1. One small step for a man?

Photo courtesy of The Project Apollo Archive

If you were alive in 1969, you were glued to a TV station as astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped off a ladder and onto the surface of the moon for the first time. While many remember his famous words as he stepped onto the moon, Armstrong actually said “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”, the statement has been a way to remember a brilliant achievement for the human race. Unfortunately, NASA cancelled the moon program not many years after this accomplishment.

2. Who created “modern” advertising?

Thomas J. Barratt was a pioneer in the field of brand marketing, and has often been called “the father of modern advertising”. As Chairman of the Pears’ soap company, Barratt created an effective advertising campaign for the company products, which involved the integrated use of targeted slogans, images and key messages. Barratt coined the phrase, “Good morning. Have you used Pears’ soap?” which became famous in its day and into the 20th century. Barratt focused on consistently associating the Pears’ brand with high culture, domestic comfort and quality. In his time, Barratt used a proprietary magazine, contests, promotions, packaging, and celebrity endorsements to market the product. Well before his time, Barratt stressed the importance of developing and maintaining a strong and exclusive brand image for Pears’ and of emphasizing the product’s availability through mass campaigns. In the process, Barratt introduced many of the concepts that guide our advertising today.

3. Who knows – just Google it!

In 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched Google, and in less than twenty years, the world’s dominant search engine has changed everything in the advertising industry.

The search engine helped people become more than passive consumers of media. The search process created by Google helped them search for what interested them, when it interested them. Once the transformation occurred, Google began to recognize its power in the marketplace, and began selling access to its visitors with online advertising options – changing the way the ad industry buys and plans media.

4. The “greatest forward step in baking”

Brilliant Moments - Sliced Bread

That’s how it was marketed when Kleen Maid Sliced Bread was first sold in 1928. Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine in 1912, but due to a fire destroying his prototype, the first commercial use of the machine didn’t happen until 1928. Within a year of introducing the concept, a packaging process for sliced bread had been developed and was commercially available. As it turns out, the concept of sliced bread had a significant effect on the industry. The thin pre-cut slices of bread made it easier for people to eat more slices of bread at a time, which in turn made bread a more frequent part of their diet. This increased consumption of bread, and also helped increase the consumption of spreads – like jam, jellies and peanut butter. The impact was so significant that it eventually spawned the saying, the “greatest thing since sliced bread” – as a means of praising an invention or a development.

5. Making a car in 93 minutes! (1908)

Model T Ford

Although automobiles had been available in some form for decades, it is generally accepted that 1908 was the year the automobile became available for the mass market. That was the year that Henry Ford’s Ford Motor Company first produced the Model T (or the Tin Lizzy). The car was mass-produced on an assembly line with completely interchangeable parts – a process that influenced manufacturing in other industries as well. Little known fact – by 1914, it only took 93 minutes for Ford Motor Company to assemble a Model T!

6. The creation of the sticky note!

Contrary to popular thought, the “Post-It” note was not invented specifically for that purpose. In 1968, scientist Dr. Spencer Silver was attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive for 3M. Instead he created a low-tack reusable adhesive. Spencer tried without success for five years to promote his solution within the company. It wasn’t until 1974, when Spencer’s colleague, Arthur Fry, came up with the idea to use the adhesive to anchor his bookmark. He used that framework to develop the idea into what we know today. Now the ubiquitous notes are used throughout the world for a variety of purposes.

7. Introducing the Father of Cool

(and we don’t mean Snoop Dogg)

Brilliant Moments - Air Conditioning

The term “air conditioning” is actually attributed to a textile engineer, Stuart W. Cramer, who is not in fact, credited with developing an air conditioning system. While many individuals contributed over a period of 100 years to the principals that eventually led to the development of air conditioning systems, the man known as Father Cool or the Father of Air Conditioning is Willis Carrier. Carrier started work on his concept as early as 1902. At first the technology was primarily used in industrial buildings and hospitals and it wasn’t until after WW2 that air conditioners became small enough, safe enough and cheap enough to allow residential sales to develop.

8. Apple’s 1984 Commercial


From a marketing perspective, this iconic ad has been called a masterpiece in advertising. It is in the Clio Awards Hall of Fame and is one of Ad Age’s Top 50 Greatest Commercials. While the ad is still remembered thirty years after its launch, a little remembered fact is that the ad actually only ran two times – once on December 31, 1983 and once on January 22, 1984 during the Super Bowl. The ad is a true testament to the power of a great creative concept.

9. “I have a dream!”

Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)


The year was 1963 and the United States was embroiled in an enormous civil rights struggle. Often referred to as the defining moment in the American Civil Rights movement, activist and leader Martin Luther King delivered his “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial – calling for an end to racism. “With a single phrase, Martin Luther King Jr. joined Jefferson and Lincoln in the ranks of men who’ve shaped modern America” (Meacham).

10. Banting and Best … and Macleod??


As a child we all learned the story of Banting and Best – the two individuals that discovered insulin and won the Noble Prize. This was truly a brilliant moment in history. But the story isn’t completely as we may remember. Banting first took his idea to Professor John Macleod who gave him funding, a laboratory to test his theories, as well as a lab assistant named Charles Best. In 1923, the Nobel Committee actually decided to award Banting and Macleod the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine!

11. People swear by it, and at it!


For years, Buckley’s Cough Mixture, made in Canada since 1919, has been highlighting the fact their cough syrup tastes awful, but it works. The company embraced its one weakness in all of its communications, and in turn, made that weakness a messaging strength. When it entered the US market, Buckley’s could have altered its approach to compete with the major multi-nationals, but it held true to its brand message, and carved out a successful market for the product. Even in recent years, the company’s foray into online and social media marketing vehicles has included the “what did you expect it to taste like” positioning. The Buckley’s experience is positive proof that truth in advertising, when crafted properly can help establish the brand in the consumer’s mind.

12. Two unlikely partners change the world


There are many accounts of when and how Steve Jobs and Steven Wozniak met. By Wozniak’s own account, they first met in his college years, “when a friend said you should meet Steve Jobs because he likes electronics and he also plays pranks”. However the actual meeting took place, there can be no argument that the union of Jobs and Wozniak was one of the most significant brilliant moments in history!

13. We try harder


In an era of glitz and hard sell, the focus on honesty in advertising was unusual at best. In 1963, perennial second place car rental company, Avis engaged DDB to develop a new campaign that would reposition the company in the minds of consumers. Attempting to take a piece of the massive market share owned by Hertz, Avis needed to reposition its message. Advertising icon Bill Bernbach asked the company one simple question, “why would I choose Avis” and the answer he received from the President was “because we try harder”. The line became a beacon for the company’s focus on customer service and its commitment to search for ways to improve. And it is a line that “drives” the company to this day.

14. 3 Days of Peace and Music

Woodstock – widely regarded as the pivotal moment in popular music history, was held over three days in 1969. Originally, organizers planned for no more than 50,000 people, but by the time the event happened, it had drawn over 400,000 people. The name Woodstock was given to the event because it was the initial location for the concert but booking problems eventually forced organizers to seek another, larger venue in Bethel, New York. We are sure this was a brilliant moment in history, but aren’t sure that anybody that actually attended the event can remember a thing!

15. He didn’t even like telephones!


One of the most famous moments in Canadian history is undoubtedly the moment in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell called out to his assistant “Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you” and the modern day telephone was born. A little known fact about the inventor is that Bell considered his most famous invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.‪

16. Who really invented the light bulb?


It definitely wasn’t Thomas Edison, as your schooling would have you believe! In fact Humphry Davy first put an incandescent light bulb in use in 1809 – a full 70 years before Edison applied for his patent! What Edison did was create a bulb that would burn continuously (and even then he was sued by Joseph Swan for copying his design). As part of the settlement, Edison had to take Swan on as a partner in the original company called Ediswan. Edison eventually bought Swan out to form the company that became General Electric.

17. Its clunky and grammatically incorrect – and it works!

Got Milk?


“It’s perhaps the most boring product imaginable” (Jeff Goodby, who wrote Got Milk). “It’s not new. It’s not improved. It is white.” In discussing the product with a focus group, people stated that they only thought about the product when they run out – which led to the concept of Got Milk. The final tag line, which has been used for twenty years and has been appropriated by thousands of groups for unrelated activities, became one of the most remembered lines in beverage history, which is saying a lot given that includes the beer and soft drink industries. The line, and even the font selection, has become part of our culture, although it was eventually dropped by Milk in 2014 and replaced by the new (less impressive) line – Milk Life.

18. Boldly going where no one has gone before


Incredibly, the original series that was launched in 1966; and that spawned a series of films and spin-off shows, only lasted three years on-air. In addition to creating an enormous and dedicated following, Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions such as the cell phone, personal computers and automatic opening doors. Moreover, the show is noted for its progressive era stances on a wide variety of social issues. In fact, the original series included one of television’s first multiracial casts. Creator Roddenberry once stated: “By creating a new world with new rules, I could make statements about sex, religion, Vietnam, politics, and intercontinental missiles”. And yes this one may have made the top 30 because we are secretly trekkies!

19. The “zipperless” zipper


Where would children be without Velcro fasteners? Nowadays, children learn to tie their shoes much later in their development because Velcro strips fasten many of their first pairs of shoes. The Velcro fastener (more specifically called a hook and loop fastener) consists of two components: a lineal fabric strip with tiny hooks that could “mate” with another fabric strip with smaller loops, attaching temporarily, until pulled apart. The term Velcro, given to the name of the company that manufactured the fasteners is a combination of the French words velours (“velvet”), and crochet (“hook”).

20. One of the greatest print campaigns of all time

VW’s “Think Small” ad campaign


Sure we know this is the digital age. We understand the power of online and social media marketing. But this is our “thirty brilliant moments” – and an opportunity to give credit where credit is due. In the early 60’s, when fast, heavy muscle cars were the norm, VW sought to enter the market with the Volkswagen Beetle – a car that was compact and strange looking. What Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) did at the time was more than improve sales for the client, their concept “changed the very nature of advertising—from the way it’s created to what you see as a consumer today” (Ad Age). The ad campaign, which lasted in some form for years, was simple in design, featuring large white spaces and copy that focused on the benefits of that particular car.

21. Everything Forrest Gump did?


Seriously – that guy was everywhere! He helped Presley learn to dance, he met with the Black Panther party, he spoke on the war in Vietnam in Washington, he was interviewed with Lennon, he invented the smiley face, and witnessed the Watergate scandal in progress. Gump’s life was a series of brilliant moments – proving that life really is “like a box of chocolates”!

22. Netflix beats TV?


Television ads – what television ads? The resounding success of formats like Netflix have fundamentally changed the way people watch shows. In fact, studies show that as of 2015, more people view shows on Netflix than on more traditional stations. The combined influence of these new content providers is forcing agencies and their clients to rethink their old advertising strategies.

23. I can fly, I can fly!


The history of the airplane shows that a lot of other scientists had designed gliders and concepts for flight – as far back as 400 BC. But it was not until December 1903, when two American brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright attempted to fly that the concept of an engine powered aircraft came into being. The Wright brothers’ flight was the first to be adjudged by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale as sustained. The actual flight travelled a total of 120 feet at a height of 10 feet in the air and lasted a total of 12 seconds! Although they were not the first to build and fly experimental aircraft, the Wright Brothers were the first to invent controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.

24. Somebody “invents” Las Vegas!


Who could have envisioned a city like this? Who could have initiated building this self proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of the World”. Who cares?! We don’t need to put a label on it – the city already has enough labels of its own. We say – just enjoy the result of that brilliant moment!

25. Zuckerberg launches Facebook from his dorm


Most people have seen the movie and know the story about how Mark Zuckerberg created the first “face book” as a social toy for Harvard students, which eventually led to the development of one of the most popular social networking tools in history. But did you know that the first banner for thefacebook.com included the manipulated image of Al Pacino, or that the first major investment in the company came from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel? Today, Facebook is now also a very effective ad media option. Who better to suggest products than people who share your interests? And along with your fans and friends, no one knows what you like better than the folks at Facebook!

26. The day that changed the music world forever!


The day was February 9, 1964, and it was the day that The Beatles first performed live on the Ed Sullivan Show. With a very simple introduction “Ladies and Gentleman, The Beatles. Let’s bring them on”, Sullivan introduced a TV audience to the most influential rock band in history and helped hype in the USA what had already become known throughout the world as “Beatlemania”. For many in the era, The Beatles appearance on Ed Sullivan was a defining life moment, and it most certainly symbolized the start of what later became known in rock circles as the “British Invasion”.

27. Four score and seven years ago…


One of the most famous introductory lines for a speech in history, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863 on the fields where the Battle of Gettysburg had taken place. On that day, Lincoln was not the keynote speaker (it was actually Edward Everett who spoke for two hours!). In fact Lincoln’s role was simply to “formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks”. In this seven-minute masterpiece, Lincoln states that “the world will little note what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here”. Ironically, while the Battle of Gettysburg details have faded, the speech at Gettysburg continues in importance to this day – speaking volumes to the power and influence of the spoken word.

Read the Gettysburg Address here.

28. “KD” – enough said!


If you grew up in Canada then you have tried Kraft Dinner. The meal is a mainstay for millions of Canadian families. In fact, the meal is so well known that Pundit Rex Murphy wrote, “Kraft Dinner revolves in that all-but-unobtainable orbit of the Tim Hortons doughnut and the A&W Teen Burger. It is one of that great trinity of quick digestibles that have been enrolled as genuine Canadian cultural icons.” The idea of creating processed cheese was actually invented by a Canadian – James Lewis Kraft – and the first version of KD was introduced in 1937 when it was immediately considered a “hearty meal for families”.

Whatever the history of the product, KD has helped many a Canadian get through school, or a budget problem or a late night snack attack! In our minds, the invention of KD was truly a Brilliant Moment!

29. Bo knows advertising


Named one of the two most influential tag lines in the 20th century, “Just do it” was created in a 1988 Nike meeting with its agency Weiden and Kennedy. Dan Kennedy was speaking at the meeting about Nike’s can-do attitude in comparison to the competitors and stated, “You Nike guys, you just do it”.

To add to the mystique of the slogan at the time, Nike ads rarely focused on the product being sold, preferring to focus on the athlete wearing the product. At times, that athlete was an everyday competitor; at others, Nike used an enormous stable of paid well-known athletes.

While the campaign received mixed reaction when it was first released, the enduring value and relevance of the line and its use in a wide array of Nike programs and activities, has been proven by the lasting impact the slogan has had for the company over the last thirty years. In short Nike, the Swoosh, and Just do it are inextricably linked together in advertising history.

30 years ago – an idea sparks a company

Big Idea

Thirty years ago this year, two schoolmates decided they wanted to build a different kind of creative-design company, and Deschenes Regnier was born. Focusing on leading-edge design concepts and exceptional customer service, Deschenes Regnier quickly became a mainstay in Manitoba’s design and advertising community.

Over time, as other players have come and gone, or have merged, Deschenes Regnier has continued to increase the services and the expertise required to help clients in the changing world. Now a full-service firm, Deschenes Regnier offers a wide range of marketing skills, including brand strategy, communications planning, creative solutions, advertising and media campaigns, digital marketing, and web design/development.

As a result, our 30th Brilliant Moment celebrates Deschenes Regnier’s 30th anniversary in the marketplace!

Perhaps we can help your company find its own brilliant moment – the moment when you know and we know that together we have discovered the right solution to inspire your audiences and achieve your goals.

We would love to talk with you.