This week some of the Hammer Agency team got together on a “Teams Breakfast” to discuss favourite or inspiring Ads. One of the most successful ads in history is the 1970’s iconic spot from 1978 Alka-Seltzer spot, also remembered for its catchy tune about gastro-intestinal difficulties, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is!

Written by Mary Lawrence, who Advertising Age magazine named as one of the 20th century’s most influential people in advertising. She created some of the worlds most successful and memorable ad campaigns, including the “Trust the Midas touch” campaign for Midas and the “I Love New York” tourism campaigns. Lawrence brought a boldness to TV commercials that no one else had dared try. At the time most were talking heads simply reeling out the data or the strengths of the brand. Lawrence turned commercials into short films based on true stories.

To come up with the ideas, Lawrence would immerse herself in the subject. It was a time before automated market research, so Mary would experiment on herself: The only way of doing cheap, easy and quick consumer market research, driving the car she was doing a spot for, or, in the case of Alka-Seltzer, gorging on burgers to induce heartburn. Poor Mary.

A brands success rests on the honesty and simplicity drawn from real life experience. Whether the brand manager or advertising person chooses to experiment on themselves or get consumer backed analysis is now a matter of choice. Oh what a relief it is.