Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! has become a seminal guide to the world of advertising for those who have been in the business for decades, for newcomers, and for anybody intrigued by what happens when creativity meets commerce. The title is an irreverent nod to an unconventional 1970s campaign for Charmin toilet paper that featured an annoying shop clerk called Mr Whipple, who couldn’t stop squeezing the product. It sets the tone for Sullivan’s honest and practical insights into the sometimes crazy creative process of advertising.
Many years ago, a few good ideas and a passion for the business were enough to get you hired by an agency. Today, it’s a different story. The industry has become so popular that you’d better have an outstanding portfolio, or book, if you want to get your big break.
Your book is both your job application and your talent, and should set you apart from the crowd. This is vital, as the competition for ad jobs grows more intense every day, as more and more students complete advertising degrees with highly polished books. But you don’t have to go to ad school to create an outstanding book.
You need just eight or nine hypothetical campaigns that have been worked to an excellent standard. How do you do this? By concentrating on campaigns based on good ideas. Agencies aren’t impressed with a good finished ad – they’re much more interested in ideas that reflect unique talent.
Here’s an example. A famous Nike ad shows Michael Jordan jumping and scoring, with the line “Michael Jordan: 1. Isaac Newton: 0.” This ad could be in its earliest stage, even crudely hand drawn, and the brilliant idea would still shine through.
But where do great ideas come from? Begin by developing ideas around products that you like and use. Then take a look at old, award-winning ads. Why did they work, what was their secret? After analyzing them, return to developing your own ideas, but this time choose products that you’d never use yourself.
For example, if you’re a guy, consider ideas for bridal magazines, or if you’re a girl, develop ads for jock straps. This will show agencies that you can apply your talents in more than one field.