NO PRODUCT. NO INGREDIENTS. NO DIAGRAMS. NO LOGO. AN AD THAT SHOOK THE AD WORLD IN 1960

 

After leaving Doyle Dane Bernbach and starting Papert Koenig Lois in January, 1960, this minimalist ad I created for Coldene cough syrup was a visual atom bomb when the readers of Life and Look opened their pages. In the witless, nasty, sinus cavities and nasal passages world of over-the-counter pharmaceutical advertising produced at America’s schlocky “marketing” agencies, I simply depicted a darkened bedroom with a sleepy couple being awakened by their coughing kid. Their prefeminism repartee was the talk of the ad world when it hit the newsstands. The trade magazine Advertising Age (I still call them Advertising “Old” Age), shocked by the audacity of the advertising approach, actually ran an editorial condemning the ad and my month-old maverick ad agency. But Coldene became a big success, and the first of a series of knock-out print ads that stamped PKL as the second creative agency in the world.