Be useful. By @ethanbennett94

Ethan Bennett

By Ethan Bennett


Be useful.


Up until recently, I didn’t really get what all the hype was about ‘content’.

What is ‘content’? Is it the endless stream of crap that litters my social feeds? Stock photo imagery overlaid with brand logos and poor copy?

Well, yes!

However, there is also good content out there, and it’s been around for decades.

Paul Feldwick, the author of The Anatomy of Humbug, came in to hold our hand through some ads a few days ago.

He showed some of David Ogilvy’s first print ads.

The first was for Guinness. It was the Guinness guide to Oysters, and showed exactly that. An unexpected, interesting guide to Oysters. The only sell was that they all taste their best when washed down with drafts of Guinness.

Another was for an orchestra in New York, who had been struggling to shift tickets. The idea was simple. Show all the dates and venues of their upcoming concerts on the poster. So people can see them, plan in advance, and buy tickets.

Both of these were print ads. They were also both some of the first forms of branded content.

What they did was provide usefulness to whoever was reading it. They were informative and relevant.

With the industry still finding it’s feet in digital and social media, it’s easy to see why there’s so much advertising that goes unseen and ignored. Not because a lot of it lacks a good creative idea – which is mostly true – but mainly because a lot of it isn’t providing any usefulness to anyone.

A picture of a man enjoying a skiing trip with big bold sans-serif type saying ‘get up and go’ just isn’t going make me do that at all, or make me think that about your brand.

If I saw a short clip taking tiny snippets of how quick and easy the journey from home to skiing was for that man by using said brand, I may think – hmm, that looked pretty easy, I also now know how to ‘get up and go’ skiing, maybe I’ll do that for my next weekend break.

I think the idea of being useful can be taken into all areas in advertising. Of course, it’s still important to entertain and be funny – but then maybe that in itself is providing usefulness. It’s filling the boredom in our day.

Just as I hope this bit of SCA content has for you.


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