Waiting for the digital Bernbach

Bill 2

I came across this quote from Bill Bernbach this morning.

It’s uncannily apposite for the times we live in, especially with regard to our current obsession with data driven content marketing.

“There are a lot of great technicians in advertising.

And unfortunately they talk the best game.

They know all the rules.

They can tell you that people in an ad will get you greater readership.

They can tell you that a sentence should be this short or that long.

They can tell you that body copy should be broken up for easier reading.

They can give you fact after fact after fact.

They are the scientists of advertising.

But there’s one little rub.

Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.” 

Bernbach built his agency on the philosophy that the creative execution was just as important as the message content.

Would that the same thinking was prevalent today.

What advertising needs now more than anything is a Bill Bernbach for the age of digital.

A visionary who can instigate a change in thinking as seismic as the one that Bernbach ushered in when he first opened the doors of DDB all those years ago.

A leader who’ll champion work that buries everything that’s gone before it and, like the campaigns for Avis and VW, shows us the way forward.

I hold out hope because I can’t believe we can’t do better than the work that passes for digital content today.

Dull, uninspiring, formulaic and rote, it’s entirely akin to pre-DDB era print and television.

As an industry we can do better. We have to.

So, yes, a digital Bernbach or, better yet, a digital DDB.

A DDDB, if you will.

Alex Bogusky’s “gut-plus” plan for re-vamping CP+B sounds promising. https://bit.ly/2pCbb5d

As does a recent op-ed by BBH’s Sir John Hegarty. https://bit.ly/2DXh2fE

To be sure, there’s a void to be filled and an opportunity to be taken.

Who’ll be brave enough to step up and take it?

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