Gee Whillickers!

Which succeeded first? The product or the ad?


Like “the chicken or the egg” proposition, one has to wonder whether Apple’s incredible iPod success began with the innovation and consumer appeal of the product itself or its brilliant advertising. Public recognition of Apple’s iPod campaign is incredible. When a brightly colored background appears with an energetic silhouette outfitted with the product reversed in white, the iPod brand registers broadly and instantly.

This ten-year campaign has grown enormously, but changed little in terms of design. It has gone from the use of solid colors to more textural multi-tonal backgrounds with silhouettes that began as solid black knockouts and which are now represented with a minor amount of tonal detail and color. Another amazing aspect is how closely some of the public and media watch to see what the next year will bring for the product and its advertising.

iPod building wrap

Gee Whillickers!

Do what I say, not what I do!

Turn back time to the 1950s. Bob Wolff was hired as the spokes-voice for the famous Madison Square Garden. He got the job because of sponsorship recommendations to the venue administration. He was pitched as a guy who could “sell anything.” Times were different then; one of the big sponsors supporting Wolff was a cigar brand.

Robt. Burns cigars

So, his first night he ad-libbed the cigar ad for their top-of-the-line cigar, the 25 cent Robert Burns Imperial. He was given his instructions about what to talk about and, when the camera turned toward him, he stared into the lens and said, “Boy, this has a wonderful fragrance and aroma. And what rich tobacco!” drawing the cigar like a harmonica under his nose.

Afterwards, the VP of the ad agency had only one suggestion, since the phones were ringing off their hooks. He suggested that the next time Wolff talked about the cigar’s aroma, he should take it out of the glass tube first.

Gee Whillickers!

Get Me a Q-Tip Quick!

Some people have strange childhood fears of grabbing hands coming out from under beds, or things emerging from toilets at the most inopportune moments. And some people get creeped out by the idea of things going in their ears. These ads are definitely not for them.

The first is a German ad for Ludwig Beck, that translates to, “Experience adventures again. With the Ludwig Beck audiobook department.” It pictures a little 18th Century man perched above someone‚Äôs earlobe, no doubt reciting some exciting tale of yester-century.

The second ad is for RCA, highlighting the realism and clarity of sound with the depiction of a string quartet playing in the hollow of an ear.

Ludwig Beck ad

Original? – 2006 – Ludwig Beck

RCA ad

2007 – RCA