Thursday, July 05, 2007

Beacause I've known you all my life

This post appears here because of two reasons. Firstly, it was a request from a reader and secondly, its good writing, deserving to be in this space. Written by David Abbott this is the copy of a Chivas Regal ad. Despite its sentimental overtones or the Britishness, it stands out as a great piece of advertising making the particular scotch highly desirable. Considering the times it came out, which must’ve been the early 70s, one can see how it has inspired later works in advertising.

Because I’ve known you all my life.
Because a red Rudge bicycle
(the Britishness)
once made me the happiest boy on the street.
Because you let me play cricket on the lawn.
Because you used to dance in the kitchen with a tea-towel round your waist.
Because your cheque book was always busy on my behalf.
Because our house was always full of books and laughter.
Because of countless Saturday mornings you gave up to watch a small boy play rugby.
Because you never expected too much of me or let me get away with too little.
Because of all the nights you sat working at your desk while I lay sleeping in my bed.
Because you never embarrassed me by talking about the birds and the bees.
Because I know there’s a faded newspaper clipping in your wallet abouyt my scholarship.
Because you always made me polish the heels of my shoes as brightly as the toes.
Because you’ve remembered my birthday 38 times out of 38.
Because you still hug me when we meet.
Because you still buy my mother flowers.
Because you are more than your fair share of grey hairs and I know who helped put them there.
Because you are a marvelous grandfather.
Because you made my wife feel one of the family.
Because you wanted to go to McDonalds the last time I bought you lunch.
Because you’ve always been there when I’ve needed you.
Because you let me make my own mistakes and never once said “I told you so.”
Because you still pretend you only need glasses for reading.
Because I don’t say thank you as often as I should.
Because it’s Father’s Day.
Because if you don’t deserve Chivas Regal, who does?

Mr Abbott himself had to say the following about the ad:
“This ad is about Chivas Regal but it’s also about me and my father. (I really did have a red Rudge bicycle). It’s a risky ad and, for some people, its sentimental but I know others who say that it vividly echoes there own experience. Incidentally, if you try to write a headline for this ad, you’ll discover why it doesn’t have one.”
I still remember reading the ad for the first time as a student of advertising (who was also a lover of whiskey) and thinking that this will be my brand of Scotch when I can earn enough to afford it. And then someday, perhaps gift it to my father, who is also a whiskey lover.


Harshal Gajria said...

Yep, brilliant (and v. heartwarming, tugging-at-strings, touching) stuff, by the inimitable David Abbott. Does justice to an equally lovely Scotch, don't you think?

Great agency (AMV BBDO) as well. Believe that the managing partners actually took a salary cut rather than have massive lay-offs during the recession of the late 90's.

All great work really comes out of a life well lived, i think. Break out the Scotch - let's meet up soon.

mr bojangles said...

Interesting.. him mentioning that it was a 'risky ad'. I think the sheer length of the copy can make it seem overly superficial and soppy.

He could've just written:
'Because it’s Father’s Day. And if you don’t deserve Chivas regal, who does?'

The same sentiment, low sugar.

Smiling Dolphin said...

Hope you've done both - made Chivas your brand, and gifted it to your dad! Mr Bojangles is right, the ad is much too syrupy and can alienate more men than it attracts. Consider yourself a really fortunate person - the two most important men in my life have not been able to share a Chivas with their dads, c'est la vie.

meraj said...

naah....interestingly, 'teacher's' and on better days, 'JW Black Label' are my Brands. and when i gifted a scotch to my dad, it was a Black Label again. some twist in the tale....reminds me the short story called 'The Scarface' by Maugham.

2 things Mr Bojangles:
- those were the days of long copy ads
- and, in my opinion, the last 2 lines (the ones mentioned by you) are the ones that shouldn't have been there....for the sake of subtelety.

whatsay friends....which side are you on?

meraj said...

and thats some solidarity from the people of a company (ie if its true), Mr Gajaria....inspiring! thanks for that trivia.

Smiling Dolphin said...

I agree with Mr Bojangles, the ad is too over the top, beyond the first few lines you just can't read it. Sorry....siblings can have differences of opinion:-)

phish said...

ah! a real fight. a planner defends david abbot (i think its the whisky).

personally, i don't agree that it's soppy/syrupy. the times were different. the long copy just involves the reader a lot more than the 'father's day...if you don't deserve...who..something' does. surely you will agree. and its rather beautifully written.

i mean if it weren't then we wouldn't even remember it. this is great work and as meraj puts it, set a standard for writers to follow for a good number years. the world over. even by the english writers of india before the mustachioed desibabas claimed their

maybe it doesn't work now. but it doesn't need to.

meraj, you owe me a drink.

phish said...

besides 'low sugar' isn't always as good as it is made out to be. as many of us might have found out recently.


Smiling Dolphin said...

wasn't there this syrupy song which said, 'you say it best when you say nothing at all?'

i like the essay, meraj, reminds of something i once read by sting, should look for it and post it someday.

meraj said...

wasn't that a real soppy number by one of those boy bands, 'my disagreeing sibling'? and, quickly find me the essay by one by gordon sumners :)

meraj said...

phish, drop in one of these days (when i am in town) and you can have that teachers can always give you a lesson or two.