The greatest endline ever written

As a young copywriting nut I’d pore for hours over D&AD and One Show annuals, squinting to read the body copy on some obscure press ad from 1979, being blown away by poster headlines from 1982. I immersed myself in the work of Ed McCabe, learned David Abbott ads by heart, aspired to be the next Neil French. The Copy Book, when it came out in 1995, quickly became my bible.

One of my first bosses, the legendary Siimon Reynolds, had an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising history and would test us junior creatives. “Barbara Nokes’ 1980 Silver Pencil-winning VW ad?” “You’re in this cell for your own protection.””Who claims all Timberland shoes are based on Red Indian moccasins?” “Tim Delaney.”

But despite diving into this ocean of sublime copy, the greatest (and toughest) lesson I learnt back then was economy. Tim Riley told a story about how he’d written a brilliant Nike ad. He’d been reading a piece about Michael Jordan in an old American Esquire and came across a bit that described Jordan’s game as “an ongoing dialectic with Isaac Newton”. He’d boiled it down to Michael Jordan 1 Isaac Newton 0. I marveled at the way Riley had edited the thought down, how so much meaning could be packed into so few words. The more experience I gained, the more I saw that the job is to squeeze the maximum inspiration/pathos/humour/excitement/intrigue/persuasion into the minimum words. That way lies powerful communication. Hence Just Do It. Labour isn’t working. E=iq2. Impossible is nothing. Think small.

Which is why I think the endline in the ad above is one of the greatest ever written. Just the product name and three short words. But a line so tonally right for the brand, so laugh-out-loud funny, so brilliantly economical and so perfect for the ad that precedes it that it’s as close to genius as advertising gets.

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About antmelder
Creative Partner at DDB Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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