Best ads in 50 years: John Smith’s Bitter and how to be ‘of the people’

‘Dog tricks’

Boase Massimi Pollitt / 1981

My mum, dad, nan and granddad all talked about this when I was little. I thought it was funny too (the world didn’t give a shit about advertising beer to kids back then). That was its power. And it’s all thanks to the greatness of its creator, John Webster.

Best ads in 50 years: John Smith's Bitter and how to be 'of the people'

“Dog tricks” was part of culture. People knew who Arkwright was (yeah, and the Ronnie Barker one too). They longed for the next one. This is an ad that is a timeless example of great restraint, tautness of dialogue, simplicity, humour and how to be “of the people”. It’s a product of its time, but one that still holds up strong today.

Andy Jex is chief creative officer at TBWA\London

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