A creative legend's lessons for planners

Sarah Carter

John Webster created some of the most iconic and popular ads of the last 40 years. A creative who had a high regard for planning, Sarah Carter of adam&eveDDB draws out some lessons for planners from Webster's work.

Forty years ago, an unassuming art director at London ad agency BMP drew some beady-eyed Martians with wide, smiley mouths… and made advertising history. The man was John Webster and his Martians ad for Cadbury's Smash dried mashed potato has since consistently been voted the British public's all-time favourite ad.

This Cadbury's Smash ad was followed by a cavalcade of campaigns that were revered by the industry, adored by the British public and transformed the fortunes of brands (e.g. Ads for Walkers crisps with Gary Lineker, Hofmeister beer with George the bear and Sugar Puffs cereal with the Honey Monster). In fact, in a poll in 2000, no fewer than 10 of the 'best 100 ads of the century' voted for by the British public were by John Webster.