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Howard Gossage

In a beautifully put together video, Jeffre Jackson of the OIA talks about interestingness and why it's important for a brand to be interesting. One of Jeffre's reference points is Howard Gossage whom he cites as a great influence. I thought it would be worth digging deeper into Gossage's history.

Known as 'the Socrates of San Francisco', Gossage was an unlikely advertising man. With a military background, he didn't start working in advertising until his mid thirties. In 1957 he started his own agency Weiner and Gossage which was an immediate success.

Gossage was known for his unique and forward thinking philosophy; that advertising should be involving for the audience. In other words that they should be rewarded for seeing and/or hearing the message. Gossage would say:

"People don't read advertising per se. They read what interests them. And sometimes it's an ad."

It's only now, in the era of the Internet and sit forward media that we are really taking Gossage's ideas to heart. Disruption is being seen as a bad thing whilst engagement is becoming more and more important.

One of Gosasge's pet hates was outdoor advertising and it's here that the internal conflicts of the man become most clear.

Something worth bearing in mind in this digital era:
"Is advertising worth saving?" "From an economic point of view, I don't think that most of it is. From an aesthetic point of view, I'm damn sure it's not; it is thoughtless, boring, and there is simply too much of it."