If you’re in the business of creating advertising, you’ve probably heard that question before.
Sometimes it comes from prospective employers, sometimes it’s from friends, and other times it’s from strangers who have recently discovered what you do for a living.
The thing is, it’s rare to have produced an ad where you wouldn’t change at least one thing if given the opportunity. Ads are full of compromises – it might be the size of the logo, or a word you were forced to use in the headline, or even the way the client’s legal team asked you to phrase an offer.
I’m sure even many of the ads that we often hold up as the best, would have parts changed by their makers if permitted.
I wondered if anyone had ever produced a piece of work they were 100% happy with. So I asked.
Years ago, I was in Cannes for the advertising festival with my CD at the time, Warren Brown. It was very late (well, early actually) – the sun was already up, and we were making our way from The Gutter Bar on La Croisette to our hotel. It had been a big night (so I’m pretty surprised I remember this conversation). I asked Warren if he had ever produced an ad where he wouldn’t change a thing. Here was a guy that had been at the top of his game for 3o years, so I held hope that there was at least one ad that he’d produced exactly the way he wanted it. There was.
It was a poster campaign for Swan Vestas matches. He said even if he had the chance to do it again, there’s not one thing he’d change.
(Excuse the low-res copy I’ve posted here. The line reads, ‘Britain’s favourite old flame’)
As for me, my favourite ad is probably one I did for XXXX beer. It’s not one that received lots of advertising awards. In fact, it didn’t win any. It was a 60-second commercial that predominantly used library footage. And it only aired in one state of Australia during the 2011 State of Origin rugby league series. But I did receive letters from Queenslanders saying how proud it made them feel and thanking me for making it.
What about you? Which of your own ads is your favourite?