Sometimes it’s clever not to be clever

I love the John Lewis press ads. They’re a perfect demonstration of my mantra that ‘what you say is always more important than how you say it’.

They simply state the offer, in ordinary, everyday words. They show a beautiful photo of the product concerned and rely on elegant typography and a standard layout format to carry the John Lewis brand message.

They don’t try and do a clever headline to impress their mates or try and win awards. If the proposition is ‘Get three years’ free guarantee on all Apple Macs if you buy before June 31′, that’s what the headline says.

I’m sure many advertising creatives would consider these ads ‘uncreative’ for being so straight forward. And many clients think that they’re not getting their money’s worth from their agency unless each ad has a pun and ‘an idea’.

They’re both wrong.

The creators (and brave client) responsible for these ads know that, as with editorial, it’s the content of your message that counts, not the typeface it’s written in. And that’s what makes these ads miles cleverer than the rest of the dross that passes for advertising these days.


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