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Simple ideas

The best of the world’s have always had simplest of the simple ideas. Very simple yet compelling is what rules in global advertising. Ad man Deepak Joshi elaborates.

A safety pin, carefully reshaped to make the outline of a car. That was the only visual in a stark Japanese ad that had just three words of copy – The safest car. The ad was for Volvo and it won heaps of international awards ten or so years ago.

Another Cannes gold-winning ad carried just the picture of a broken matchstick with a line below saying - Karate School for beginners.

A One Show-winning ad featured a big blurb that instead of saying ‘New’, like a lot of ads do, said ‘Old’. It was an ad for an antique store.

An ad for FedEx showed an open FedEx courier box, inside which was another box on whose sides you could just about make out the DHL logo. There was no line, no copy. It was beautiful because without using a single word, it said FedEx is so reliable, even the competition uses it. The ad won a bronze pencil at One Show.

An ad for The Samaritans, a helpline for the suicidal, showed a close up of an ear. A line below said ‘Open 24 hours’.

A TV ad showed a lady flipping through the papers. She has hiccups. She stops to stare at one page. Her hiccups disappear. The camera then shows us that she was reading an ad that says, ‘Surprisingly ordinary prices. Volkswagen. Only £ 8175.’

An ad for Club 18-30 (a brand that sells raunchy holidays) simply carried two words: Roger More.

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.


*Views Expressed here are personal. The writer can be reached at

**Deepak Joshi Strayed into advertising after briefly pursuing the following professions - beach bum, painter, waiter, hawker, transport company clerk, mechanic, tutor... He has had stints in Contract, McCann, Saatchis, Euro RSCG and Madison. He recently left O&M Bangalore as Senior Creative Director. His ads have been lucky enough to win many local awards and a few international ones.

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