British advertising

British advertising

When Daniel and I were very young junior art directors pounding Manhattan pavement armed with our absurdly large black boxes in search of our first job in advertising, all we could talk about was British ads. It was a great time, surrealism was going strong and creatives and model-makers were getting ever weirder and ever more wonderful. This was the time of we can’t tell you anything about Winston cigarettes so here’s a tart leaning on a bar and the fabulous B&H gold campaign.

I mention this because for the last week I’ve been bikeless and so have been spending time on the tube. I need to spend more time on the tube, it’s a great place to see ads (is it because you stand in front of them for ages?). Anyways, my crappy cameraphone picture doesn’t do it justice, but have you seen this 48-sheet for the Daily Telegraph?

Desspeare

It stopped me because it had the sheer beauty and lightness of touch of those earlier British ads. Not only is the pun relevant and subtle, the production quality is astonishing and I just can’t tire of looking into that etching and wondering how it was done.

Strangely, the idea itself isn’t that great and while the agency has extended the campaign to include other authors the posters don’t work. They lack the chemistry of Des Lyman and the bard himself (a strange cocktail of sexy, rude, witty, manly, curious and creative) so fall a bit flat…