Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Levy's Rye and why digital must revive the art (and craft) of great "grab-ya" headline writing

Where are today’s great ad headlines?  Rarely do we see punchy, clever, few-word "grab-ya' wonders like those created by the real Mad Men (and women) of the 1960’s – 70’s. One of the all-time classic print ad campaigns was for Levy’s Rye Bread, the work of ad legend Bill Bernbach.  Bernbach had equal admiration for art and word, and back in the mid-60's he was one of the first to assign copywriters and art directors in teams. Previously, art and copy worked in different departments!

The Levy’s campaign, "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's," is a fantastic example of instant “I get it, I love it” communication. The ad series ran in magazines and newspapers and also as eye-popping transit posters so iconic and beloved that you can buy reproductions today on Amazon

The immediacy of the Levy’s copy makes it a great model for anyone working in digital communications. The world is infinitely faster and more distracted than it was in Bill Bernbach’s heyday, but three fundamentals for effective selling and storytelling still stand: Simplicity; Clarity; Creativity.  

Nowadays it's too easy to lose the message amid digital's bells and whistles. Mr. Bernbach never let execution interfere with his marketing mission and nor should we. Indeed, Bill's philosophy is incredibly timely, "If your advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is academic!" 

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