SSZ Bookshelf: 100 Ways to Create A Great Ad

Buy this bloody brilliant book.

Alliteration. I just used it to sell you this book. And it was this book that gave me the idea to do it. 

Once you’ve got your head around that and find that you have indeed bought the book, you’ll see that ‘alliteration’ is ‘way’ number 12. In this case, a ‘way’ is a technique, device, trick, concept etc. used in an advert. There are 100 of them here. It’s a suspiciously round number, but let’s look past that and see what this is all about.


Look, it’s right there. Just like I said.

What is it?

From the title you’d probably guess that this is another ‘How-to’ guide to creating adverts that will win you, wealth, fame, Cannes Lions and disdain at dinner parties. And you’d be right. Sort of.

Then, again, sort of not. A more accurate title for the book would be ‘100 Ways Great Ads Have Been Created’ because although it has elements of a guide, it errs more on the side of reference.

Is that a bad thing? Not at all. I’ll explain…

Did it teach me anything?

The genius of this book is in its strict adherence to one double page spread per ‘way’, with each ‘way’ as the title, written in fairly big type. This means that it can easily be used as a sort of checklist when concepting:

“Have I tried a mash-up(way no.2) ? Yep.”

“Have I tried repetition(way no.26) ? Yep.”

“Have I tried hyperbole(way no.28) ? Hmm. No, no I have not.”

It is interesting, and helpful, to look through the various executions of each technique, but where the book really comes in handy is as a thought catalyst on those days when ‘pun’ seems the only answer to a brief.

Who would want to read it?

Do you make adverts? Are you studying to one day make adverts? If so, this book is for you.

If not, then you are probably half-mad from futilely swatting away marketing messages every waking moment of your life and therefore it’s doubtful you will want to spend your time actively looking at more advertising. I may be wrong – there are some sick people out there.

Did it miss anything out?

‘Endorsement’ or even ‘alliteration’ aren’t ‘ways’ which will suddenly revolutionise how you create ads, and the accompanying writing could expand a little more on the thinking behind each  one. But, ultimately, that’s not what the book is about.

Is it useful?

Yes. Of the many, many advertising books I’ve bought in the vain hope that they would turn me into Howard Gossage, this will be the only one I will actually keep on my desk.

In conclusion, you need this book you utter failure of a human being (way no.50 ‘Insults’). And you can buy it right here.

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