campaignlive.co.uk, Thursday, 12 December 2013 08:00AM
The sporting superstars Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jenson Button and Rory McIlroy could have been used to brilliant effect in this banking ad but, instead, the brand clearly didn’t know what to do with them. The performances were wooden, with all three reduced to reciting the benefits of the bank’s 123 current account robot-style while apparently stalking people in their homes. The impact was simultaneously unsettling and dull – and the account subsequently moved agency.
Some pictures should never, ever enter your mind. The image of anyone you know wiping their bum is one of those, yet Andrex and JWT decided to dedicate a campaign to the "debate" about how the action should be performed before the paper goes down the toilet. Frankly, we don’t care whether you scrunch or fold, but we did know that down the bog is where these ads should have been headed. They also gave us one of the worst chat-up lines ever uttered, when a woman in the ad told us "I’m all scruncher" in the seductive voiceover.
We salute anyone who signs up the services of Robert Downey Jr. But that was one of the few positives in this bizarre spot, which didn’t teach us much about the brand beyond the fact that it has three letters in its name. The weak underlying idea is that HTC stands for whatever you want it to – from "hipster troll carwash" to "hot tea catapult" or "hold this cat". The random wacky combinations of H, T and C are not funny, yet the gags feel as though they were written by a committee desperate for a viral hit.
What a terrible shame – criminal, almost – that the replacement for the rather charming and amusing "More Th>n Freeman" character was a giant teapot (yes, another one) and a marching band parading through the streets of St Albans. The spot ended up looking like a cheap sales promotion and its "feel the love" line seemed generic. All that brand goodwill was sadly cast aside.
If there were a category for worst celebrity ad, then this cheesy performance from one of the most irritating people in public life – Ben Fogle – would surely win it (albeit with some competition from Alesha Dixon and her cringeworthy cameo in that Babybel spot). Watching Fogle grimacing and making odd noises on a treadmill is a memory that we would like to forget.
A confusing attempt to link a romance with a supermarket, without much of a link at all. The couple may look very happy and the Iceland grub decent, but we had no idea what was going on in this girl-meets-boy story, which made us long for those old Kerry Katona ads before her spectacular fall from grace. The schmaltzy Michael Bublé soundtrack could be a plus or a minus, depending on your tastes.
It tried to be bold, but just came out plain disturbing. On a walk with her boyfriend and his parents, a girl breaks into song to tell her lover that she fantasises about his "hot" middle-aged father and dreams about what’s underneath his corduroys and Argyll sweater. We see what they tried to do here, what with the chocolate bar coming in three pieces and all, but associating a snack with an awkward love triangle is just odd. And it didn’t make us want to eat chocolate, which is not difficult.
We couldn’t help but laugh at this extravagant spot for the new drinks brand Zeo. It was a howler dressed up as an epic, showing a fur-draped heroine scaling mountains to retrieve a "perfectly chilled" drink, before riding a horse through a forest while pursued by wolves – then boarding a private plane to return to a bar, possibly somewhere near The Shard. Evidently, the budget was quite large, but we suspect it was spent on ensuring that every advertising cliché they could think of was squeezed into a single 60-second spot.
The characters for Kit Kat’s new flavours were supposed to be "comedy" superheroes, but there were no laughs to be had here. Instead, they looked bewildered, with names such as "Fudgeatron" and "Coconutrix", and were thwarted by their dim-wittedness when they tried to fight each other. And the direction fell short, resulting in an ad that looked messy and slapdash.
We all know the story: a woman pretends to seduce a man at a party but it turns out she was just after his ice-cream. With Bradley Cooper as one of its stars, this ad screamed quality, but the fine furnishings were wasted as the idea was lame and dated, and the fact that it came out around Cannes week didn’t encourage kind comparisons with decent work.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk