• Rob Butterfield


A quick look at the ads that defined an era…

Whatever happened to great advertising? I ended up working in the industry for over 20 years and became a little disillusioned at just how 'safe' things got, in both print and on TV. I guess it has a lot to do with the society we live in. The evolution of the 'digital consumer' has changed the way advertising works for ever and there's so much clever stuff going on behind the scenes. Don't get me wrong, there are still some great and memorable productions out there and some very clever advertising people in the industry. However, I've lost count of the ads I've seen in recent years that I remember for the humour or the great production qualities but fail to recall the product being advertised. A rookie mistake in my book!

I kind of switch off to TV advertising these days preferring to watch my TV on 'catch-up' so I can skip the ads. Maybe I'm just a sucker for nostalgia but I could happily watch an hour-long showreel of 70's advertising and feel thoroughly entertained and informed.

The Cadbury's Smash robots featured above... a classic example. Without prompting I can recall quotes from the script:

"They peel them with their metal knives. Then they smash them all to bits!"

Genius, for me at least. It's a shame that the product didn't have the longevity of the ad campaign memories. And perhaps that's what we're remembering with such fondness - the products of yesteryear that have since been consigned to box 13. Or maybe not, I don't know. Maybe we had less distractions and the things that stimulated our minds then wouldn't work in today's complex society. What I do know for sure is that an hour spent on YouTube searching for 'classic 1970's advertising' is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Try it yourself one day. I promise you'll find it fun.

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