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John Webster is responsible for many of the world’s most famous tv adverts.

It’s easy to think that to remain relevant in advertising, you have to showcase the latest products or use the flashiest techniques to tell your story. But, almost 15 years after his death, John Webster remains one of the most respected individuals in the advertising industry. 

Many of his ideas, including the Honey Monster, the Smash Martians, and Gary Lineker’s iconic adverts with Walkers crisps, remain a part of popular culture today. 

During an event hosted by ITV and APG called Eat Your Greens! The Power of Emotion, Creativity and Cabbage, brand consultant and thought leader Paul Feldwick looked back on his years working with John at BMP (Boase Massimi Pollitt). Read on for his three key learnings from the advertising great. 

Keep the conversation open (and the clay wet)

 

  • Talk to anyone and everyone – you want your ideas to reflect the world in which we live in 

  • Don’t see sharing ideas as threatening – it’s the best way to allow them to grow and develop 

  • Build a strong relationship with your client – don’t see one person as the gatekeeper to ideas 

Make tv adverts that are popular, famous, and fun 

 

  • Use uniquely distinctive and memorable visual and auditory assets – you want your advert to be remembered

  • You want to be liked – you’re inviting yourself into people’s living rooms, don’t insult them. If you entertain them, they might like you and be more inclined to buy your brand

  • Remember who you are making adverts for – you want your advert to be talked about across the country rather than simply win awards 

Craft is more important than ideas 

 

  • It doesn’t matter where ideas come from – they could be sparked by other people, from music, or by overhearing a conversation 

  • The idea is only the starting point – how that idea is brought to life is key 

  • John didn’t have better ideas than anyone else – he made much better ads 

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