Thirty Things I Didn't Know about Adland until Last Week

futurelab default header

by: Iqbal Mohammed

I just finished reading ‘AdLand’ – a breezy history of the advertising business written by journalist and author Mark Tungate.

I made a note of some of the interesting things I discovered about the advertising industry through the book – to share it here. Enjoy!

1. Convinced of his own power to make the brand a success, the advertising legend Claude Hopkins bought a stake in Pepsodent – and made a fortune when it took off.

2. J. Walter Thomson – the man, not the agency – was known as ‘The Commodore’.

3. Madison Avenue is the only major NY street named after a president of the US. (It is named for James Madison, the fourth president of the United States.)

4. Before founding his own agency at the age of 38, David Ogilvy tried his hand at the rural life – buying an Amish farm in Pennsylvania and attempting to cultivate tobacco. He was unsuccessful.

5. A BBDO ad for Pierce Arrow cars carried more or less the same slogan as the famous "At 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in this new…" – about 25 years before Ogilvy used it.

6. McCann Erickson was formed in 1911 after Standard Oil broke itself up at the behest of the government – effectively H.K.McCann, as the agency was known then, was the spun-off advertising department of Standard Oil.

7. Bill Bernbach often joked that he had no middle name because his parents couldn’t afford one.

8. An oft-repeated joke about Bill Bernbach (and his outsized ego) has a colleague commenting on the day’s beautiful weather. "Thank you", says Bernbach.

9. Maxwell Dane (of Doyle Dane Bernbach fame) introduced the innovative concept of news bulletins every hour on the hour – during his stint at the WMCA radio station.

10. There were no commas in the name ‘Doyle Dane Bernbach’ – a departure from the norm at that time. "Nothing will ever come between us," Bernbach explained. "Not even punctuation."

11. Before George Lois changed the practice at DDB, art directors weren’t allowed to talk to clients.

12. In 1962, Papert Koenig Lois (started by Fred Papert, Julian Koenig and George Lois) became the first agency to go public.

13. Agency staffers would measure Leo Burnett’s opinion of the ads they showed him by the LPI – or the ‘Lip Protrusion Index.’ The more Leo’s jutting lower lip stuck out, the bigger trouble they were in.

14. It was John Crawford – a copywriter at Leo Burnett – who first said "When you reach for the stars you may may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either." Leo Burnett wrote it down and used it from then on.

15. The first ‘Marlboro Man’ ad carried the headline ‘The Sheriff.’

16. Although Stanley Pollitt and Stephen King are considered the fathers of planning, a third man – Tony Stead from JWT – conceived the name ‘account planning’ in a brainstorming session in 1968.

17. Stanley Pollitt – the father of planning – referred to the planner as the ‘account man’s conscience.’

18. David Abbott failed the first copy test he took at Mather & Crowther. He begged them to let him take it again – and passed the second time.

19. In 1982, Chiat Day became the first US agency to introduce the practice of account planning.

20. Contrary to popular myth, the Apple 1984 commercial ran more than once – it ran for at least a week, in the form of a teaser campaign in smaller markets and a 30-second version in selected cinemas.

21. ‘Publicis’ gets its name from the contraction of ‘publicité’ (french for advertising) and the French pronounciation of the number six – because 1926 was the year in which its founder, Marcel Bleustein, conceived the project.

22. Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet opened a Publicis Drugstore on the ground floor of his agency – to ensure that the Publicis brand name became as well known as those of its clients.

23. Andy Warhol who designed an ad for Absolut Vodka, didn’t drink the stuff but occasionally liked to dab it on as cologne.

24. St.Luke’s is named after the patron saint of artists.

25. The advertising industry’s first hostile takeover was WPP’s acquisition of JWT in 1987.

26. The BMW tagline ‘the ultimate driving machine’ was conceived by Martin Puris (of Ammirati Puris Lintas fame)

27. Multicoloured columns on Dentsu’s website track the Dentsu Tokyo office’s elevators in real time.

28. The name Dentsu is a shortening of Nippon Denpo-Tsushin Sha, an agency formed in 1907 by the merger of Telegraph Service Co. and Japan Advertising.

29. In Brazil, television commercials for Bombril household cleaner (featuring comedian Carlos Moreno) were so popular that at one point their schedule appeared in TV listings.

30. In the beginning, The Cannes Advertising Festival was alternated between Cannes and Venice. It is this Venice link that led to the adoption of the lion as the name and the form of the award – a winged lion is the symbol of the Venice’s patron saint, St.Mark.

[Image of trading card, advertising Clark’s O.N.T. spool cotton from the U.S. Library of Congress via trialsanderrors]

Original Post: