I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, the brand that was once banned from
British television screens, is mounting another TV offensive in what is
claimed to be an advertising first for the medium.
The butter substitute is being promoted through a ‘spot the difference’
competition, which will invite viewers to compete for pounds 10,000
prizes by picking out the differences between two similar ads that will
top and tail a single break.
It is believed to be the first time such a promotion has been run on TV,
and follows close scrutiny of the scripts by lawyers for the
manufacturer, Van den Bergh Foods, and the Broadcast Advertising
McCann-Erickson devised the campaign which, it says, will capitalise on
the brand’s maverick reputation for bending the rules governing
Controversy has fuelled the growth of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
sales since 1991, when its TV advertising was ordered off air after
complaints by the Butter Council.
The brand switched to print ads with a campaign that featured stills
from the commercial and poked fun at the ban, which was revoked the
Since then, Van den Bergh claims that the brand has recorded a 26 per
cent year-on-year growth in volume. Last year it entered Nielsen’s top
100 grocery brands league for the first time.
Dominic Walsh, the Van den Bergh account manager at McCanns, said: ‘I
Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter has always been a brand that breaks the
rules, and we thought a ‘spot the difference’ competition was a perfect
The campaign countdown will open with national press activity and a ten-
second TV spot flagging the competition, which will run nationally for
two weeks from 1 March.
The ads being used are versions of the film featuring the Spitting Image
cows that made its debut last month.
The BACC approved the competition subject to assurances that entry forms
would be widely available and that it would be easy to enter.