Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday Tip No.60 - What Would Dave Trott Do?

This is the third in a series of tips that suggest, if you’re stuck on a brief, you try looking at your problem through someone else's eyes.

Today, Dave Trott - one of the greatest Ad-Men the UK has ever produced.

I like the word Ad-Man, for Dave. Writer doesn't feel right. And nor does Creative. Because as you can read on his brilliant blog, Dave is unashamed about working in advertising, unashamed about selling, and unashamed about doing stuff that is popular. And he doesn't much care about what the industry thinks, as I imagine 'Creatives' and 'Writers' do.

Dave has produced a massive body of work, and would hate to be thought of as having a formula. He doesn't. But although I feel awful reducing his entire career to one tip, nevertheless - just as John Webster was the master of character-creation, and David Abbott was the master of headlines - there is one particular skill at which Dave has no equal. And that is branding.

A proper Dave Trott ad can only be for the brand it is advertising. It's almost as if the man has a pathological fear of misattribution.

Let's start with Ariston.

First thing to notice is that the line can only be used by Ariston. 'Hotpoint and on' doesn't wash. But the real key to its success is that the branding is relevant. That 'and on' is no random piece of rhyme - it powerfully communicates the longevity proposition.

I think Ariston was Dave's finest hour.

(Incidentally, the ad still looks great today, even though it's from the 1980's. Quite radical in its construction too. No logo. No endline. No voiceover.)

Next, Toshiba.

This famous ad was imitated on playgrounds across Britain. The branding is amazingly brutal, but the ad delivers such massive entertainment value, it gets away with it. Plus, once again, the choice of a robot as Tosh (okay, he isn't Tosh, he just says Tosh) reinforces the high-tech design sell of the product.

Finally, Access.

This time around, the product name is not quite as seamlessly integrated as in the last two examples ("Does you does or does you don't take Barclaycard" would be possible, though it wouldn't scan). However, I'm sure you will agree that despite this minor oversight, the ad is once again branded up to the wazoo.

So, what can we learn by reminding ourselves of Dave's branding skills?

Mainly that branding, when used relevantly, isn't just about "making sure people remember the ad is for Brand X" - it makes the sell stronger.

Also that branding need not be a handicap to a commercial ("I can't believe the Client is asking us to mention their brand name twice in the first ten seconds!") Instead of complaining about requests to 'up the branding', try embracing it fully. Maybe it can give you the entire character of the commercial.

One final point - Clients love hyper-branded ads, and it's a trick not many people are pulling at the moment. So if you want to sell more of your work, and stand out from the crowd, it's a 'trick' you may want to consider.

Craft: How To Know If You've Had An Idea; How To Use Social Media; What Would John Webster Do?; What Would Paul & Nigel Do?; The Hidden Flaw; How To Write Copy; Be Funny All The Way Through; How To Do Virals; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Read Iain's Tips; Be Very; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Don't Overpolish

Guile: How To Freelance; Beat The Finger; How To Get The Best Out Of Directors; Don't Write Ads, Write Strategies; How To Choose Where To Work; Working Outside London; How To Negotiate Your Salary; How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; Look At Weird Shit; Why You Shouldn't Present To The Client; How To Present To Clients If You Have To; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Turn A Placement Into A Job (Ed Morris view); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Should You Take A Bad Job?


Sell! Sell! said...

Good post Mr Scampi.
Although personally I think strongly branded commercials are much more than 'a trick you might want to consider' - more like advertising when at its best.
Speaking as someone who is proud to be an 'ad-man',
if you can make your peace with the fact that you work in advertising, and that your job is to make money/sales/effects for your client, it's liberating creatively.
And you won't become one of those bitter old ad folk complaining their 'best ads never got made' or some such rubbish.
And it's more fun.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what Dave Trott would do, he's irrelavent nowadays anyway.

And, to be honest, he looks like he was a one trick pony back in the day anyway.

Better tuesday tips please Scamp.

Anonymous said...

6.23 anon.
Seeing as anonymous insults are your bag I shall reply in the same vein.

You sir, are a waste of skin.

And anyone who says "back in the day" is culturally non-existant.

Anonymous said...

Those three ads are bursting with personality.

That's why I like them.

Ads. Not films.

The ariston one is 40 seconds. And just keeps you involved. The new orange ad could learn from it.

Anonymous said...

sell sell.

and if someone criticises your ad, you can say "fine"

anyone who thinks an ad is art is a wannabe. and a failed one at that.

better to be a succesful adman than a failed film maker, any day.

Anonymous said...

Eh? So great branding, in your book, is taking the client's name and somehow making it work with a pre-existing piece of music? Oooh yes, very creative and brilliant that.

Anonymous said...

Eric Silver.

Anonymous said...

anonymous before

i bet you remembered every single one of those ads and the brand they were for

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how his work feels fresher (ariston and tosh at least) than whatever his own creatives are producing at his agency.

He should get better creatives, def.

And before you say crusha is fresh, a music promo did the same thing ages before.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you.
I should just say that the Ariston ad wasn't done by me.
It was done after I left by Finky.
But it was another in the campaign that Dave Waters and Dave Cook started while I was there.
That aside, thank you again.

Anonymous said...

I find that's the tricky thing about his brilliant blog: his current MO seems to ignore all his advice. Virtually everything his agencies have produced in the last fifteen years has been anonymous, or, even worse, shit like Sacla.

But if you even hint at it, he gets really defensive.

He did this whole post about doing the most shocking amazing big thing you can then doubling it. And then we get Sacla, or Alan Sugar and Bob Geldof cocking on about premium bonds in the dullest way possible.

Practise what you preach, Mr Trott. This post shows you used to walk the walk. Now you just talk the talk. Or give us a bit of self-awareness and don't be so bloody narky if someone calls you on your hypocirsy.

I guarantee he will diss this post and probably my anonymity too.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...


I post reluctantly as I'd rather not draw attention to your entry, but I'm appalled by your comments. I can only assume you are a student as find it impossible to believe any advertising company would employ an individual with such a naive attitude. If you want to get a job in this industry, grow up quick.

Anonymous said...

Fink's Ariston ad is basically Trott's Toshiba ad plus Pina Bausch (obscure German choreographer, for the uninitiated). Not that that's a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee he will diss this post and probably my anonymity too.

8:27 PM

no, but i will.

before you start dishing the shit, you must learn a few things. (as i'm presuming you're on placement; posting at half eight?)
it's as much about what a brand has done before as it is the work that's being produced now.
look at everything sacla have ever done.
the new ad, whatever you think of it, is better. it's also a big step forward for that brand. and if they keep making big steps like that, things can only get better, budgets will get bigger, everyone will be happier.
when your taking a client on a brave journey, you need to hold their hand every step.
and when you've had a job for a few years you'll realise it's about long term success, not getting out an award winner day 1.

and to answer your next question/diatribe.

no i don't work there and haven't even met dave trott. but i understand your problems, i was young once.

Anonymous said...

Trott's a dinosaur, bring on the new skool!

Anonymous said...

Whoever's defending Sacla deserves to get twatted right in the mush.

It's afwul, to say it's a big step is a fucking lie.

Surely you do work there as you seem to know a lot more about previous Sacla ads then we do.

George said...

6.23pm - Dave Trott is irrelavent nowadays? Don't be daft. There are a number of creatives who have excelled at their craft, shaping the way things are done in the future. Dave Trott, John Webster, Walter Campbell, Dave Abbott etc etc. To say that any of these people are irrelevant these days is like saying that the Beatles had no impact on the rock and roll.

PH said...

Anon 9.09 - I see the junior programmer from NewBiz Design has logged on again.
Re: Dave Trott. You've got to respect his achievements (if not, dare I say, his creative output). The bloke's loaded, still in the thick of things, and has probably done loads of great drugs and top totty.
Personally, I think a lot of the 'iconic' work from the 80s is only so because of the fact we only had one channel with ads on it. But fair play, the Ariston one was like a trip down memory lane. Hats off to you DT.

Anonymous said...

Scamp, I don't understand. In your post you say that "Ariston was Dave's finest hour". But then in the comments here, Dave himself says "the Ariston ad wasn't done by me".

Isn't that a bit embarrasing for you? And, by leaving the ad there, a bit embarrassing for Dave too?

Scamp said...

Not embarrassed at all! The Ariston campaign (including, crucially, the endline) was created on Dave's watch. This is just a later execution that happened to go out after he left, is all.

sell! sell! I take your point. I should have put "trick" in quotes. Will do so now.

Stuart Parkinson said...

"Personally, I think a lot of the 'iconic' work from the 80s is only so because of the fact we only had one channel with ads on it."

Damn right. There's not as much chance for ads to be -that- iconic these days, unless the media spend is astronomical.

Ariston, Scotch (re-record don't fade away), Mr Soft - all of these ads were unavoidable. They lived with us for weeks or months at a time on what was, for most people one of 3 channels - 1, 3 & 4 - how much BBC2 was the common man watching in the 80s?

The ads that I remember at the moment as WELL as ariston or scoth etc are insurance comparison ads that currently fill all of the Sky ad breaks - are they any good?

Anonymous said...

imho branding is not about stuffing the product/service name into people's minds.
branding is about connection.

although I admire Dave Trott for his knowledge and understanding these examples are fundamentally lame.

Anonymous said...

If Trott's as good as you say.
Why is it that the ads he does these days are shit, but they're just the same as the ads he did ages ago.

Explain please someone.

Anonymous said...

you guys

william said...

9.56 - It's true that you could put the Sacla ad in here and it would not look out of place. It's the same kind of ad.

Is it maybe that Mr. Trott has been trapped by his own inflexible advertising principles?

What's the quote Dave? "Formulas are temporary but principles are eternal"?

Maybe that's just not true.

The man is still full of wisdom though.

Anonymous said...

"Not embarrassed at all! The Ariston campaign (including, crucially, the endline) was created on Dave's watch. This is just a later execution that happened to go out after he left, is all."

Ah, right, I get it. So it's like, um, yeah, saying that everything Roxy Music did after Eno left is actually all down to Eno? Or how all the Buzzcocks best-loved songs are really the work of Howard Devoto, because he was there at the start? I see, yes - that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Fenton Benton,

I seem to recall advertising wasn't even carried on channels one and two. Hang still isn't (unless you count the ridiculous and disgusting amount of advertising BBC does for itself).

Dave's stories are brilliant. I love them. The fact that his agency doesn't always produce work that follows them to the letter is indicative of the more competitive position we are in now. If Hegsy's got any principles, I doubt they're well reflected in the current KFC and Surf work (among others).

Anonymous said...

dear anon 10.34.

It's more like the remixes of 19 by Paul Hardcastle owe a debt to Paul.

Dave started the campaign and Finky continued it.

If you're going to try a snotty analogy, get it right.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8.27pm accuses me of producing nothing in the last 15 years but "shit like Sacla".
He/she says I've been "cocking on in the dullest way possible".
That I'm also "hypocritical" and "bloody narky".
That I will probably "get really defensive" and "diss this post".

just to revisit a couple of definitions:
Scepticism is, "I don't believe it until you prove it."
Cynicism is,"I don't believe it even if you prove it."

If this blog is just about posting "amusing" comments, fair enough I'll stay out of it.
But personally I don't think I can have a debate with a closed mind.

Anonymous said...

I think what Dave Trott figured out a long time ago is that this is advertising, not art. However, that doesn't mean that advertising that sells can't be intelligent, fun and artful. Look at the output of his agency in the Eighties - creatively they blew everyone else away, From LWT posters (that could still stand up against stuff that C4 and ITV are doing today) to Holsten Pils "It's pre-war - It's pre-posterous, my son". Brilliant stuff. So, he absolutely wasn't a one-trick pony 'back in the day' as some dull-fucker posted earlier. I just think slagging Sacla is too easy, that's all.

Scamp said...

10.34 - your music analogy is wack. I agree that later Roxy Music choonz aren't down to Eno. But later Economist posters owe a lot to David Abbott, don't they?

Anonymous said...

Here's the Ariston ad in question

The aim of Sacla is to stand out on a low budget and hit ABC1 Housewives, an expensive demographic to reach. It's not whether you, Dave Trott, or Scamp likes the ad, but whether he, Scamp or Mrs Scamp lobs it into the trolley for the nights when they can't be arsed to cook.
The same for ABC1s in Hampstead, Hexham, Harrogate and Hale.

And would the Anonymouses like to remember that the world isn't skewed to 16-24 males and the minute you all realise this (Premium bonds ads are talking to risk averse lump-sum holders aged 50+ while you lot are still 25 grand in hock to the SLC; in your shoes, I'd hate it, too) you might get a proper job in an agency. And, perhaps a second one.

Anonymous said...

"It's more like the remixes of 19 by Paul Hardcastle owe a debt to Paul."

Wow. Great analogy there. Paul Hardcastle? Remixes? Is that really the best you can do?

And Scamp, well, no - I don't agree with the Economist analogy. I bet the copywriters who came up with the later lines wouldn't either.

It's about credit where credit is due. And Dave deserves a better credit than the one you attempt to give him with Ariston. I mean, Christ - the man himself said he didn't do it. What more do you want?

Anonymous said...

Oh my god...Scamp did you just say wack?

You cool dude you.

You is down with the kids, next you'll be calling your mates 'blood'.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a saying

'You're only as good as your last ad'

Case closed!

Next post please Scamp.

Anonymous said...

See what I mean?

I didn't say you've been cocking on in the dullest way. I said Alan and Bob had, and I said 'virtually everything over the last fifteen years had been anonymous' OR 'shit like Sacla'.

You take comments out of context and change them to suit your point of view and you do it a lot. If you're interested, you also use anecdotal evidence ('everyone I know tells me how great Sacla is' etc.) as if it's fact.

You're an intelligent bloke, Dave, so the slightly bullshitty and chippy (defensive and bloody narky) way you argue does you no favours. Just tell us about all the brilliant stuff you've done over the last 15 years. That'll shut me up.

My comment wasn't intended to be amusing. It was supposed to point out a few of your shortcomings that undermine your credibility. Maybe you should keep an open mind. Or look at how Mr Denton reacts to reasonable criticism.

Defensive? I rest my case. Hypocritical? The closed mind comment says it all.

Lunar BBDO said...

As a copywriter who came up with a few of the later lines, I agree with the Economist analogy. David Abbott did the vast majority of the heavy lifting, just as Mr Trott did with Ariston.

To the haters (I can use the kids' words too), Mr Trott still produces advertising we all know. I think he'd suggest that that is the point.

Anonymous said...

don't get me started on mark 'i'm on the jury' denton.

Anonymous said...

"As a copywriter who came up with a few of the later lines, I agree with the Economist analogy. David Abbott did the vast majority of the heavy lifting, just as Mr Trott did with Ariston."

But, but... they're not the same. The Economist campaign was brilliant. The Ariston was merely meh. Or, if you prefer, a bit wack. So let's not get carried away here.

Anonymous said...

mr freedom pass

accepted that the sacla ad is going to lodge in your brain, like a parasitic worm, the fact still remains do I or many other people like it?

I would guess not.

Whereas the Trott ads of old had charm and originality, this has neither. So I doubt whether me, mrs anonymous, or granny anonymous will be throwing sacla in the trolley any time soon.

Consequently the flaw in your, and indeed Dave's argument that saliency is all, is wrong. Saliency and charm is all for most brands.

Read 'Hey Whipple Squeeze This' and you'll see what I mean.

Sacla is a prime example of only having one tool in your box. Dave is a great leader and CD, but he'd be the first to admit he isn't the greatest creative per se. Without the momentum of the 80's and the great people he – to his credit – employed and motivated, what you're left with is Sacla.

Lunar BBDO said...

Ah, well that's a different matter. And a matter of opinion.


In your face.

Anonymous said...


Not very...

Anonymous said...

lunar - but he didn't, Dave Waters and Paul Grubb did, admittedly inspired by Dave.

Let's get it right.

Tons of creatives worked on the later Economist ads, but David Abbott wrote the campaign, end of. Not the same as Ariston at all.

Anonymous said...

Ref Sacla the you tube reference is interesting; there are a couple of spoofs on there that hate the ad and another half a dozen that obviously like it. And the fact that 8 people have bothered to spoof an ad, and upload it to you tube, does indicate that they are engaging with it - good or bad. Which is Dave's basic mantra - do something interesting that gets people engaged with the brand, and don't try and please everyone.

Anonymous said...

Actually you know what, you're right.

I'm being very bitter towards Dave, very rude, mocking and derogatory. I've just been arguing with you all for the sake of it, and I'm sorry.

For you see I've misplaced my tampons and copy of Vogue.

Anonymous said...

One of the most important things i ever learnt from Dave was to keep your eye fiercely rooted on the end game.

We are trying to sell. That's what we do. That simple truth is being suffocated by vanity. What Dave is great at is taking relatively unknown names and making them household.

Look at Toshiba, even Sacla. You may not like the ad, but i bet the figures speak for themselves.

He is a problem solver, and one of the best there is. And that will never be 'irrelevant.'

Anonymous said...


Do you really think those positive Sacla quotes are real? I.e. from punters.

The negative spoofs obviously are.

Bottom line is: you can do something engaging,
but which also isn't crap. It sells, and it's great. That's the aim, and anything else is a cop out.

Surely you want people to like your product as well as remember it?

Conversely something 'clever' that doesn't engage is also wrong. On which I agree with Dave.

Anonymous said...

re 11.11am

Here here

Anonymous said...

11.45 - So you're just going to completely disregard the positive Sacla comments because you think they're not real?

And what a coincidence - they don't agree with your viewpoint!

Grow up mate.

Anonymous said...

11.08. Walter Campbell's last tv campaign was for the Mercedes B Class. It was not good. He however, is not only as good as his last piece of work. He is an advertising god as almost every piece of work he did previously was incredible. I'd go gay for Walt - he's amazing.

Anonymous said...

Tom, is that you?

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the 3 ads featured are tweaked rip offs to mega catchy songs. Even though the visuals are amazing for their time and really make you forgive the singalingo element. Dave Trott oversaw some great non-song based stuff too.

Can anyone confirm at last the legend about him ripping off some old awards annuals as young creative, and being found out? or is this just bullshit? We need this stuff...

Anonymous said...


It's funny, but I'm dubious about any comments on You Tube which say 'I love this ad', especially when it's patently toilet. Don't know why.

You never heard of 'seeding'? Do you not think agency people are on there sticking in 5 stars?

Whereas he neg. stuff is hardly going to be rigged is it?

Grow up mate.

Anonymous said...

Dave Trott has a bit of a problem.
It's that he writes like this.
So that everything he utters comes with a built-in level of profundity and gravitas.
So people expect a lot from him.
Which is no wonder, given the guru-like way he presents himself.
The problem is: he can't always walk the walk he talks.
Not all the time.
If you see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Here's a completely irrelevant question. I've tried and tried, but I have never been able to find the Iguana B&H ad anywhere - not Youtube, The Reel - anywhere. Can anyone help? It's got to be out there somewhere. I can't believe I've never seen it.

Anonymous said...


wondered when someone was going to mention that....

Anonymous said...

12:16 PM

Wow, that's quite an insight. I hope it doesn't keep you up at night.

Anonymous said...

What would Dave Trott do if he was feeling horny, and his wife was out of the house?

That's what i want to know.

Anonymous said...

decent. But nothing set the world alight in 13 years.

Anonymous said...

There's always one in every blog.

Anonymous said...

12.14 - I think you're letting your personal opinions cloud your judgement, and because you want to believe that they're seeded, they will be.
But look around at the billions of comments posted on all youtube videos, and ask yourself is anyone ever going to spend money on seeding comments on videos?
And more importantly, who would read those comments and change their opinion of the sacla advert?

I think the main point you seem to trying to get across (in frankly, a very childish manner) is that anything that isn't completely perfect shouldn't go out.

And that sounds like an artist, rather than someone who's in advertising.

If a deadline's coming up, you don't go to your boss and say 'sorry i couldn't come up with anything good enough', and your boss CERTAINLY wont say 'oh thats alright, we'll just let the client know that you weren't up to it'.

You go in with something great, or you go in with something.

We're in a business. The whole point of advertising, is to get results.

Anonymous said...


Don't be a muppet, of course if time is pressing, you have to do something.

But the ideal is: for the work to be noticed and to be great work. Not just to be noticed.

A shit on a page will be noticed.

Do you work in advertising?

Anonymous said...

12.56 - I agree. A shit on a page will be noticed, and thats not necessarily a bad thing. You look at E-sure, and everyone HATED michael winner with a passion. But because the product is relatively unknown, in a industry where being cheap is key, being memorable is almost all that matters.

Sacla is the same. If you watch the case study on the CST website, you'd see the problem was people not knowing the brand or the name, or pronouncing the name wrong.

So surely the problem that needed solving was getting people to even recognise that sacla exists?

And if anything, all this controversy over Sacla is surely proving that whilst not everyone likes it, it had an impact and people are talking about (I know we're all in advertising so thats why we're talking about it, but reference the sacla youtube spoofs).

Do you enjoy asking rhetorical questions in an attempt to be facetious?

Anonymous said...

Sacla. Couldn't remember it. But I've just had a look on YouTube and now I do.

It's rubbish. Why? Because, quite simply, it's a very poor rip-off of videos that had been doing the rounds for years. If that's what being a great creative is, I'll shit in my hat.

Anonymous said...

Whether something is good or bad is a matter of opinion, and so subjective.
Whether something works or not is a matter of facts, and so objective.
I can only answer questions objectively, with facts.
If you've already decided something is crap, subjectively, I can't change your mind with facts.

Anonymous said...


It's pretty simple really. Effective AND entertaining advertising is the ideal.

It makes you buy stuff and it gives you something back for your attention, which builds the brand relationship.

So that's what we should aim for. Great work.

Not 'let's get noticed by being inane'.

Anonymous said...


You're obviously very naive. There are genuine comments on You Tube films/videos by the shed load yes. And then there are gushing comments about really crappy spots from 6 to 8 people all giving it 5 spot the difference.

and of course people are going spend money on it - seeding on You Tube is now a basic part of the media plan. how expensive do you really think it is? Get a few people to rate it 5, and up it goes.

there was one up the other day, with five or so comments, all five stars, that were so obviously false, 'hey the product looks really cool, where can i get one?' etc etc.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

I watch them and think they are very hard sell, especially the lines in the Toshiba ad.

However at turning a hard working ad into something entertaining they have little equal.

The Ariston ads left a huge mark on me when I was little; distorting the brand name like that was memorable and gave a positive impression of the brand as well.

Anonymous said...

Sacla just annoys me, and i wouldn't want to buy into a product that annoys me.

So for that reason, i won't be investing, i'm out.

Anonymous said...

1.33 - Things that are inane, don't get noticed.

Because they're inane.

And whether or not you like the ad (which i can totally understand), you can't argue with the results.

Sacla got noticed, got results, and more importantly, people aren't agreeing about it one way or the other.

Anonymous said...


P&G advertising 'works'.

So did the John Smiths Peter Kaye campaign - probably more so.

Which do you prefer?

Anonymous said...

1.34 - Whilst I agree with bigger products, seeding may be a good way to get better results, but neither CST or Sacla are big enough to be bothered with stuff like that, do you not think?

Anonymous said...


What are you talking about? Inane things get noticed all the time.

Big Brother? The Hamiltons? Posh Spice? So let's see some quality instead yeah?

Anonymous said...


As I said, it costs practically nothing....

Anonymous said...

1.44 - Like it's been said before on here, with enough coverage anything can be noticed. With BB, hamiltons and posh spice, it's constantly shoved down your throat by every media channel possible.

You see it, you see it with

If you're willing to spend the money to get it played everywhere for a fair amount of time, then you don't need an idea do you?

But the whole point of advertising is how to be cost-effective. Send out one great ad on one channel, spend much less money, and get the same response as putting a crappier ad on 17 channels for twice as long.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.39pm
Of course, we all prefer advertising we like.
But maybe we don't all agree on what we like.
In which case we have to have advertising that at least works.
To have that you have to define the function of the advertising before you start.
It might be awareness, loyalty, image,price.
It's always different, and it's not always about liking.
And the audience isn't always people who work in advertising.

Anonymous said...


Clowns are inane, but we still notice them unfortunately, so it's nothing to do with exposure. that's cop out for producing inanity.

My contention isn't that Sacla hasn't worked. It's that you could do something that isn't inane (crap) and which would work too.

Trotty's place could do better. And if he places his (subjective) opinions out here of how to do great work, it's fair comment.

Anonymous said...

People on here defending the Sacla stuff are obviously from CST. So I've made my point/s.

Better work please guys.

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars".

Anonymous said...


So much vitriol.

All Dave Trott has really done is get noticed.

It's ironic that he's now mostly being slagged off by people who remain "anonymous."

Anonymous said...

2.00 - Something we can agree on: Clowns are inane. But like I said before clowns run around, dressed colourfuly to attract attention and doing silly things to attract attention. And they do it a LOT.

Therefore being inane only works if you keep at it.

Sacla wasn't played on every channel 23 times a day. It was a few channels, and played a few times. And it cut through, and it got a response.

Now just because it didn't get a response from YOU, that doesn't mean it's a crap advert.

I'm sure you're a smart person, but i don't understand why you're being subjective when it's not needed.

Your opinion of the quality of the ad has no bearing on whether or not is was an effective ad.

And yes I agree with you that Dave's up for a bit of a kicking when he puts his opinions up, but why do you care that he has to be wrong so much? Surely you could just think to yourself 'hmmm... I don't agree with that, so I'll ignore it'.

And moreover if you are going to dispute it, how about reasonably posing your question, instead of trying to offend someone?

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Sell! Sell! said...

Ah Scampi, now you made me feel like a quotes pedant, dammit.

But to continue my pedantry, I don't personally see creating strongly branded commercials as 'trick' either.

Just good advertising.

Anonymous said...

Dave has got noticed for doing poo and his amazing 80's legacy.

That has tapped into the common Scamp debate topics of effective vs awardy and washed-up vs legend. That's all we're chatting about here and no one will ever be right. But it's fun watching so many knickers get in such a twist to so little consequence.

Coincidentally enough there's a post on Lunar about it now. I just kind of nicked what they said.

Anonymous said...

dave 1.55 come on, pull the other one.

it's just a real shame that someone who once set the creative standard, is now lowering it. and trying to justify it. Great advertising works, and not just on advertising people. As your old agency showed us all.

And that's still the challenge - to do great advertising. Which, by definition, is what gets noticed.

Scamp said...

sell! sell! I agree that all ads should be well branded. But hyper-branding, like repeating the name Ariston over 20 times in an ad, I think IS a 'trick' - like a special move in an XBox fighting game - that you won't want to pull all the time.

Anonymous said...

2.50 - absolutely true, and as Lunar has written, thats the fun really, isn't it?

Anonymous said...


In what way have I been offensive?

30 secs of clown in my face. 30 seconds of sacla ad. same exposure. Same result.

PS it's called coulrophobia. Linked to saclaphobia.

Anonymous said...

2.54 - I think what you're saying is really interesting, and a fair point. But If you can't have both, if for whatever reason you have to pick between a fantastic looking ad that doesn't sell, and a cheaper looking ad that gets results, I'm pretty sure we'd all pick the same thing right?

Anonymous said...

3.04 - My bad, You werent being offensive, I'm just getting confused by all the anonymous comments...

But nevertheless, I still dont think the clown analogy works, because clowns are designed to be inane (senseless\silly), whereas in this particular case, the sacla is only inane in your opinion, which is the point that we're going to keep circling until we agree that we aren't going to agree.

I have to say though, you make some good points.

Anonymous said...


Simple, creative, engaging, original advertising works. Keeping our eye on that is all we need to do.

'Effectiveness' will follow.

P&G or John Smiths, take your pick.

Sell! Sell! said...

3:25 PM

I don't think it's as simple as that - to be truly 'great' advertising, I do think it needs to be "Simple, creative, engaging, original" but in a way that is very relevant to the product or brand.

Not just "Simple, creative, engaging, original", which could be just something entertaining that does nothing.

Anonymous said...


Do you think the Sacla ad is silly, annoying and empty?

Do you think clowns are too?

You're not saying you like the Sacla ad surely? And don't start on about results. It could be great instead, and also get great results.

(Prob 5% of people really like clowns of course. In which case maybe we should put them in an ad.
You'd get 5% of the market! Or maybe we could do something better that more people will remember and like and buy.)

Anonymous said...

sell sell

relevant is a given, but it should have been in too yes.

Anonymous said...

3.25 - I'm with sell! sell! on this one, isn't that a bit too black and white? we're dealing with two seperate tiers, which is the creative aspect, and the marketing aspect.

For the creative checklist, it has to be creative, original, simple and engaging.

For the marketing checklist, it has to be relevant to the brand, with the focus being on the product.

Bringing them together is the real challenge, no?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

3.37 - Yes i LIKE the Sacla ad.

I admit it's not all it could be, but it's not claiming to be is it?

And also, you aren't the target audience for it, so it stands to reason that you don't like it.

But we're back to the same point again, which is it's your OPINION.

If you really want to find some scale by which you can compare it to other ads, then your only option is to look at results.

Otherwise we're just standing around, telling each other their wrong, which isn't massively productive.

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Anonymous said...
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Sell! Sell! said...

Exactly 3:42, that is where the proper great advertising is.

I think most creatives out there can do entertaining and striking pieces, but doing that in a way that is entirely relevant and effective is the thing that very few people do.

3:39 - the trouble is that for a lot of people, relevant isn't a given - that's why you end up with loads of witty, entertaining ads, none of which you can remember what they were for.

Anonymous said...

Sell! Sell!, You're right and I think the reason that creatives tend to go for striking and entertaining, is because a lot of the time making something relevant sucks a lot of the life out of it you know?

I know I find that when I write ads sometimes, I write something thats completely relevant to the product but it's a really boring, crappy bit of writing.

If I totally disregard the brand and write something entertaining, it looks great but has nothing to do with the product.

The eternal struggle continues.

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Anonymous said...

I know we're all having a pop at Dave, but Sell! Sell! is sticking the neck out too.

How do we feel about knock-off Nigel (I think it's shit)?

It would never persuade me that dodgy DVD's are wrong because it tackles the subject in entirely the wrong way. Who's really going to be embarrassed into thinking that they're a bit of a wally for making 20th Century Fox earn $99bn instead of $100bn? They've had enough of my cash. It's payback time.

Anonymous said...

4.10 - spot on mate, I think those knock-off nigel ads are buttock-clenchingly piss-poor, simply because as you say, The movie companies are hardly losing out from your underhanded budget DVD purchase from some nice old chinese man who won't stop saying 'cheep dee wee dee'.

The only way I think you could do it (and I'm not even sure this would work), is if you explain that most pirate dvd sellers, are funding crime, drug related and otherwise... But even then, not too sure people are compelled, since everyone just downloads it anyway.

Sell! Sell! said...

4:10, 4:17 - cheers for your opinions, I guess I was asking for that by 'sticking my neck out' non-anonymously. The thing is that those kinds of rational messages haven't worked in the past. The Knock-Off Nigel stuff is having a measurable positive effect, and cutting through way beyond its spend.

Some people like it, some hate it. I accept that's just the way it is. And from a communication point of view, I personally think it's a better place to be than a forgettable, safe, wallpaper sort of place.

Anonymous said...

I think all the comments to this post have been seeded by Scamp and Trott in order to make everyone think the rest of the industry give a shit.

Especially this one.

Anonymous said...

The fact is, most people dislike advertising - they're bombarded with around 1500 brand messages a day, and so it's natural that much of it gets ignored.

One of the biggest problems we face is penetrating this shield, so the ad must be in some way compelling, interesting or amusing, otherwise your not even on the radar.

Relevance and impact, such a delicate balance.

I think Dave does this well.

Anonymous said...

Relevant and impactful. This is usually where the interests of the client and the interests of the agency part company.
Agencies want ads to be relevant and impactful in order that their client sells some the product or service they are offering.
Clients aren't bothered about relevance and impact. "How so?" I hear you cry. "It seems weird." Allow me to elucidate.
For most clients the advertising is not there to sell more of the product or service they are offering. Not the prime reason anyway. If that occurs that's just a happy coincidence. No. The advertising is there to impress a more important client somewhere further up the hierachy. An audience of one, who will pour over every frame of this ad no matter how boring it is. This person's criteria of what makes a good ad is based on things like whether we see the product a lot, whether the VO details ALL the advantages of the product or services, even if they have to speed up a bit at the end, whether everyone in it is young and aspirational, even if this makes a nonsense of the idea, does the ad have that Celine Dion track on it that his wife likes? You know, stuff like that.
Also if no one really notices the ad and sales don't actually go DOWN the client can just point to the research that said the ad would do brilliantly for sales so it's not their fault. Better to have a bland ad that no one notices than do an impactful and relevant ad that runs the risk of people not liking it. too damn scary.

Anonymous said...

Sell Sell - I was having a few pints with some mates the other day and some guy came up to sell us some DVD's. Instinctively I rattled off the Knock off Nigel song, pointing the finger at the vendor. Everyone rolled around with laughter, so it worked for me and my mates.

Anonymous said...

Are you certain as to the nature of the laughter and the reason for the vendor's embarrassment/egress?

Anonymous said...

3.42 This is often the assumption with creatives. That we're only out to win awards.

What isn't usually appreciated is most of us love it when the ad works really well. Uplift in sales, viewing figures, circulation etc. Why wouldn't we?Everyone likes their work to connect.

Doing something relevant or linked to the product is therefore never a problem. That's advertising. It's what you do on top of that too though. (And hopefully it doesn't just mean repeating the product name like we're all hard of hearing.)

So the marketing and creative considerations are the SAME THING. It's pretty old fashioned to look at them as seperate. And I think i's patronising to creatives and also creates mistrust. A major barrier to great work.

Anonymous said...

7.29 - I'm sorry I offended you, but you misunderstand me.

I'm a creative too, and I absolutely agree, when you get an ad that boosts sales, and you realise that you've connected with so many people, it's a great feeling.

All I meant was that in a creative's head, there have to be a creative checklist and a marketing checklist. As you say, if you get creatives only looking at the creative checklist, then it gets in the way of a lot of work.

Right on, Brother.

Anonymous said...

safe bro.

or as scamp would say - that ain't wack.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a 'What would juan cabral do?'.

I'll make it easy for you.
He'll type
and nick something off it.

He just nicked those gorilla
and trucks remixes so that'll
make it a relevant post.

Biscuit Barrel said...

Sacla - you all know the name, you all remember the ad. It did it's job. Fact. Dave will testify to that. It was to raise awareness and all you on here talking about it are just adding to its effectiveness.

I'm sure Dave will know, but who said 'All publicity is good publicity'

As far as i can remember(??) i'm under the illusion that the Alan Sugar ad doubled numbers overnight. Maybe the numbers arent exactly that but something of the kind. No one can argue that CST don't provide solutions to there clients problems. You all won't like it because you want everything to be 'Cog' or 'Surfer' or 'Insert 'great' advert here'. When as we all know you can't make everything great. Same with anything. Thats why great exists, you need the dull and okay, alright and good to make something great.


Anonymous said...

Hi Scamp, can I just do a final wash-up on this post?
One guy keeps asking "What have you done in the last 15 years?"
Well in the last 5 years:
Sacla told us they had their best-ever day's trading after the ad ran.
NS&I were £1.5 Billion below budget before the ads ran, and £1.5Billion above budget after.
Crusha were 25% up after the ad ran, while the market leader, Nesquik, was 18% down.
The Independent compact launch, which our advice and ads were central to, saw sales go up 20%.
I know these are just numbers and don't address whether or not you like the ads.
The point is, as a copywriter or AD probably all you should care about is does anyone like the ads.
As an ECD, I believe the job is a lot more about caring if they work.
Stategy and efficacy become much more important than just pure creativity for its own sake.
That's why it's a difficult conversation, especially if you're using different criteria.

Anonymous said...


so the CST guys trying to put a fullstop to this.

But....if we're talking saliency, and I think someone mentioned this further up the post, I didn't remember anything about scala until i checked out the ad via this thread. Then I remembered I'd it seen it, and also that it was terrible and actually dissuaded me from buying the product. So well done on all the pointers there.

I'm the target audience btw - young professional who does a bit of cooking. bit like the guy in the ad, but with a slightly bigger beer gut.

If you really want to talk utilising media spend, the ads that usually stick in my mind, on say one viewing, are from Mother. Max impact on small budget via great creative. E.g The Observer. And no I don't work there, unfortunately.

You can 'prove' anything with sales numbers and we've all done work that has effected similar upshifts. Big whup. If the ad had been better would scala be the brand leader? And how many people like me have you actually turned off the product?

A final thing to bear in mind is that your ECD contributes a lot of advice on 'how to' - which is fine and actually very good and useful advice. but when the output is work like Scala and NSI (? not sure of the name there - branding issue?), you've got to expect a reaction.

Rusty - get your final point (we need the bad to celebrate the good). But the aim is still to do better, rather than settling for justifying and lauding the mediocre.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm commenter 120something and probably won't get read I'll just sneak this in here: someone at CST is doing pretty good job of rinsing youtube for creative ideas. I don't know who it is but the Crusha song is a commercialization of any of the weird little songs the B3TA guys came up with, and the Sacla ad is doing a bad impression of a famous cut together beatbox clip by some Nordic kid

We'll see if their next multi-billion pound revenue spinning campaign features a small kid saying "I like turtles", or perhaps 2 girls enjoying a cup or something?

Unknown said...

Thank God Simon didn't mention the groundbreaking Pepsi ad from the 70's. Anonymous would be going into Cardiac Arrest by now...or has he, she or it already.