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Issue Date: October 2004

How not to write an ad

October 2004

The South African ad industry has fallen behind a lot of other industries, in the opinion of Loerie judge Tony Davidson, creative director Wieden+Kennedy UK.

He said in judging Loeries 2004 this year, "some of it felt very familiar and one got the impression that people had been looking through awards annuals to see what would win".
"We have become lazy, with our formula briefs and formula ads... I ignore most of the media specified in the brief. The client has a business problem and we need to fix it. Clients are lazy too - they think advertising will solve their problems."
Davidson said creatives need to do things differently, such as BMW which got top directors globally to make film shorts with the product, or Red Bull which put thousands of empty, used Red Bull cans in dustbins around a UK venue, creating a demand.
"As marketing directors, you should go to an ad agency and ask them to come up with ideas for your packaging or your building. Creatives are ideas people and an untapped resource. We are stuck in a box.
"It is our fault too - we are just chasing awards and just doing ads - we need to really understand our clients' business and what their problems are. Make no mistake, I love TV, radio, press, posters and some of the time that is exactly what you should be doing, but sometimes we need to explore other areas."
To inspire him and to "stop me writing ads", Davidson collects stuff. "The greatest invention is the digital camera as it allows you to capture stuff all over the place. Be observant. I keep scrap books - for ideas, layout, typography, photography, houses, etc. I stick in everything."
In a campaign for Honda, he banned all advertising and came up with a The Power of Dreams campaign, which differed vastly from traditional car advertising.
"Sometimes you need to think back to front - out of the box," he concluded.

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