Lessons in advertising from the largely ignored

Jeremy Bullmore

Jeremy Bullmore explains why for some brands, less is always more.

There's a school of advertising that, if more widely adopted, would put most creative agencies out of business. It's most apparent between mid-October and mid-December. Here are some of the names that favour the school – and have done so for decades, Chloé, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Dior, Armani, Prada, Versace, D&G, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Givenchy, Lanvin, Boss, Estée Lauder.

Their advertisements are unlike most other advertisements in several respects. No copywriters have been troubled: there are no headlines, no straplines and no body copy. The only word is the name of the brand. There is no attempt to differentiate through verbal embellishment. No consumer promise is overtly made and price is never mentioned. In print, the most common medium, photography is universal and the subjects are either cool women, moody men or a combination of the two. Their age range is about seven years: 18-25. Naturalism is out: they are models, behaving like models. Few even hint at a back story.