To celebrate the IPA's centenary this year, we are asking adland's finest to pick their top five ads from the past century. This week, Dave Bedwood, Creative Partner at CHI & Partners takes us on a whistle-stop tour of advertising through each decade of his life.
Unbelievable as it seems (to most people) I’m now into my fifth decade. Which, if my maths is correct, means I can do one memorable ad for each decade of my torrid life. How neat.
Saab, Nothing on Earth comes close
0-10 years - I was around eight when I saw this Saab ad. This is what landed Tony Scott the Top Gun gig. I can vividly remember the car disappearing behind the hill then reappearing as a jet plane... and until I rewatched it again today I realised this doesn’t quite happen. My memory had rewritten it - how disappointing. Safe to say I’ve decided not to rewatch the Top Gun volleyball scene, as some things should remain sacred.
Nike, Do you know?
10-20 years - Our family had Sky TV around 1990, so today we’d be called ‘early adopters’ but back then we were just fancy bastards. I remember how revolutionary MTV felt. This was when America was cool. The ads, the music, the famous idents were nothing like Aunty Beeb. The Air Jordan series of ads had Spike Lee and MJ riffing off one another. I used to wait by the TV with a dictaphone to catch one on tape and when I did, I’d bike to school (BMX Goonies style) and play them to my mates. It was social media; shareable, snackable content as some tit would call it now.
20-30 years - In my third decade the potential choice of ads has ballooned. No longer just an everyday punter, I’m someone who is actively studying advertising. It’s easy to vanish up your own arse in debates about originality, artistic integrity whilst the public are busy picking their arse and flicking the remote. To that end I’ve gone with an obvious choice, but it’s the one I remember experiencing like a punter again: Guinness Surfers. I sat in the cinema whilst this thundered through my bones. I still for the life of me can’t remember the film I saw that day.
VW, Safe happens
30-40 years - I worked on VW for a number of years and, like many, was practically brought up on 'Lemon' and 'Think Small'. So, although there’s loads more famous work to choose from in this decade, CP+B’s ‘Safe Happens’ campaign stuck with me. From a professional point of view you appreciate how hard it is to sell something like that. But also, as VW always did with its great work, it respected the intelligence of its audience.
Michelin Tyres, Guide Michelin
40-50 years - The internet allows us to view work from any decade, so we're no longer a slave to this year’s D&AD annual, or what is running on TV, or our own faulty memories. My last pick embraces our time shifting media wilderness with a campaign done over 100 years ago by the Michelin brothers. They wanted to sell their new long-lasting tyre innovation. Their strategy: if we get people to drive further, they’ll need our tyres. So they created a guide of the best hotels and restaurants around France. What I love about this is it could easily be a case study awards video in 2017. I can hear the judges: “It’s not even advertising! It’s a product! A movement!”. Yep 100 years ago mate. Good thinking is timeless.
Dave Bedwood is Creative Partner at CHI & Partners.