EDITOR’S COMMENT: Brucie ads hit the mark because the message is clear

I’ve been too upset to write about it until now, but I’m gutted about the prospect of Brucie getting the bullet in the Courts review. You guys clearly disagree - the vote on the ’People’s Jury’ part of our Website last week ran 59 per cent in favour of dropping the septuagenarian from the campaign.

I’ve been too upset to write about it until now, but I’m gutted

about the prospect of Brucie getting the bullet in the Courts review.

You guys clearly disagree - the vote on the ’People’s Jury’ part of our

Website last week ran 59 per cent in favour of dropping the

septuagenarian from the campaign.



Forget all this stuff about the ads being so bad they were good. They

were just good. Ikea aside, what other furniture or carpet retailer ads

can you recall? Courts has just turned in sparkling results. The ads

always contain a simple proposition (usually a price offer) with Brucie

dressed up as a judge as a helpful mnemonic device. The client deserves

credit for consistent spending, too. ’See you all in Courts’ is the kind

of cringe-making pun that was lauded as genius when the same agency,

CDP, trotted them out week in, week out in the 70s and early-80s.



I know I’ll be pilloried for endorsing the work, and that the industry’s

old lags will shake their heads about where Campaign is going, but

consider a few facts. In the past month, Courts announced a 13.9 per

cent like-for-like sales increase in British stores over the previous

year for the last quarter 1997 and then a 28.6 per cent rise. This came

as its three main rivals - MFI, DFS and Carpetright - announced profit

warnings. The Times was not alone in suggesting Courts benefited from

its ’awful’ ads starring Brucie.



So, Courts’ advertising achieves stand-out, high awareness and clearly

contributes both to footfall and sales - so much so that it won the

furniture industry’s ad effectiveness award. But the industry hates it

because it is unashamedly naff. If Courts were a Channel 4/ BBC 2

gameshow, the ad industry would be racing to rip it off - putting a

post-modern spin on it, of course.



Instead, our industry worships the enigmatic and the heavily art

directed.



The new ads for Carling, Crown Paint and the Ford Ka epitomise the

movement.



What are they on about? Carling with its TV sets falling from the sky

and allusions to football; Crown Paint with its coloured raindrops

falling from the sky in slow-mo, and the Ford Ka with its ’if only Ka

made football boots’.



You can watch these ads again and again like a two-year-old transfixed

by Teletubbies, but you’ll be none the wiser. Those coloured drops will

fall and you will just have to believe that you ’don’t just paint it,

Crown it’. Those tellies will drop and if beer lovers just drink the

advertising you could be drinking anything from a snowball to a

snakebite - who can tell? And as for the Ka ... answers on a postcard

please.



Courts may not be great advertising, but what’s wrong with making ads

consumers can understand?



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