February 12, 2014Make it memorable

Continuing my recent series of blog posts about stuff I’ve seen on the Tube on the way home, this card caught my eye. Several times:


It’s great copy — a beautifully poetic way to state the product’s awesome USP. Yes! This is exactly what you’re looking for when booking flights, hotels etc… something that will find you that elusive bargain that makes your journey affordable.

Then I got to thinking… why did this ad catch my eye several times? Because no matter how hard I tried, I could never actually remember the product’s name.

It’s Skyscanner.

Now this is partly a design problem. The logo should be bigger, bolder. Arguably the name of the product itself should be better. But despite a lovely headline, this is a bad ad because it doesn’t make you remember the name of the product.

I recently loaned my art director my copy of George Lois’s Damn Good Advice For People With Talent and I have to confess I agree with him, some of it feels a little dated. But it’s also easy for us to forget just how successful these old school ad guys were.

George Lois, you may recall, is the man who invented the slogan “I want my MTV!”, more or less ensuring the channel’s place in the history books. A perfect strapline that not only makes you demand the product, but remember the name.

I’d also point to two of Dave Trott’s classic ads, “‘ello Tosh gotta Toshiba” and “On and on at Ariston” as being two brilliant examples of ads that just won’t let you forget about the brand.

My point?

No matter how well written, no matter how beautifully designed,

no copy, no ad, is successful unless it makes you remember the product.

Arguably, it’s just as important to make you want to buy it. Sell! Sell! made the excellent point this week  that while we’re all going crazy for the Lego Movie ad on Twitter, that doesn’t make us want to watch the movie.

Are old fashioned earworms like “I want my MTV!” and “On and on at Ariston” hackneyed old cliches? I don’t  think so at all. They’re tried and true. They come from a bygone era of advertising — one that was about selling products first and creating beautiful work second.

Make it memorable. Make it sell.

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