We’ve Only Just Begun…A History

If you’ve seen the ad industry documentary Art and Copy, you’ll know this story. (And if you’re in the ad business and you haven’t seen the movie…get it!) Anyway, we all know the Carpenter’s huge hit “We’ve Only Just Begun.”  I always just assumed that they wrote it.  After all, you can’t think of the song without hearing Karen Carpenter’s voice. As it turns out, the song was written for an ad campaign.

As Hal Riney tells it, he was working at a San Francisco agency and a local bank hired them to produce a campaign.  If memory serves the purpose of the campaign was to bring in new customers.  Riney said that the “idea” was to come up with a song.  He told the bank that he didn’t know what the song was, how it would sound or what it would say. But he needed a song.

Riney hires Paul Williams who writes “We’ve Only Just Begun.”  The campaign attracted young people just starting out in life.  Apparently, it worked so well that they had to pull it.  The bank wasn’t in the position to be lending to the volume of young, first-time home buyers who were motivated by the campaign.

Let me know what you think of the spot!

The Gillespie Group