Inspiration from Rolls-Royce ad? Or imitation?

Quick advertising history lesson.

The ad below is widely considered one of the most famous long copy print ads of all time. At least in advertising circles it is.  Written by David Ogilvy, this was when people actually read copy and copywriters were afforded the time to write persuasive and informative copy worth reading. Maybe the ad and the copy are so great because they didn’t need it yesterday.


David Ogilvy actually spent three weeks reading about the car, interviewing engineers, Rolls Royce owners and driving the product before writing the ad. So, how did anyone know that the copy was read??? He got countless letters for using the word “diffident” in section 13. So that’s the original from 1959.

Fast forward to June, 1982. Out came the ad below which gave the target audience the brilliant emotional benefit of Rolls Royce ownership.  I remember this appearing as a spread in the New York Times magazine. It redoubled my efforts to become a copywriter.


Truly a wonderful variation on the original. And so is the copy.

Then this morning I see this web ad for the new BMW i3 electric car.


I think it’s a great ad for an electric car. I bet the BMW client did too. The problem is I liked this headline the first time I saw it. Thirty two years ago.

What’s your take? Imitation? Inspiration? Or a fluke?






Please leave more menus on my doorknob!

I used to hate them. All of them.

The doorknob menus, the windshield flyers and the spam IRL that kills trees and stuffs my mailbox. But upon further examination, I’ve come to like them and I know you will as well. I don’t care if this has been done to death. This is still fun because in the business world we have a lot of these:

They deliver:

I never pay irregular prices:

I love these and it looks like they do as well:

Here’s my favorite pasta:

The ingredients are always fresh:

And what’s a good Italian meal without these:

I once learned a lesson from Norman Berry, the Worldwide Creative Director when I was at Ogilvy & Mather, N.Y. He told this short story.

There are two places that sell eggs and they both have signs on the road. One is typeset beautifully and designed to the nines. The other is written in marker on a piece of cardboard and they both say, “FRESH EGGS.” Which one do you think has the fresher eggs? He bet the place with the cardboard sign does.

So I bet the food is pretty good at this place. And I bet I have a typo in here somewhere…