Campaign Hall of Fame: The hall of shame - Tucked out of sight and stuffed into bottom drawers in the offices of every agency lies evidence of the less glorious moments of advertising’s history. Caroline Marshall selects some golden turkeys
By CAROLINE MARSHALL, campaignlive.co.uk, Monday, 20 December 1999 12:00AM
Werther’s Original Pahnke & Partners, Hamburg, produced various executions but they are all exactly the same. Grandad and grandson having happy, smiley 40-second adventures in happy, smiley adland, where the sun always shines and people point into the distance a lot to the song: ’On an ordinary day, a child’s bright laughter fills the air/one loving word, one loving glance/there’s sunshine everywhere.’
Werther’s Original Pahnke & Partners, Hamburg, produced various
executions but they are all exactly the same. Grandad and grandson
having happy, smiley 40-second adventures in happy, smiley adland, where
the sun always shines and people point into the distance a lot to the
song: ’On an ordinary day, a child’s bright laughter fills the air/one
loving word, one loving glance/there’s sunshine everywhere.’
Ferrero Rocher Sacrilege! Ferrero as bad advertising? How dare she!
Doesn’t she realise that it’s deliberately naff, blah, blah ... Now the
’ambassador’s party’ has been axed, we can say what we really
feel ... this is a manifestly successful ad that makes us all acutely
embarrassed to work in and around the business.
Shake ’n’ Vac Benton & Bowles’ demented housewife and that jingle about
putting the freshness back. Many hitherto sane women still cannot pass
gondola ends of this stuff without foaming at the mouth. Wisely, the
client tried witty self-parody in later ads - they still stank.
Gillette Men being sweaty and successful and butch and caring and
shaving a lot, not forgetting the Toto-style musical accompaniment:
’Gillette - the best a man can get.’ BBDO’s gutsy tribute to the yuppie
jock man with social obligations in the form of marriage and children
was a US-style mega-production which impacted on our screens like an,
erm, punch in the air.
Ricola Two moustached Swiss goat-herders, one honking on a rather
impressive Alpine horn, emerge from Cedar Health’s client committee
meeting in Zurich to sing the praises of ’RI-CO-LA, RII-COO-LAAA’ herbal
cough sweets. Even as a piece of Euro kitsch, it sucked.
British Rail Admitting to even the tiniest fault is not a practice many
advertisers engage in. But to BR, with its 1984 campaign, ’We’re getting
there’, it seemed like a good idea. Perhaps because the company had
spent pounds 35 million over the previous five years trying to convince
commuters that the 80s were ’the age of the train’.
Nationwide Featuring the voiceover ’There is a house in Africa ...’ and
other themes unsuitable for recession-hit Britain. Leagas Delaney’s
surreal 1991 campaign starred the woman who fantasised about fishermen
and the father who wrote pretentious letters to his son. Even
Nationwide’s chairman, Sir Colin Corness, confessed it was ’not to his
taste’ as he swapped the stuff of which dreams are made for ads about
high street reality.
Israeli tourism Burkitt Weinreich Bryant’s 1993 classic for a relatively
unknown tourist destination - war-torn Israel. Set to the catchy old
Jewish number, Hava Nagila, the ads played on the song’s words using
phrases such as ’Hav’a surf’ or ’Hav’a day trip’.
Visa Delta ’I wasn’t around to bathe in the antipathy,’ admitted a lucky
Mel Smith who produced, directed and starred in Saatchi & Saatchi’s
stinker for Visa Delta. (Exactly how much dirt must he have had on the
agency, one wonders?) The story of an ageing rocker with a stage act
that includes the sweet sound of a cash till - Kerching!
Herta OK, frankfurters are always good for a smutty innuendo or two.
Unfortunately, that ineptly named agency,the Creative Business, played
it straight in this risible 1989 effort on behalf of the Nestle-owned
Herta. An ad with all the sizzle of a cold sausage.
Sainsbury’s The rantings of the garishly clad John Cleese in Abbott Mead
Vickers BBDO’s last TV campaign for Sainsbury’s went down with middle
England and staff alike like a packet of kippers well past its sell-by
date. The Basil Fawlty-type character was later softened but the TV
account subsequently moved to M&C Saatchi.
Ford Ka We all know that Ogilvy & Mather doesn’t need reminding about
this spot, given that it subsequently lost the account, but the Ka ad
comparing the marque to a football boot was a stinker. No pan-Euro
dubbed import can be as bad as this, made as it was by a local agency
which thinks it’s good.
Bernard Matthews A true turkey in every sense. An eternal warning to
every client - don’t believe you can do the ad best and browbeat your
agency into agreeing.
’Bootiful’ Bernard Matthews should have been locked in a hen coop and
the key thrown away to keep him from laying such eggs.
One2One What could have tempted the talented Robert Lindsay to appear as
Beatrice Dalle’s luckless lover in this dire mini soap? Surely only
large amounts of folding stuff. Thankfully, this contrived 1993 campaign
from Woollams Moira Gaskin O’Malley lasted only 20 months.
The Express In which an energetic ’editor’ (who bears no resemblance to
Rosie Boycott) and her staff run around the office in mid-editorial
conference. A mystifying endline, ’full speed ahead’, wrapped up this
turkey from the client which got through three agencies in a year.
Rover 600 An exchange of two political prisoners at what appears to be a
Kurdistan border. Realistic footage of tribesmen and a hostage with a
rag round his eyes who ends up patting the white leather interior of the
car. Nul points to Ammirati Puris Lintas for a questionable choice of
BHS ’Live your lives in style,’ said this naff Bhs ad by Saatchi &
Saatchi, in which women transmogrify into, well, other women. That was
the technical stuff: more important was how this campaign made you feel
about the brand. People didn’t really feel much. They just watched it
and returned to the Gap.
United Airlines Having signed Marlon Brando for the voiceover, you’d
have thought United Airlines would have got something better for its
bucks than this Young & Rubicam-inspired attempt to give the carrier
true global stature. One of the most patronising examples of US
South African Airways A woman who goes into labour mid-flight gives
birth as effortlessly as a flight attendant bobbing around with the
drinks trolley. Observers marvelled over a) why she was flying when
heavily pregnant, and b) how one delivers a baby without a modicum of
Allied Dunbar Written and art directed by John Hegarty, BBH’s ad for
Allied Dunbar came under fire from the homeless charity, Shelter.
The spot showed an Allied Dunbar rep apparently talking to a tramp. As
the ad develops, it becomes clear she is talking to an actor playing a
dancing tramp in a musical. A swift re-editing followed.
Too shameful to picture ... the RAC’s two-and-a-half minute
’docu-mercials’ wherein boffins and environmentalists muse on the future
of the planet ... the unblinking blonde who learned English in a
language laboratory for Tic Tac ... American Airlines’ ’eagle’: yes, you
really did see people flying across the Atlantic on a giant
eagle ... ’helicopter girl’ for L’Oreal ... Saatchis’ 1997 ad for
Cheltenham & Gloucester in which a voiceover says something about the
need to move quickly, while the visuals show an Eskimo lad meeting up
with Bigfoot. Mystifying, even for the financial services category,
where the brief is always the same: ’Tell people we’re very big and
we’re very nice ...’.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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