When Bob Morrison started work on Mars’ Maltesers brand five years
ago, the company was already running advertising of classic status.
Well, of cult classic status anyway.
The ad in question was so bad it was positively good. It featured a
svelte ballerina protesting in a whiny voice that ’the theatre is full
but I am not’, before popping a couple of the sweet, spherical
confections into her mouth and, thus refreshed, embarking with renewed
vigour on her performance.
’I still run into people who can recite that ad word for word,’ laughs
Morrison, now the European brand and development director at Mars. ’But
in truth, perhaps the advertising we were doing for Maltesers in the
past was too forced and contrived.’
The same accusation could hardly be levelled at the current crop of
Last week’s offering of a man and woman saucily feeding each other
Maltesers off a straw marks a continued shift in direction ushered in by
the brand and its agency, DMB&B, last year.
’We really started this shift of direction in the middle of last year
with the ad showing two girls playing around on the floor with the UFO
machine,’ Morrison says.
’In fact, we have now produced six executions in all since then. We
wanted to make the brand great fun - a bit silly but in a nice way. The
point is we always had the line, ’the lighter way to enjoy chocolate’,
and we still use it. But it’s only now that we have really got the film
to match the slogan.’
The new, more light-hearted films have also started to play well in
Morrison says: ’I was really surprised because they seemed to me like
archetypal British humour, but we have started to test the ads in Europe
and they seem to work really well.
’In fact, a Greek version has now launched as well as one in Ireland -
the first time the brand has advertised there for years.’
Even more surprising, perhaps, is the fact that the sea change made to
the campaign since the days of the hapless ballerina has been made with
the same agency, DMB&B. ’Changing the agency is not always the easiest
way to change the advertising emphasis,’ Morrison says.
’The fact is that creatives will get excited by ideas, and ideas are the
lifeblood of brands. We don’t believe in product life-cycles at
Maltesers has been going since 1936 and has a 99 per cent brand
awareness. Our job is to keep the brand interesting and relevant.’
Morrison makes similar demands of his career development. Having gained
a degree in the esoteric and wide-ranging subject of ergonomics at
Loughborough University, Morrison completed a brief stint at BP before
moving to HJ Heinz. He initially ran a factory for Heinz before turning
to marketing and then moving to Mars five years ago.