Creative Agency: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Copywriter: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Art Director: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
PR: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Media: John Lennon & Yoko Ono
Let me be clear; this post is not about the moral conflicts that arise in the advertising business (although this example does speak volumes about using our powers for good); this post is more squarely targeted at our egos (over there, past 'dem trees).
The best campaigns always make you feel stupid, insignificant, lazy, and as if you add no value to the industry, let alone wider society (I don't care if you recycle). This is one such example where anyone referring to the "paid, owned and earned" model as anything new is quickly made to look quite the fool; and it was achieved nearly 50 years ago, not by Don Draper and pals, but by a couple of hippies who decided not to get out of bed one day. To be exact, it was 35 years before Facebook, 36 years before YouTube and 37 years before Twitter.
The twist? It's still being amplified through social media today. Fittingly, I have embedded a video below that will bring you up to speed if you have never heard of any of the above:
How did they do it? High on love (but mostly drugs), in 1969 John and Yoko knew their wedding was sure to be a media frenzy, so they decided that if they were going to be in the paper, why not try and get the word 'peace' in there; it was basic product placement.
"We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks"
That core thought grew into a massive cross-platform-multimedia-Titanium-Lion-worthy campaign.- Lennon, The David Frost Show (14 June, 1969)
It launched with a stunt in
Journalists participated, and headlines were generated. But beyond editorial, the output from the stunt was not only the film "Bed Peace", but also a song; "Give Peace a Chance" peaked at number 2 in the UK (behind the Stones' "Honkey Tonk Woman") and number 14 in the USA.
Before you call them cheap lazy hippies (jeez, where do you get off?), it didn't end there. Later that year the paid component was implemented. In December 1969 John and Yoko bought outdoor billboards in 11 major world cities, including the below example from Times Square, New York:
But it was the next component that crafted a thick velvety layer of icing on the already delicious hippie cake (may contain traces of THC). In 1971 John & Yoko produced a bespoke piece of content that has received earned media coverage every year since - it was of course the song "Happy Xmas (War is Over)":
By tapping into a seasonal tradition, John and Yoko were able to create something that has added infinite longevity to their campaign, and it remains as relevant as ever, the above clip is just one user's posting currently sitting at over 5million views.
Most recently, and the catalyst for this post, the full 1hour 10minute "Bed Peace" film has been posted on YouTube by Yoko Ono (and embedded below for your convenience); I strongly recommend you watch it:
Did you watch it? If you did, you were just on the receiving end of social media amplification of a campaign (via blogger seeding) that two people launched nearly 50 years ago - beautiful!