Creative brilliance isn’t a thing…it’s a feeling


Screen shot 2015-06-17 at 12.26.54Creative brilliance isn’t a thing…it’s a feeling. A flash behind the eyes when you see or hear something that is so good it fills you with a craving to have created it yourself.
It’s a yearning towards greatness that is part envy and part admiration – a wonderfully complicated sensation but it can be summed up in 5 simple words, “I wish I’d done that…”.
That’s how I felt when I saw this piece for AstraZeneca: A breathalyzer roadblock where they test you for asthma instead of alcohol. Simply brilliant. I really do wish I’d done it.

By Sean Riley, Executive Creative Director, McCann Health Singapore & Southeast Asia


  • Andy Purnell

    An invaluable lesson.

  • It is one of the greatest stories of brand building. Completely
    defying the research and the conventional wisdom which at that time said that
    there were already too many brands trading on their Germanic roots. As I understand
    it, Audi’s management had accepted the idea that the brand should be presented
    as ‘European’. But despite these obstacles, ‘Vorsprung Durch Technic’ was
    introduced to the UK with a voice that perfectly captured the British
    establishment at the time (Geoffrey Palmer) and a commercial that gently poked
    fun at the Germans whilst reminding us that they make great cars. As his voice
    over said “’if you want to be on the beach before the Germans, you’d better
    drive an Audi 100.”

    • dave trott

      Exactly Julian.
      I heard John Hegarty tell that story last week, and the thing that most impressed him about John Mezzaros was he kept saying “At least it will shake things up, and we need to shake things up”

      • dave trott

        Sorry, I forgot to add that’s the problem with most clients today.
        No one wants to shake things up, so nothing changes.

  • Here’s a link to the ad. Sadly it’s a low res file. It’s a great piece of story telling as well. Surely the longest voice over John Hegarty ever signed off?

  • paul c-c

    Didn’t they have the line on the roof of the factory? Or is that a myth.

  • Qn: So, John Mezzaros, why do you think the line VORSPRUNG DURCH TECHNIC is the best bet for the future of your brand?

    John: Well, erm… because no one thinks it’s any good.

    For sure 1 + 1 = whatever you want it to be.

  • James McLintock

    Interesting stuff. The idea of commanding attention by being controversial is proof that creative only really fails in research if it doesn’t provoke any kind of reaction. Negative responses can be signs of future success. They can show engagement, a disruptive message, the possibility of being won over etc etc. Even if things appear to go badly for an execution or a whole campaign, it can be for very positive reasons. It’s the difference between just listening to what people tell you (bad research), and understanding why they’re saying it and applying it to the strategy (good research).

    • dave trott

      Jim Williams once did that for John Webster with the ‘Humphries’ campaign for Unigate milk.
      You don’t get it very often from clients or planners or anyone else.