Remember That Pub’s Brilliantly Lazy Ad That Went Viral? They Made a Fun Sequel

Dave Blackhurst goes even more low-fi

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Earlier this month, we wrote about an English pub’s most excellent ad that went viral and was celebrated as a genius bit of brilliantly lazy design.

The ad showed what appeared to be a text-message conversation between the client (Tom Hughes, owner of the Friars pub in Bridgnorth) and the designer, Dave Blackhurst. Their text exchange had all the relevant info—mostly about upcoming bands appearing at the pub—that needed to be in the ad. Thus, there was no need to do a “proper” ad at all. The pub just ran an image of the text messages instead.

As we found out, there was more to the story. The texts were actually faked, but that didn’t detract from the cleverness of the idea—in fact, in some ways it made the whole thing seem even more imaginative.

Now, Blackhurst is back with a sequel ad for the Friars (see below). And while he acknowledged to AdFreak that following up his viral sensation was a difficult task, the new effort has its own charms.

This time, instead of a back-and-forth conversation, the ad is presented as a letter from Blackhurst to Hughes pitching the idea for the new ad. It wisely references the original, and has other nice meta touches, too.

“Sorry for the note, my phone’s died,” Blackhurst writes—which is joke No. 1, as we found out during the previous stunt that Blackhurst doesn’t even own an iPhone (which is why the text mockups in his first ad looked a little off). “Anyway, we can’t do the fake text schtick again, so I reckon we go old school,” he continues. “Just write it out on a piece of paper.”

So, he writes out his handwritten pitch laying out his vision for the handwritten ad. And then, of course, the pitch itself becomes the actual ad. It was posted, as the original was, outside the entrance to the Friars pub.

The ad’s meta comedy reaches a subtle peak toward the bottom, when Blackhurst says he’d write up the ad himself “but my handwriting’s crap.” (Which indeed it is—a bit.)

“Believe it or not, the first poster was draft number two. The handwritten follow-up was draft 15,” Blackhurst tells us. “Deliberate mistakes are difficult to do.”

The new execution won’t go viral like the first one did, but it’s still fun to see Blackhurst and the Friars trying a sequel. We’ll keep an eye out for the third one.

Below, see the original ad from earlier this month:

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