Today, I was in a long strategy meeting at The Phelps Group and was eager to get out before my brain melted when one of our talented art directors, Armand Kerechuk, said, “No, no, don’t go, I’ve got to show you something!”
And with that, he whipped out his iPhone and showed me some pics he had taken yesterday at a VW dealership.
There, on the walls and windows of their showroom, was the original and amazing VW Bug campaign that I had apprenticed on my first year in advertising.
You could see one clever ad after another in big poster form. And they looked as smart and fresh today as they did then. Would you believe many of those ads are 50 years old?!
In 1965, as a young copy trainee, I had the good fortune to be assigned to the VW Bug campaign that set the standard for creativity. To help me develop “an ear” for the brand, my supervisor handed me a big fat book of ad slicks containing page after page of inspiration.
I studied the brand voice (smart, self-deprecating); the style and cadence of the copy (every sentence was a paragraph); the little sentence connectors (“after all”, “but then”, “of course”); the ironic headlines that complemented, but never duplicated; the photos; and the clever last lines that always left you with a warm feeling about the brand.
Doyle Dane Bernbach was my advertising university. For anyone reading this who wants to get into the business–or just get ahead in it–I strongly recommend that you pursue a job at a truly integrated creative agency where you can get a 360 degree education from mentors who are passionate about the work.
Abandon a bigger job if you have to. Give up a higher salary or a fancy title. Put in the time and learn the difference between good and great. If you love being creative, this business can provide you with a lifetime of rich memories and fun stories.
It has for me.
Howie Cohen | Chief Creative Officer
This post originally appeared on Mad Mensch.