Campbell's resurrects Oxo family

LONDON - The Oxo family is to return to UK TV screens next Monday as part of a £3.5m advertising campaign for the gravy brand, two-and-a-half years after the long-running family saga, which had run for almost half a century, was axed.

The new campaign, written and directed by Blackadder creator Richard Curtis, returns to the more traditional idea of the UK family, which the campaign strayed away from in 1998 when it began to feature single-parent families and groups of lads in its last commercials.

The new campaign, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, is the first since Campbell's Grocery Products took over the brand in May from Unilever, which axed the Oxo family in July 1999 because it felt the idea was outdated. At the time, J Walter Thompson held the brand's account.

Campbell's immediately commissioned research on the brand, however, and found that although the institution of the family is more fragmented than ever, that factor makes it all the more important and that those times when loved ones are gathered together become more precious.

Campbell's had centralised its £9m work into AMV in March and, once the takeover of Oxo was completed, AMV was appointed to the task of getting that message across to the public.

Andrew Slamin, marketing director for Campbell's Grocery Products, said: "The new campaign stays true to Oxo's brand heritage while reflecting changing patterns in food consumption. We were pleased to discover that family meal times retain their appeal -- even if they have become more of an aspiration than a reflection of everyday life."

The new campaign, however, will move away from its old image which featured the much-loved cuddly-type mum portrayed by Lynda Bellingham. The new Oxo family comprises mum, dad and four red-headed children.

During the first 40-second execution of the campaign, they discuss why Dad keeps a picture of Emma Bunton in his wallet and make him admit that his wife has a nicer bottom than Baby Spice.

In the second 30-second film they debate whether the eldest daughter's sycophantic boyfriend is a "suck-butt".

Caroline Colwell, board account director at AMV, said: "Oxo is one brand that can claim to own the idea of family life. The new egalitarian Oxo family are edgier than their predecessors, much more like the Simpsons than the Waltons."

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Claire Billings, recommends


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