Forgotten gems from 100 years of British advertising (2)

It’s the IPA’s 100th birthday this week (which you may have noticed here – they should be paying us for this) so we’re digging out a few ads that, if not actually forgotten, are worth remembering.

Back in the day Alan Parker (below with producer Alan Marshall) toiled in creative department at CDP and, at lunchtime, repaired to the basement to practice his film skills (when most of his colleagues had repaired to a Greek restaurant on Charlotte Street).

He was particularly good at directing kids (“never work with children or animals…”) as in this campaign featuring ‘Ben’ for Bird’s Eye beefburgers (famous in its day).

Parker later said that this skill got him his big break in features, Bugsy Malone which starred more children than you could shake a stick at.

Football has become such a bore these days now that it’s a business – wall to wall betting ads and the like.

This one, for Nike from Simons Palmer, caught the spirit of the game through Britpop with Blur and Phil Daniels.

We shouldn’t forget print of course. The great CDP was a print agency in its early days, making its name with striking pages in the then new Sunday Times magazine, the first so-called colour supplement.

This Olympus ad’s from a bit later, when Tony Benn and Denis Healey (a keen photographer) were rivals for the Labour Party deputy leadership (these days would anyone care?)

In print CDP is perhaps most famous for its surreal campaign for Benson & Hedges, a cunning wheeze from Alan Waldie and others to evade the restrictions on tobacco ads by barely showing and certainly not saying anything about the product. Such artful minimalism is supposedly a lost art.

Actually it isn’t as this rather fine contemporary specimen from Wieden+Kennedy shows.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.