Jim Aitchison's brilliant book "Cutting Edge Advertising"* proposed an elementary formula for creating powerful print. Either a straight visual combined with a bent headline or a straight headline combined with a bent visual.
For example, a simply beauty shot of a Porsche travelling at speed is a straight visual. "Think of it as a Mercedes with Tabasco sauce" is a bent headline. "How refreshing. How Heineken" is a straight headline. A builder bent over at work with the offending crevasse in his bum plastered in is a bent visual. So is a pigeon that has been shat on. (Whereas straight visual + straight headline = boring/prospect will turn the page. And bent visual + bent headline = confusion/communication nullified.)
The Bent/Straight formula truly simplifies Print creativity and craft. It's one of the most priceless gifts of knowledge any young copywriter or art director can be given. Jim, now an author of much-loved children's books and a poet in his native Australia (see his pic and bio below) has given us his blessing to present it on our website.
Over the last 18 months we have run 4 separate Editions of Bent/Straight (each one 50 ads/campaigns long) in the "Guest Selections" window on the right on our landing page. The format each time has been 10 ads/campaigns exemplifying straight headline/bent visual followed by 10 ads/campaigns exemplifying straight visual/bent headline - and so on.
The work on Editions One-Three was all chosen from The Gunn Report Print Library - The most awarded and admired Print in the world since 1999. In Edition Four, the work was older, in most cases much older. Most of the ads came from the "Creative Revolution" years of the 60's (yes, the show kicks off with "Think Small" and "Lemon") or the 70's and 80's - there's even a couple of ads which date from 1922 and 1923. A lot of the ads were rescued from 35mm Kodak slides - you can spot them by the slight curvature top and bottom.
"Bent/Straight" has proved so popular that we've decided to install it, as you are viewing it now - as a permanent feature with all four Editions combined on the front page of our website.
We hope you'll enjoy "Bent/Straight" ... and sometimes may be even find it useful reference - and certainly a challenge! - when you've got important Print ads to get out.
- Donald and Emma
*NB: "Cutting Edge Advertising" was first published in 1999. "I think this maybe the best book on advertising I've read", wrote the recently-retired David Abbott. "It's certainly the best book on print advertising. Makes me want to go back to writing ads. Very dangerous." "More inspiration than a ten-foot stack of One Show and D&AD annuals", declared Bruce Bildsten of Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis (considered the world's best print agency at the time). "Cutting Edge Advertising" can be acquired on Amazon.
Jim Aitchison is an Australian, formerly the Singapore-based executive creative director of legendary agencies Batey Ads and The Ball Partnership. Notching up 500 awards, Jim made the switch to become an author, and Cutting Edge Advertising was one of his first books. It was a global bestseller, published in three editions in 8 languages. Since then he has written over 140 books for children and won the Literature Prize at the Australian Arts in Asia Awards in 2013, bestowed by the Commonwealth Government. Resident now in Melbourne, Jim also writes essays and poetry. He is eternally grateful to have interviewed two towering icons of the business, David Abbott and Roy Grace, before their deaths, remembering each as a gentleman and genius.