A few words of encouragement for the last people who need them.

Between Da Vinci and Burnett, or Sawyer and McElligott, you know precisely which Leo or Tom we’re referring to. So, if you’re reading this, we assume you’re pretty much well on your way to mastering the art of wrangling words to woo the masses. Or as we say – a whimsical dance of creativity and strategy that separates the war horses from the mere donkeys in the advertising realm. The reason why you’ll keep on reading this is because we’ve compiled a few itty-bitty pieces of wisdom from the old boys.

 Remember those Hush Puppy ads with a basset hound looking soulfully at you? That’s the work of Tom McElligott. No, he wasn’t one of the ‘Mad Men’. He was better. As one of the driving forces behind Fallon McElligott Rice (now just Fallon), he was the reason the agency became a regular on The One Show Awards.

Starting with Bob Mankoff, he hit the nail on the funny bone when he said “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.” Humor is a secret weapon, a potent elixir that grabs attention and tickles the funny bones of the masses. So, embrace the absurd, unleash the puns, and let laughter be your guiding muse.

Going on to the legendary Dave Trott. Sure, he knew the magic of creativity when he whispered “Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.” It’s like a sneaky ninja, giving you that extra edge to leapfrog over your competitors. So, channel your inner Picasso, your inner mad scientist, and concoct ingenious campaigns that leave your rivals scratching their heads.

Whereas Bill Bernbach, that bold genius, taught us that in advertising, not being different is virtually suicidal. To stand out, you’ve got to strut your stuff in a way that leaves others wondering if you’ve been taking dancing lessons from flamingos. Embrace the weird, the wonderful, and the whimsical. Dare to be different, and the world will be at your feet.

Though in the wise words of Bob Dylan: the creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there are ongoing creative revelations. True, the creative journey is a wild ride, like a rollercoaster with unexpected twists and turns. Embrace the eureka moments, the sudden bursts of inspiration, and those lightbulb moments that make you feel like Edison on a sugar high.

You’ve heard this one before – the best advertising isn’t advertising, the profound words of wisdom from Johnathan Mildenhall. Yep, nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to. People want to be entertained, inspired, and intrigued. So, let your copy weave a tale that lures them in, leaving them eagerly turning the pages of your advertising masterpiece.

Howard Luck Gossage was one of the greats who struck gold when he hit us with an inspired “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” An ingenious insight as people are drawn to what captivates their hearts and piques their curiosity. So, sprinkle your copy with the spice of life, the sizzle of interest, and watch as they flock to your words like bees to honey.

Not all of us are legendary stand-up comics like Robin Williams, but like Lee Clow said, we should not be afraid to be clever, quirky, and funny. It’s the seasoning that adds that extra zing to your copy. So, fearlessly go where angels fear to tread but where the devils of mischief and mayhem are welcome – a realm of wicked humour. Mistakes are not for the faint-hearted – be brave and your audience will groove to the beat of your wit.

To temper the funny bone, grand ol’ William Butler Yeats gave us the sage advice of how we should think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. It is a delicate balance, my friend. Let your copy resonate with the masses, whispering sweet nothings that ignite their desires.

Dan Salva cracked the marketing code with his insights of how people don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves. Consumers seek transformation, an upgrade to their lives. So, weave tales that paint a vivid picture of the better, bolder, and more brilliant version of themselves that awaits them with your product in hand.

When it came to the holy commandments of copywriting, Burnett gave us 4. Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read. Let your words dance on the page, grabbing attention with grace and enchanting readers with every syllable. And here you thought we wouldn’t include Leo.

Jef I. Richards coined FOMO. No, really, he did, with his timeless wisdom of how the best advertising makes you nervous because it dares you to buy the product for fear of missing out on something important. Your copy should tease, tantalize, and tempt readers to take the leap. Stoke their curiosity, whisper secrets in their ears, and watch as they eagerly join your adventure.

Bill Bernbach pulled no punches when he said “An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.” Ideas are ethereal creatures, waiting to be molded by talented hands. Let your skills and imagination shape those ideas into something magnificent, something that sparkles with magic and leaves the world in awe. In other words, don’t be basic. Be brave.

So, fellow word-wranglers, let your creativity run wild like a herd of caffeinated war horses, sprinkle your copy with the sparkles of humor, and watch as your audience succumbs to the irresistible allure of your irresistibly witty, clever, and wise words. Go forth, you linguistic marvels, and may your copy reign supreme in the kingdom of persuasion. And in the words of Tom McElligott: Don’t be distracted by anything. The work is what counts. Amen.

PS: Google the headline. There’s a reason why we shamelessly used it.

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