This year the IPA celebrates its Centenary and during the 100 years since it swung open its doors there’s been a mind-boggling amount of ads created. But we believe that it’s possible to catalogue all of these ideas into 10 simple themes, as our Chief Strategy Officer, Matt Willifer, explains in this series of blogs.

First up, Name Fame.



Ideas that aim to put brands at the front of our minds and on the tip of our tongues

According to Ehrenberg, the main thing is for advertising to be salient. Never mind what it says; the main task is for it to readily spring to mind when needed; in the words of Byron Sharp to be mentally available.

The first type of idea in this series offers the most obvious, but often the most powerful, way that advertising can create a salient brand: by hammering the name into people’s minds with the creative equivalent of a sledgehammer. This might be via a visual cue, in the case of Silk Cut, a bit of brand iconography, in the case of the Jolly Green Giant or even a jingle as Shake n’ Vac so famously did in its 1970s campaign by Benton and Bowles – a branded jingle that still rings in my head some 35 years later! After a quick summary of product wonderfulness, a previously stationary housewife springs into action as she “does the shake n’ vac and puts the freshness back”.

Another famous example involved us embedding a number into British brains. Our iconic 118 118 runners campaign helped ‘118 118’ spring to mind more readily than the other 40 directory numbers that launched at the same time, and resulted in the service becoming market leader at launch.

For almost 50 years, the people of Britain had just one directory enquiries number to remember (192) and with 60 million calls being made to 192 every year, implanting a new number wasn’t going to be easy. What made life even harder was that 40 other new entrants were lined up against us, all hoping their number would be the one to replace 192 in the national consciousness.

In every other market in the world where directory enquiries had been deregulated, the incumbent held on to market leadership after deregulation. So our client, the US business INFONXX, challenged us to take second place behind BT with a stretch goal of 20% of the market. In fact, the 118 118 runners smashed BT aside to become market leader with over 60% of the market at launch. The Name Fame idea we created used a number of memetic techniques, enabling it to enter brains faster than competitive advertising, with even the runner’s outfits being created in a style that would be easy to copy for fancy dress…

Here’s the most iconic ad from the campaign, the uplifting ‘Rocky’:

Tune in tomorrow for theme #2, ‘Expressing Personality.’

(Or if you really can’t wait… The Drum have already released the full 10 here).


Matt Willifer

About Matt Willifer

Chief Strategy Officer at WCRS and Partner at Engine.

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