The jury is still out as to whether this ad supposedly placed by the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is true or not. But regardless, more than a century after it reputedly appeared, the ad is still lauded as one of the best examples of copywriting ever seen.
In 1999, Campaign ranked it 86th in its selection of the 100 best ads of the century. Shackleton’s appeal for men to join him on an Antarctic expedition certainly had a brutal honesty. It declared: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.”
An apocryphal story claims this candid approach attracted 5,000 applications, which Shackleton sifted into piles labelled “mad”, “hopeless” and “possible” before selecting his 27-strong crew.
About 12 Miles North
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