CLOSE-UP: PERSPECTIVE; Public taste is the best marker of an ad’s effectivness

Harry Carpenter is not the only Harry who will be in his element this week. The eponymous tot who stars in the Safeway series will be delighted to read in the tabloids that his appearances have put him right up there with the megastars, Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne, in their crisp spot, for the title of Britain’s favourite ad.

Harry Carpenter is not the only Harry who will be in his element this

week. The eponymous tot who stars in the Safeway series will be

delighted to read in the tabloids that his appearances have put him

right up there with the megastars, Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne, in

their crisp spot, for the title of Britain’s favourite ad.



Close behind come the Barclaycard series starring Rowan Atkinson and

those PG Tips chimps, still much-loved after more than 20 years. It will

be a surprise only to a certain breed of creative, much in evidence at

Grosvenor House last night for the British Television Advertising

Awards.



Continue down the list: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Peugeot 406, Gold Blend,

Diet Coke, Halifax, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Carlsberg, Peperami and

Woolworths, among others - some of which are derided by the luvvier

elements, some acknowledged as ‘sweet, but not our kind of thing’, and

some deliberately ignored, despite their obvious qualities, because the

agency responsible isn’t ‘in the club’.



Having said that, the public has taken the consistently award-winning

Levi’s, Smirnoff, Nike and Volvo ads to its heart. This is some

achievement, particularly for Smirnoff and Nike, which have, more than

any of the others in the table, relied on outdoor and press to reinforce

the messages from a much less weighty broadcast spend.



The Campaign-commissioned survey presents a fascinating contrast to

other research that relies on recall alone. Unsurprisingly, these lists

are dominated by BT and the National Lottery ads. Unsurprising because

both spend around pounds 50 million a year on getting their messages

across. It is, perhaps, more surprising that these two campaigns did not

trouble the scorers when it came to likeability. But only perhaps. As

for what Fiat Bravo/Brava is doing in there, one can only reach for the

cliche: ‘There’s nowt so queer as folk.’



Does likeability matter? Well, one might ask Safeway how much of its

recent rebirth has been due to the success of the Harry campaign, or

Walkers how much its booming sales depend on Gary Lineker. In fact,

Walkers has already answered that one by renaming one of its flavours

‘Salt ‘n’ Lineker’. Ask Peperami or Tesco. Look at the brands at the top

of the sector categories in our feature and it doesn’t take a planner to

work it out.



This is not to denigrate the BTAA winners. Both Pirelli and Volvo are

fine ads. It is right to aspire to their heights - but only in context.

The most telling thing about the list of the most-liked is not that they

are all proper, grown-up brands competing in a marketplace a world away

from city gyms and taxicab firms, it is rather that the majority of them

would succeed at the IPA Effectiveness Awards.



Feature, p56



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