Thank you, thank you, Chas Bayfield, Mark Fairbanks and others. You turned my lonely lockdown into a joy.
You kindly posted some of the most memorable and effective ads of past times. The Guardian. PlayStation. Blackcurrant Tango. UPS. Hamlet. John West. BT. 27 years ago, they inspired me to get into this filthy game. Now, seeing them again reminds me it was all worthwhile.
They also reminded me of another David Ogilvy quote. Sorry to mention him so often. It’s just that he was so often right.
It’s this. When people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good advertising. David Ogilvy had fun. He cracked jokes and threw profiteroles in meetings. And it showed. Everyone who wrote these gems clearly had lots and lots of fun. It shows.
Never mind budgets or big shoots. Just ideas, and places where they could thrive. Where the rest of the world didn’t give a sod, so the mind could wander anywhere.
A bit like an elephant in the wild. Free of onlookers and other pests. it charges about, kicks up the dust, pulls up trees, makes as much noise at it likes and screws any other elephant it takes a fancy to. It takes its pick. Revels in the joys of freedom.
In a zoo, under expectant gazes, it sits on its arse.
I know times are hard. Horrible, even. I know things are tight, and I know we’re fighting. But stop for five minutes and look at it this way. Like it or not, we’re all working from home. Our natural habitat. Free of predatory behaviour from HR. Free from the politesse of open plan. Free from protocols, political pests, awkward silences, other egos and the grating rattle of jargon.
So, we’re free to be ourselves. And with freedom comes more than a modicum of fun.
If we feel like it, we can write in our pyjamas. By candlelight. With cats on shoulders. Or parrots. Or stains. Smoking. Eating salted cashews. On the bog. In our birthday suits, our bits dangling wherever. With a teddy as a secretary. In bin-bags covered in ice-cream, cold spaghetti and olive oil. Stinky or preened and perfumed. In a bathing suit and a tiara. In bubble baths with purple lights and non-stop John Lennon. Or Beethoven. Or Baa Baa Black Sheep. Or something at least one boring fart in the office would tell you to turn the hell off.
Whatever turns us on, chills us, casts off whatever’s kept brilliance back-of-mind and lets it spill out all over the carpet.
Or if you like, the stuff that the creators of some of my favourite ads could, once upon a time, probably do at work.
Look, HR aren’t about. Nobody’s watching. Nobody’s stopping you.
We’re so bloody lucky. Think of the bin men, the nurses, the ambulance drivers and street sweepers. They can’t have fun at home all day. But every day they’re brilliant and save humanity.
The least we can do is make the most of our natural habitats, be our natural selves and do our bit to save advertising.
By the way, I’m writing this in my underpants with peanut butter on my right nipple.
Thanks again, Chas and Mark.