World’s best ads ever #7: The Guardian’s ‘Points of View’ paints a picture of 1980s Britain
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
An event, seen from one point of view, gives one impression. So what about Britain in the 1980s? A Conservative government was in Downing Street, the economy was volatile, unemployment was rising to its highest peak since the Second World War and everyone was fighting over the UK’s involvement in the EU single market. Oh, how times have changed.
Seen from another point of view, you can get quite a different impression. In the British media landscape, journalist John McCarthy (not the one who works here) was kidnapped in Beirut; meanwhile, The Sun alleged that comedian Freddie Starr ate a live hamster. Journalistic integrity and a free press was never more important.
In an effort to maintain its position as the publication of choice for the UK’s mainstream left, The Guardian set about on a campaign to affirm its commitment to seeing every perspective in a story – demonstrated excellently in its iconic ‘Points of View’ or ‘Skinhead’ ad, created by BMP DDB.
Playing on the public’s perception of the skinhead subculture, the ad’s first shot focuses on a young man appearing to wrestle a briefcase out of an older, well-dressed gentleman’s hands. Then, the perspective shifts and the audience sees that he is actually pushing him out of the way of a falling pile of bricks.
“It’s only when you see the full picture that you can really understand what’s going on,” says the voiceover. It’s an approach The Guardian has stuck with over the years, such as in its ‘Three Little Pigs’ work with BBH, which won the agency a Cannes Lion back in 2006.
In 2019 The Guardian rejuvenated its advertising with the ‘Hope is Power’ campaign, encouraging new readers to spend more time with Guardian journalism and to keep the publication pay-wall free by donating and subscribing. It built on this purpose in 2021 through its work with agency Oliver, emphasizing the publication’s unique role and voice, with a focus on its independent ownership, reputation for holding the powerful to account and commitment to hopeful ideas and imaginative solutions.
Because in Britain in the 2020s, with a Conservative government throwing lockdown parties in Downing Street, a cost-of-living crisis and the ongoing global ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic, not to mention the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the full picture has never been more important.