PODCAST: John Stingley

There are many ways of writing ads.
Simply stating that your product is good.
Giving evidence that it’s good.
Or making people feel that it’s good.
Ai could spit out versions of the first two pretty quickly, but it’d struggle on the third.
The third requires a bit of psychology, observation and understanding of what makes people tick.
Bill Bernbach put it this way “It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop. It will take millions more for them to even vary. It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessive drive to survive, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.”
So if, for example, you’re Porsche, you could state that your cars are terrific, you could make people aware that every new 911 now comes with a 12-speaker sound system as standard, but saying ‘It’s like children, you can’t understand until you’ve had one’ makes them seem so much more desirable.
John Stingley wrote that one, plus another bunch just as good.
A lot of his work doesn’t get into the nuts and bolts of a product, it steps back from the detail and talks about how it relates to you, like Windsor Canadian Whisky – ‘Fortunately, every day comes with an evening’.
I caught up with John recently to pick his brain on this stuff, hope you enjoy it.



Princes Spaghetti Sauce.




Canadian Windsor.






The Children’s Defense Fund.

Marine Midland.




New York-Presbyterian.


Bessemer Trust.

John on writing…




2 responses to PODCAST: John Stingley

  1. George Gier says:

    Another great interview and portfolio of work. Great insights and anecdotes. John’s ads are always thought provoking and fun. Especially his Porsche work. Thanks for highlighting John and his work.

  2. Peter Rabot says:

    John is an amazing talent.

    We worked together for quite a few years when I owned my agency, Munn Rabot. I hired him as a freelancer and together we created some very special ideas.

    The author is absolutely correct in saying that you don’t see the quality of work showcased on this blog these days. I’m not sure who or what to blame for that. But it’s all gone to shit.

    My agency was always respected for the work we did. Clients would say, “those guys aren’t easy to work with, but they’ll create enormous success for you and your brand.

    I thought I was tough until I met John. He takes no shit from anyone.

    He was only about the work.

    My agency, along with John created the work featured above for New York Presbyterian Hospital and Bessemer Trust.

    Thanks John!

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