Eric Schoeffler is Chief Creative Officer at DDB Germany. He has won D&AD Pencils for his work on creative campaigns for brands such as Deutsche Telekom, Volkswagen and BIC. In 2016 was a member of the D&AD Awards Press Advertising Jury.
Below Eric writes a love letter to press ads. He begins by addressing press advertising's critics, highlighting some of the most iconic press ads in history. He then pays tributes to great copywriting, and the occasions where print ads have turned around a brand's fortunes. He ends by looking at how technology can bring value to the press ad.
Hey dusty Press.
Let´s face it. The good times are over. The cool cats have long beards, wear tight blue jeans and call themselves experts in digital, mobile and integrated. Or even better; "innovation". They’re hip, they’re hot and they can be found in places like reddit.
And you? Who really still cares about you? You’re fenced in to magazines and newspapers that are fighting for their right to exist.
Well, I do.
I do care about you, because – treated in the right way – you are a true piece of commercial art. People who love The Economist ads more than they love The Economist know exactly what I´m talking about...
White letters on a red background. Sure, everyone can do that. '"I never read The Economist.“ Management Trainee, 42'. Everyone can do that? Seriously? 'Would you like to sit next to you at dinner?' Can you do that? (if yes, reach out to me, I’ve got a job for you). It needs a master to write lines that challenge your mind and open your heart at the same time. (Thanks for 'Trump Donald', btw.)
Just two words and a packshot: That´s what it took to create the most celebrated ad of the last century. 'Think small' was not just a great print ad. It was an attitude crafted in a print ad that kickstarted the success story of a brand. And it was this print campaign that built the foundation for some of the most powerful and iconic advertising campaigns over more than five decades.
You also can be so poetic. 'if you can read this the bitch fell off' or 'I never let my wife ride it. At least not until she´s 18.' Or 'I could be your grandfather. In fact I might even be your grandfather.' In this case the poetry might only translate to a few. But if you consider yourself a Harley Davidson fan, I know that these print ads hit your sweet spot.
I could go on like this, talking about print campaigns that created, shaped or changed brands like the artistic Absolut Vodka campaign, the remarkable 'Kluge Köpfe' Campaign for German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, or Harvey Nichols self-reinventing campaign about the battle for designer clothing. Did anyone just yell, Marmite? Ah yes! Another great one.
All of these are outstanding examples from an iconic advertising category. No bullshit, no scam but creativity that drives real business. And yes, we've also seen some great press ads that connected to the digital world. Take the Volkswagen example; 'first mobile test drive', where you could experience the innovation features like 'lane assist' and 'adaptive light', while moving your smartphone over the print ad. Press can be a gateway to digital and especially to mobile. But please don´t force it and don´t do it just for the sake of it.
Watch Volkswagen's First Mobile Test Drive
Dear Press, let the hipsters be hip. You are legendary in your own right. And this is how you deserve to be treated. With respect and humility. Let the others stand in today’s shining light. They still have to prove that they can last as long as you do.
I´m looking forward to seeing the future D&AD press entries. I´m looking forward to great thinking, great writing, great photographs, great illustration, great art direction. Crafted in a way to make me stop and think. Stop and smile. Stop and cry. Stop and buy.
If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.