Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?

I had a fun breakfast today with Bob Carrigan, CEO of Dun & Bradstreet and closet ad geek! I can honestly say I don’t get to trade classic ad ideas back and forth with many people, and Bob was impressively deep on the classic ad space.

Bob reminded me of one of my favorite ads which I haven’t seen in a long time — the United Airlines 1990 commercial “Speech.” This little gem does a nice job of reinforcing the importance of face-to-face … still critical even in our digital age … and is shot in a great early 1990s film style. Notice how the branding seems a little complicated in a 21st century context — there you go with a strike for preserving your brand equity so that 50 years of advertising doesn’t suddenly sound weird. I also love how the phone and fax were the technological banes of the CEO’s existence — I wonder how he’s holding up in today’s world?

In a similar vein, we both jumped on this classic below from McGraw-Hill Business Magazines. What I’ve always loved about this ad is that it tells such an obvious story is such a compelling way. And, what is even more interesting is how few people listen to the advice. I’ll also add that it’s a great example of stimulus-response advertising — they don’t have to say “advertise your business” because you draw that conclusion on your own. Excellent work: