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 Yousaf Khalid, Group MD at Everything Different, makes his selection which includes the government, gangs and Guinness.
I don’t like instant coffee. I don’t like stout. I don’t like wine spiked with brandy. I don’t like mashed potatoes in packets and I didn’t much like the Tories. So my five best ads are all for products that made me at least pay attention to them and in so doing sewn the seeds of my love of the business and the power and the art of persuasion.
I personally don’t like the stuff and only tried it when visiting the Emerald Isle on a work trip to Dublin because of a bit of FOMO. A bold brand that’s focussed on the attitude rather than product and that attitude comes from its bold founder Arthur Guinness who brewed a dark stout when everyone was brewing ale. I mean who would sign a 9000-year lease today?
Kenco, Coffee vs gangs
It’s hard for brands in a consumer empowered digital age to craft purpose into their communication in an authentic and effective way. So I always admire brands (especially FMCG brands) that manage to achieve this. Kenco’s ethical stance has long been a part of its brand however with similar messages being pushed out by competitors it eroded its ethical credentials. The Coffee vs gangs campaign revitalised the brands ethical positioning as well as making a strong ROI.
It was the height of the sitcom genre and this campaign captured it beautifully. Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins starred in the series where Rossiter played the pretentious oaf who always ended up spilling a drink over his long suffering wife Melissa. The artful praising of a product without appearing pushy or dull, marks the Cinzano campaign as proof that good dialogue, star chemistry and subtlety can be the key components for a successful campaign.
Cadbury’s, Smash Martians
A TV commercial for mashed potato featuring a group of talking robotic Martians was pure entertainment as a kid growing up in the 70s. The ads featured the creatures chortling as they heard how the "Earth people" peeled their own potatoes, "boiled them for 20 of their minutes," then "smashed them all to bits" - instead of using Smash instant mash. Viewers were not insulted at being called "a most primitive people" by the metallic creations - sales soared and the Martians received so much fan mail the agency had to prepare special literature to reply to them.
Conservative Party, 1979 general election
‘Selling politics party like soap powder’ - it heralded the arrival of US-style political advertising in Britain. And, nearly four decades later, it remains the most iconic advertising of its kind in the UK.
The ad enraged the Labour government. At the time, ministers were contemptuous of political advertising, claiming it trivialised serious issues. One was Denis Healey, who criticised the poster for duping electors by using people who were not genuinely jobless. But his attack served only to guarantee the poster massive front-page coverage – and helped propel Margaret Thatcher to power. Wonder what Dennis would make of the £350m a week to the NHS bus poster today?
Yousaf Khalid is Group MD at Everything Different and a member of the IPA Talent and Diversity group.
The IPA are celebrating their centenary this year - join in the conversation on Twitter using #AdFest100 and #IPA100. You can catch up on all the photos, videos and other content from the IPA's Festival of British advertising here, including Sir Martin Sorrell, Sir Alan Parker and a virtual tour of the Exhibition.
If you are interested in submitting your favourite five ads for our blog series, please email email@example.com.