But before I get there, could someone please explain to me exactly what ‘day’ everyone is referring to when they use that phrase? Anyhow, this day was when Mike and Tracy and I were cub writing and art directing our way through Ogilvy in New York, a day of 3/4 inch tapes and smoking in the office, and the tip involves three very interesting and precise letters: F. U. V.
FUV as we called it.
If you use your imagination you can figure out what those letters stand for. The first is a term I won’t use in a family friendly blog like this one, but you could translate it as “effed.” The second is for “up.” The V stands for “visual.” Put them all together and they say —
Effed Up Visual.
And with this little ‘trick,’ Tracy and Mike and me attacked ads ranging from such topics as (I kid you not): selling Mormons on buying cases of Imperial Margarine just in case the Apocalypse comes, getting folks to buy allergy medicine that’s going from prescription to OTC, selling all manner of insulating stuff for Owens-Corning although none of us, as far as I know, could even change a lightbulb. You know — ads.
And here’s how it works. Come up with a truly strange, surreal visual FIRST. Let that guide the process. Importantly, it shouldn’t just be willy nilly strange. It should be ‘on strategy.’ In fact, the mantra of our big boss Norman Berry might have freed us up to use this technique with such abandon. (I think I’ve mentioned it before in the blog, but if not, it always bears repeating, “Give me the freedom of a tight strategy!”)
Armed with that, we could come up with all manner or weird, peculiar, extreme (non-stock photo!) ideas for selling the margarine or insulation or frozen foods — and then, by just laying a kind of straight, focused copy line against said FUV have a pretty powerful piece of communication. And when I say pretty powerful, I mean — NON BORING AND YET SELLING.
Oh, and they were fun to come up with, and make, and they won awards and they also sold stuff.
So next time you’re facing the drawing board — oops, that’s another ‘back in the day’ phrase!!!* — think FUV.
* as an aside, I wish people would draw more. don’t go to the pixels too fast, stay away from the computer as long as you can — but that’s another topic. even if we don’t use drawing boards…