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.

Themes covered so far have been ‘Name Fame’, ‘Expressing Personality’, ‘Getting Emotional’, ‘Remaining Rational’, ‘Call to Action’ and ‘Reframing the Debate’. Next up, ‘Going After the Enemy’…



Ideas that audaciously position the brand by depositioning its competitors

These are challenger brand ideas. Not just in the sense of taking a different market position to the competitor, but in terms of making the fight public.

Avis ingeniously made a virtue of being no.2 in the market by claiming “we try harder”. The American Net 10 campaign uses humour to claim the competition is “more evil than evil” (quite a claim!). Below is the 1970s ad for Smash, which is the UK’s most popular ever advertising idea. And, peeling back the charm and humour, is not just saying potatoes are stupid, but that the people who eat them are too.

We famously did this with our ‘It’s a lot less bovver than a hover’ ad for Qualcast Concorde lawnmovers, which led to what The Sun newspaper dubbed “the Great Lawnmower War” of 1983 after Qualcast’s rivals, Flymo (makers of the hover mowers), complained.

It got Flymo’s feathers so ruffled that their workers even took their concerns to the House of Commons, as the below article from The Sun explains:


Tune in tomorrow for theme #8, ‘Company Belief’…


Matt Willifer

About Matt Willifer

Chief Strategy Officer at WCRS and Partner at Engine.

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