Hook Lines & Synchronised Sophistication

When we last spoke I raised the question of the efficacy of simplicity in writing and copywriting. Speaking from the still stuttered understanding of a student, ads have to be simple enough to be understood independently, but complex enough to be engrossing, captivating, and, at best, inspirational. But where does the line fall? What is too straightforward, too baseline to be clever? And what over-extends its wit, twists a phrase a bit too much for it to be read right?
'Roadsigns' by The King Agency

I appreciate the simplicity of this. It tells a single tale, has a definite narrative, but doesn't waste a single word in establishing premise, presenting a problem to be solved. It carries out all its ambitions in almost a single moment, and the portion of the ad actually promoting the company is the simplest part. As that's the entire idea the ad expresses, the simplicity of travelling by train, contrasting against the apparent relative complexity of car travel is both effective and immersive. This ad also bears content to be extrapolated. For example, a similar print ad where the car portion is copy containing street signs, directions, a written our route. Turn left here, merge here, u-turn here, watch for this speed bump, etc. Next to it, the train portion could have written out text from a well-known novel, presenting it as the train rider reading leisurely while being whisked to their destination.

'Chaos' by Oglivy & Mather
 This ad takes succinctity to a new and intriguing level. It's the epitome of simple. However, it's so simple that it takes a moment of focused consideration to understand it. It was a few seconds before I realized the fourth paper clip was reversed. I respect that I was forced to spend longer on this one before I could tender an opinion of it. If that was the intention, it worked on me impressively. However, a potential flaw I see in this ad is that the cleverness of the idea's manifestation overshadows to some degree the idea itself. I'm more interested in the subtlety of the paperclip placement than in the idea that the last paperclip being reversed is chaotic by that bank's standards.

That issue has certainly appeared before...

'Lemon' by Doyle Dane Bernbach
 It's all about balance I guess. Finding the perfect position for the fulcrum, establishing equilibrium. Subtle complication that's simply clever. A feat, to be sure.

As an aside, this tune sets the aortic organ aflame.


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