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Advertising, it's an art form. A slightly odd thing to say, perhaps, but we’re not alone. Bill Bernbach, a giant of American advertising, said of his profession: ‘Advertising is fundamentally persuasion, and persuasion happens to be not a science but an art.’ And who doesn’t want to be an artist?

Whether art or science, there's no doubt about advertising's effectiveness and cultural relevance. Fond memories of childhood TV ads abound: ‘For mash, get Smash’; ‘Follow the bear’; ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’; those bizarre and strangely menacing Kinder Surprise ads — Ebo Shakey! Chocadooby!

Great advertising is the product of blood, sweat and tears. It is distilled, triple-strength, cold-filtered, turbocharged. It’s a neutron star: super-dense and pulsing with potential. Done right, it packs more creativity and intelligence into a few moments than is found in entire TV series.

Now, that sounds like an artform to us.


Not only can advertising embed itself in our cultural subconscious, becoming part of the backdrop of our lives in a way that iconic movies, bands and artists might, it can, occasionally, change the world.

Before Coca-Cola set to work reimagining the charmingly rotund, red-suited Santa we know today, he was depicted as a Norse god, a sober 4th century saint, and even an elflike poster boy for Abraham Lincoln’s Union. Now how’s that for a transformation?

And the symbolic beauty of engagement rings? Nothing but an advertising strategy dreamt up by the De Beers Corporation and New York ad agency, N. W. Ayer, to shift more diamonds into a stagnant, post-depression US market.

This is the power of great advertising: its ability to underpin, or even create wholesale, some of our most treasured cultural practices and norms.


Today, advertisers can deliver messages to ever-smaller, highly targeted sub-groups and audience segments with surgical precision - driven by real-time audience behaviour and insights.

Planning modern advertising feels more like deploying high-tech, laser-guided messaging missiles compared to the indiscriminate, wasteful carpet-bombing approach of old. As a result, the potential for collateral damage (to your marketing budget) is similarly reduced.


But whilst much has changed in the world of advertising in the last 50 years, some things remain constant. The essence of effective advertising will always come down to delivering highly effective, impactful messaging to the right audience at the right time. Or, as our very own advertising guru, Sir John Hegarty, so eloquently explains, it is about ‘Turning intelligence into magic’.

The best advertising takes creativity, hard work and that little spark of genius, but when it’s done right it has the power to transform businesses, brands and even entire cultures.

Woven is the advertising agency driven by strategy.

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