When Advertising Was Just Plain, Simple And Effective!

Simple and Effective Print Ads


There was a time I quite distinctly remember, when the advertising we saw was plain and simple. Uncomplicated messages with just one central theme and the brand attributes built around this..


Functionality of the brand was top priority and nothing mattered as much. One salient feature that is clear and hammered.

Be it the fact that the Prestige pressure cooker made your life easier by cutting cooking time to great skin care courtesy Afghan Snow. No dissonance or conflict in the consumer’s mind.

Afghan Snow

One cream for the skin.

Chew Wrigley’s, helps relieve stress. How does it matter if it is sugar free or is shaped like a pellet. It helps relax. This is the power of good communication.

One attribute, one brand. Works beautifully in sync with the customer’s mind.


Easy to recall. Consumer neuroscience at it’s earliest best.

The problem with us ( read clients, advertising agencies ) is that we believe effective communication must describe every single attribute of the brand in question.

More features, better advertising.

Complete rubbish.

How can we forget Ogilvy’s ad for the Rolls – ‘At 90 miles an hour the only sound you hear is the dashboard clock’ or for that matter Carlsberg- Probably the best beer in the world.


Unadulterated ‘in the face’ communication that said it all. Yet, we seem to have forgotten these basics and moved on to create complete multicoloured disasters that offer anything from a new skin tone to a soft drink that gives you more oxygen if you please!

I was so thrilled when I received these images of advertising of the yesteryears that captured the essence of how and why these brands grew to be such success stories. I know that these days you can do so much more with advertising, such as using giant inflatable advertising balloons, but there’s something simple about the old adverts that just screams efficiency.


Sometimes I wonder if this amnesia towards good clean communication is caused by our obsession to brainstorm even the simples of things. Meetings take precedence over content. A million voices, opinions, research studies, inferences, story boards, revisions, late nights and finally..

A complex, convoluted set of brand imagery that is put out that speaks volumes, yet lacks substance.

I can’t imagine customers actually remembering one significant feature of an automobile ad that we see today.

I honestly cant fathom, what I would take away.

Is it the projector headlamps or the EORVM or yes, the magazine rack and cool glove box that is now lockable.. !


Cut back to the advertising for the iconic Ambassador, amplified just one feature – family car, spacious. Even today, this car is remembered for it’s extra spacious interiors. To hell with the rest.

Maybe it is time then, to go back to our roots and work on the premise that the human brain retains simplistic communication best.

Incidentally, all consumer neuroscience research today is based on our cognitive ability to retain and interpret one simple message better than the other.


Jaisurya Das

Jaisurya Das

The industry affectionately calls him a Marketing Maverick; Known to be brutally candid with his writing as much as everything else, Jd is a much respected media and brand commentator whose prolific writing sees no boundaries.

Jd also consults in Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing, both of which are integral to his brand interventions.
Jaisurya Das