Fresh + Stale = Winner

For want of a better word, ‘fresh’ is a complimentary adjective when applied to milk, early 80s hip-hop and ads.

It’s obvious, really: ads need to stand out (or maybe they don’t), so a novelty of look or feel , or freshness, must be a helpful attribute (watch it to the end*):

However, what about ads where familiarity or nostalgia are the driving force?

Of course, there are fresh elements to the style of the Courage ad, and I imagine that in 1979 it stood out like dog’s nuts, but it helps us to see that a desperate, grasping, neophilia can blind us to the benefits of comfort in what we know. Take that Levi’s ad: its soundtrack and directorial style are fresh, but it exists in the depression-era Deep South that feels familiar to us from movies like Bonnie and Clyde.

So, freshness is good, but it needs to be placed in a context where it can be anchored to something we already know.

That helps accentuate the novelty and leaves us comfortable in the parts we recognise.

*Rumour has it that this was the version entered by mistake at D&AD, costing it a black pencil.