This evening I was having a conversation with a man who had a dog and I happened upon an ad by the Sierra Club. It showed three men in casual attire standing outside. Two of the men were younger, while the third, the man in the middle, was older. There was a calculated ruggedness to the men - these were men that might, when asked, be capable of doing something good, something positive. Their attire was casual, ready, easy. Their expressions compassionate, strong, kind.

The ad was within the pages of 'Mens Journal', ( interestingly my spell checker says that both ways of composing mens / men's  is wrong! ) a popular 7-Eleven top row magazine, capable of speaking to millions of men, and certainly influential in younger men's lives. The ad space was a full page, something that in it's simple being signifies commitment, a genuine purpose and money. Quite a bit of money - these pages don't come cheap. Lots of people were consulted about this expense, the magazine, the audience, the copy, the font, the fashion, the models... er, the characters... everything was discussed - I promise, everything. Surprisingly, the last thing that anyone probably talked about was how much the ad would cost!

But, ( and there's always a but... ) but, the thing that struck me, that held me, that made me slow everything down to that place where I have no choice but to concentrate on this single message, this one single solitary thing, was the headline. It read: " My sons and I are often apart these days, but together we are taking on global warming."  Nice. Complete. Whole. But the real coup, the real mark of excellence, was that the writer - and appropriate praise to him, or her! - made me stop and read the ad.

Certainly I saw that the ad was for Sierra Club, and I got the look of the ad, I understood the audience, but what pulled me in, was emotion.... and not the 'Hey, let's save the fucking earth!' kind of emotion, that's too easy, nothing more than sub-text. No, it was the emotional connection between me, a father, and my sons. I have son's and we connect deeply sometimes, but we too are apart and that's the brilliance. That's the copy that sticks. That's the kind of simple, to the point writing that says; pay attention. Not to the picture, not to the logo, those are only support to the emotional link between fathers and sons and as these advertisers intended, between me, the reader, and a whole mess of people that have an idea to help our planet. Brilliant.

So, there I am, having my discussion, looking at this ad and....  well, don't you see? They won. That's the goal. That's the point. That's what they had hoped might happen! I stopped and read the ad! Their ad. The ad they made, the ad that cost all that dough! The message they had hoped I would read. The message they hoped that a whole busload of guys ( and some gals - it's a demo thing ) would read and somehow, some way might connect with. That's the ad game, and only a few of us get it. These guys, the guys that put this together get it. In spades.

Good on you fellows of this ad, good on you. That's how it' done.

...and oh, by the way, my sons and I are often apart these days, but....