In praise of Amy
“My name is Amy I like slugs and snails”
I first read those words 27 years ago on a bus shelter in Brixton. I remember it so clearly because Amy is part of the reason why I work in the communications industry today.
On this, my first blog post for Campaign, it seems fitting to go back to where it all started for me…
I remember seeing the image of Amy on the side of a bus shelter in Brixton on my way to school. I don’t remember consciously thinking much about it, but I must have been curious.
A long time passed by. I can’t say exactly how long, but to my mind it felt like months before I saw the image again. When Amy reappeared, the message read: “My name is Amy. Remember me?” Underneath was a simple declaration that Adshel ads work.
I was awestruck by the simple brilliance of the idea and gained a new respect for the power of advertising.
The Amy campaign – known rather harshly in the industry as a ‘spoof’ – apparently featured the daughter of an Adshel Sales Director and was designed to highlight the effectiveness of the medium. Almost 30 years later, I can attest to the fact that it worked.
Critics point to the fact that ‘spoof’ campaigns work because they have the freedom to do things that wouldn’t get past the average Marketing Director, but I don’t buy that argument.
In today’s media saturated, socially networked, hyper connected environment where campaigns are circulated on YouTube and Twitter on one day and are old news the next, Amy reminds us that a simple idea and a long-term vision can produce dramatic results.
1984 was also the year of Ridley Scott’s famous advert for Apple computers. As sacrilegious as it may sound, that simple bus shelter campaign had more impact on me than Apple’s Super Bowl extravaganza.
NB: Credit is also due to Clear Channel (now owners of Adshel) who sourced the image of the original Amy campaign in response to my request.
Update: In response to some of the comments I’ve received on Twitter, I thought I’d ask: What was the first ad that really made an impact on you?