The Observer’s running a superb advert at the moment, for The Original Blue Pill. It’s not the product that’s amused me – it seems to be yet another pretend Viagra – but the ad, because it’s a work of advertising genius.
The advert takes up a quarter page of the newspaper, but it doesn’t make a single claim about the product. It doesn’t even tell you what the product is. Instead, it warns of rip-offs from firms that claim to sell the Original Blue Pill but who simply sell pale imitations, it suggests to its customers that if they find the 100mg pill too strong, they should use half a tablet, and it prints testimonials of the “Mr A.B.” variety about how The Original Blue Pill changed customers’ lives, answered their prayers, and so on.
There’s something strangely hypnotic about an advert that refuses to say anything about the product it’s advertising. I’m not the only person who thinks so: over on Flickr, Stephen Newton’s amused too. It’s a fantastic bit of nudge-nudge selling, and while I usually hate the purveyors of magic potions I have to admire this lot’s sheer savvy.