Everything About This 1987 Ad Is Wrong. So, How Come It’s So Great?

David Baldwin picks his three favorite ads ever

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Some of the best ads break the rules of how a good ad is supposed to operate.

Case in point—a Saatchi & Saatchi commercial from the 1980s for Pilkington Glass. Baldwin& CEO David Baldwin he told Adweek recently, for our “Best Ads Ever” series, that the Pilkington spot is far and away his favorite commercial. He brings it up constantly with his team at the agency.

Why? Because it shouldn’t work as well as it does.

“Everything about it is wrong, and yet it’s so great,” Baldwin says. “The writing’s fantastic, it’s so simple, it’s wonderful—but what’s great about it is, it’s just a guy standing on a set talking. But there’s a guy next to him, and you realize he’s putting together a rifle.”

Hear more from Baldwin about his favorite ad in the video above.

“That was the first time I saw something that played with the rules in a really, really smart and intriguing way,” says Baldwin. “I bring that up all the time because it does things that creative people complain about all the time. ‘I don’t want to have a guy just standing there talking.’ But it does it so beautifully.”

Baldwin chose Volkswagen’s “Funeral” spot from the 1960s and REI’s “Opt Outside” campaign, which launched in 2015, as his two other favorite ads.

Check out the full spots below. And click here for more “Best Ads Ever” videos.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.