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Is that Bill Bernbach I hear spinning in his grave?

As a rookie copywriter, I was brought up on classic Doyle Dane Bernbach ads, such as the famous “Lemon” press ad for Volkswagen.   Of course, DDB was built just as much on brilliant strategic thinking as creative excellence, and never more so than when the agency developed the “we’re number 2, we try harder” strategy for Avis which went into marketing folklore. 

So imagine my surprise to read this quote from Udi Manber, Google’s Head of Search, in The Times yesterday (04.01.11): “When you’re ahead you don’t look behind – you try to run faster.”  Now, who says the Americans don’t do irony?

Google may be the world’s favourite search engine but it’s also well aware it’s not the only game in town, and if it wants to stay ahead it has to continue to offer the best, i.e. most efficient, search experience. 

One way Google Adwords ads can be made more relevant to searches is to get them written by professional copywriters. Who knows’ this may also make them more engaging as well, especially if they can be written to reflect brand values.

No one knew better than Bill Bernbach the value of a well chosen word, as “Lemon” so famously proved.  He may not have thanked Google for trumping his agency’s Avis strategy, but I think in Google Adwords he would have recognized a medium with the potential for his unique brand of creative development.