My Most Immortal Ad: Laura Gregory

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The Immortal Awards juror and Great Guns chief on a Sedelmaier masterclass for Southern Airways
My Most Immortal Ad: Laura Gregory
Last week, we unveiled the first 10 names who will be judging this year’s Immortal Awards. With the entry system now open, our esteemed jurors will take it in turns to select an ad that’s iconic to them, revealing the reasons why it’s stayed with them until this day.

The third contribution to this year’s series comes from Laura Gregory, founder of Great Guns and returning juror, who judged the inaugural Immortal Awards in 2018. Having a rare second bite at the immortal cherry, she waxes lyrical over a Sedelmaier classic from a time when borders were open and flying was a thing...



Southern Airways ‘Steerage’ (McDonald & Little, 1978)
 

I got off a classic three plane nightmare a few weeks ago while desperately trying to get back home, before the borders closed here in the UK and the US.

It hit me how much has changed in a few short months from what we took for granted, that now was suddenly gone.

But while I hunker down in the sanctuary of home, flying on empty flights to get back before borders closed, I remembered this gem from Joe Sedelmaier, the master storyteller of life in the real world of advertising and, weirdly, I was able to smile, then laugh and then really belly laugh.

How many of us in our privileged jobs flew almost every month, some every other week and often just for that one hour meeting that we had to attend?

Yep, you know who you are and we all did it.

And in those crazy flights the most important thing was getting a window seat in the only part of the plane that we knew. Back-to-back flights, in parts of the world union rules dictate - first class flights for members, all this meant we turned left and didn’t even think about turning right and life behind the curtain. 

And then Sedelmaier in his classic style proves us right with this brilliant spot for Southern Airways - and at the same time, enlightens us to a secret.

Holy shit!  

There are people back there.

Like refugees from a war torn country.

Lost.

Abandoned.

Alone.

Squashed.

And in his brilliance, he adds his magic to make the point with a man playing the soundtrack to the TVC who is actually (and very badly) turning the scratched record with his own finger on a wooden gramophone.

A chicken wandering about symbolises the futility of being forgotten and the exaggeration of being a second class citizen.

Sedelmaier captured the attention of the public in this breakthrough style of observation.

His fingerprint on articulating the absurd in advertising messaging made him one of the most popular and in demand directors in the USA.

He created a genre that was to become copied around the world but never anywhere near the class of his creative mind and execution.

Back to my nightmare three plane journey home.

I went from turning left to feeling like that chicken. 

Only now, instead of expecting and taking for granted, I appreciate what’s behind that curtain and a service that doesn’t make me feel second class.

Or at least I would if I ever get to fly again.


The Immortal Awards entry system is now open. Every member of Little Black Book is entitled to up to five entries, depending on their membership tier. This year, Bronze members receive two entries, whilst Silver and Gold members get five entries. The full list of rules, including eligibility dates, can be found here.

If you’d like to enter the Immortal Awards but you’re not yet a member of LBB, sign up here today. If you’re already a member and would like to increase your number of entries, you can upgrade your membership here.



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The Immortal Awards, 1 month ago