David v. Dave

I’ve stumbled on to Dave Trott’s blog and nowadays I read it several times a week. I’m too cheap to buy a subscription to Campaign Live, otherwise I’d be reading him just about every day.

Left: Ogilvy, Right: Trott. What do you suppose they’re looking at?

I remember picking up a copy of Dave’s “Creative Mischief” a number of years ago but quickly put it back on the shelf. Thumbing through the pages, it looked more like a book of poetry rather than a proper book on advertising. “I won’t get anything out of that” was my first thought. Big mistake.

To me, Dave’s take on subjects is the verbal equivalent to Alan Fletcher’s visual explorations. Little vignettes of oddities from anywhere. The only difference being Trott’s essays end with a valuable lesson for advertising creative folks.

Trott’s writing is good design. It follows the basic principle of design as laid out by Milton Glaser – “Design should inform & delight”. Dave’s essays do that in spades.

Then there’s David. Mr Ogilvy. I’m a big fan of his, too, but for other reasons. He’s all business. Practical. Informative. Earlier this year I reread “Confessions of an Advertising Man”. Although some of the chapters are quite dated, it is surprising how many of the principles are still relevant 50 years after the first run of the book.

So here I have David & Dave. Both I admire. Learned from both, yet in strikingly different ways. It got me to thinking about voice and tone.

Here’s a comparison not meant to offend, but drive the point home: David is like the Old Testament and Dave is like the New Testament. David gives you Commandments to follow, laws to obey, while Dave teaches in parables. Pay attention and you are likely to learn from both. And that’s where the metaphor ends. Although I do have thoughts on Paul’s letters to the Romans being the world’s first PR campaign. For other such interesting thoughts, check out another David’s blog.

Is one better than the other? Not a chance. After all, there would be no Dave without David.