The Platinum Egg 1990: Nils Törnblom.

Nils was born in Hagalund near Stockholm in 1906, before anybody had ever heard of neon signs, radio spots and commercial TV. He began his career as a retoucher in the graphics business, but quickly switched to writing. As he put it, “The image is a stop sign. Once the image stops you, there has to be something for your common sense, too. The words! The words water the image so it can grow.... Rather 11% who read than 70% who notice.” Nils loved a metaphor (“the words water the image”). His first job was at Svenska Telegrambyrån, in the 1940s one of Sweden’s biggest advertising agencies, followed by two decades at Allmänna Annonsbyrån, then Bates, then a few years under his own name, at Törnbloms. Nils Törnblom was a writer first, not a “copywriter”. In an Anglo-Saxon-inspired world, he was a guardian of the Swedish language. He was a writer for whom the headline grabbed the eye, the body copy did the persuading and repetition nailed it all down. He was best known for a campaign on the theme, “When was the last time your wife received flowers?” which debuted in the early 1950s and ran for a couple decades, turning Swedes into one of the world’s most flower-buying peoples. He once wrote a long, copy-based ad for AGA with the even longer headline, “‘Ausgeschlossen [out of the question]’ said the Imperial German Patent Office and refused Sweden’s Gustaf Dahlén a patent.” In the 1940s and 50s, Nils instructed future creatives at advertising schools Berghs and IHR in his specialities – writing, rhetoric and style. He never stopped being an active thinker and opinionmaker in the advertising world. “Advertising is my hobby and it’s constantly burning in my head,” he would say long after he retired. Nils Törnblom was a Swedish advertising pioneer. He passed away in 1995.