Thursday, April 10, 2008

I prefer to think of myself as a "stranger enthusiast."

(click ads to read copy)
Return with me, if you will, to the salad days of 1970s/80s creative print advertising. Before this stupid Internet gummed things up. To the days of long copy ads that told a story, and the product benefits were cleverly weaved into the story. That's the approach taken here and now in 2008 by South African agency Ireland/Davenport to sell Barska binoculars. The stories? Stalker stories (here's a 3rd ad in the campaign). The tagline: Putting the king back in stalking. When ad "creatives" talk about advertising being fun, this is what they're talking about it; but rare is the opportunity where you get a client willing to do this kind of stuff (it's happened to me maybe five times). Kudos to Barska. Will these sell product (to non-stalkers, I mean)? Ah. That's always the million dollar question. Fuck if I know. I hope so. What do you think? previously in ads I liked that may or may not have worked: Energizer batteries; Snickers Halloween ad; Old Spice TV spots; Holiday Inn TV spots; Iggy Pop for John Varvatos; Skittles "Touch" spot; Are You A Douchebag?; American Psycho ad; and Calgary hemp store ad.


Blogger rev joe said...

yes! this is what advertising, and the douches that execute the stuff, is purportedly about. it's really just a tiny fraction of a percent that ends up this well done.

the message is clear, the design is simple, the reader feels smart for 'getting' it and it's funny.

nowadays there'd have to be room for a 'call to action,' a url promotion, legal disclaimer, 'added value burst,' etc.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos, indeed. I can think of once or maybe twice that I've had this kind of creative license with clients.

These ads are a copywriter's dream: No concern for product specs or bullshit marketing-speak. Just the freedom to tell a story you create. A really funny story, too.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

made me laugh and I looked up the company online too.

12:43 PM  
Blogger sheepless said...

amazing. thats all.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These will be on in 3-2-1...

1:32 PM  
Blogger spencer said...

I got to do maybe one fun ad during my 8-year copywriting career. And it wasn't as fun as these.

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will we see your "ads are fun" ads, or is it off limits?

2:23 PM  
Blogger Lunar BBDO said...

I've put these beauties up on my blog and linked back to you. Thanks.

By the way, I also learned that in America the passive of weave is 'weaved', not 'woven' like it is in the UK.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clients get the advertising they deserve. This client obviously understands risk and reward.

Will it work? Who knows?

But at least they tried.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

try writing copy for lozenges that treat thrush... or the newest treatment for cancer that adds a whopping 2 weeks to someone's life. No room for fun there, trust me.

3:32 PM  
Blogger dubsak said...

These are the funniest things I have seen in weeks. I'm going to bookmark these in my Lucy-Library.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The photography is also amazing. Creepy hyperrealism.

5:40 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

lunar: is optional; weaved, woven, or wove.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How old are these? SD cards weren't around in the 80s. (see the guy's add).

4:11 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

read the post: they're current ads (thus the "2008") done in vintage style.

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gotcha. thnx.

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very funny, but I wonder if this would/fly in the US market and perhaps elsewhere. Imagine the grist for a lawsuit this might provide if a real stalker were to use these binoculars and then go on to murder or assault his stalking victim. Ouch!

11:39 PM  
Blogger Craig McNamara said...

It used to be that everyone was aping the style of humor of "Late Night With David Letterman" -- now it seems everyone is a wannabe writer for "The Onion." (See my post on that here:

More daily advertising commentary at

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Tony G said...

Wow. An ad. An ad with words! Incredible. No designers getting in the way. No "Cut this down. It won't fit in the 1"-by-1" box I've alloted for copy." No ugly Facebook and Twitter icons. Not one URL to be found.

My god. There's hope for copywriters yet.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Paul O'B said...

Leaving aside the negative comments that others have posted regarding whether a voyeur or stalker is a 'good thing' - I'm still left with one major question:

What on earth is a 'stal'? If you put the 'king' back into 'stalking', it implies that people have been using the word.

Ever come across the word? Ever heard people walking (or should that be 'wal') around saying 'I'm going to go to Kenya for a break - I feel like stal an elephant.'

Thought not. IMHO, whatever else the ad has to offer, and I don't go for it myself, it's the kind of lazy, half-as*ed line that my old CDs would have murdered me for writing. Unless I've missed something.

11:57 AM  

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