming “ship sounds like shit” is an idea?

Who are you and what the hell has happened to you?

Don’t get me wrong, the Guardian campaign isn’t one either, but it has more to it than some swearing innuendo.

Comment by Rob

Not an insight obviously, but it will be shared. Just like the meerkat pun though not as good. Both are tactical but Thatcher/Marmite is just repeating an old idea and will have less distinctiveness. Anyway, I should have stuck to being negative about the post and not dragged in an ad I’d just seen for the first time as a posiitve example. Im not good at posiitve.

Comment by John

I like the Kmart ad but I don’t like it as much as this.

That said it will definitely work but in terms of having any semblance of being remembered beyond a pun, I’m not so sure.

I also question whether the Kmart ad would be remembered more by ‘normal’ society. Obviously it would in America because America rarely does subtlety in its addverising , but here, I think the Guardian ad would still appeal to all – which as I said, is testimony to the quality of the original marmite campaign as anything else.

Comment by Rob

And the nation isn’t divided, it’s largely indifferent and wholeheartedly bored with the excessive media coverage (regardless of their original opinions) and anyone under 23, more realistically, 33 has very little idea of what her policies were.

Comment by John

Does anyone here eat Marmite ? Is it delicious ?

Comment by toto

if youre british youd eat the bastard even if you hated it. its law. aussies ear some shit fake called vegemite. thats why theyre subhumans with good tans.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by toto

i like this. didnt like maggie, but i fucking like this.

Comment by andy@cynic

Does love it or hate it apply to Thatcher’s propensity to hire paedophiles including Derek Laud, Peter Morrison, Peter Righton, Leon Brittan and let’s not forget the 11 Christmases Savile spent with her as Checkers is only a few miles from Stoke Mandeville where Jimmy OBE was presumably having it off with corpses before drying off his toes with the Thatchers. Marmite? I love Marmite. Presumably ‘Love it or hate it’ is a trial strategy?

Comment by Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith)

It’s a great piece of work. A lovely bit of creative thought that recognises another great bit of creative thought.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

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