Opinion: Scouller On ... What Makes A Turkey

Christmas may be over but we can still talk turkey. No, not the remnants of that dried up horror you ate on Boxing Day but those commercials nominated by publications during the supposed season of goodwill as ’turkeys of the year’.

Christmas may be over but we can still talk turkey. No, not the

remnants of that dried up horror you ate on Boxing Day but those

commercials nominated by publications during the supposed season of

goodwill as ’turkeys of the year’.



I will not name any, but as we all know they include many ads for

respected household names that bring us daily goods and services which

we take for granted. Journalists’ reasons for nomination vary but, from

what I have observed, they seem to be: ’boring’, ’irritating’, ’in bad

taste’, ’sexist’, ’irrelevant’, ’not as good as the last campaign’, etc.

As anyone who has ever been to a group discussion knows, the word most

often used by consumers is ’silly’. This does not appear on the

journalists’ list.



Journalists do not sign estimates, approve scripts, spend media money or

even necessarily use the goods or services advertised. As we say in the

trade, they are not in the target group.



So what does deserve the sobriquet turkey? We could begin with the

’ambassador’s party’ for Ferrero Rocher. This ad has appeared on most

lists at one time or another. It needs no description from me.



It did, however, run for at least three Christmas seasons and had a

serious media spend behind it. The brand remains a success.



At Christmas somebody gave us a box as a gift. Each chocolate is

individually wrapped in gold foil and branded with a white Ferrero

Rocher sticker.



The box is clear and I could see how many chocolates were inside. The

box was rigid so the chocolates were uncrushed and in perfect

condition.



We tasted them, not of course for the first time, and found them good to

eat. We knew exactly what to expect from the brand because we had seen

the advertisement.



We had received information about our gift.



The commercial shows the brand being handed to people in impeccable

evening dress, and being enjoyed. But doesn’t the After Eight ’dinner

party’ ad do roughly the same thing? Yes, but rather better. So the

strategy is right we can assume.



Some years ago a campaign was presented to me featuring millionaires

dressed in jeans, trainers and T-shirts. It bombed in research.

Consumers said they did not believe they were millionaires because if

they themselves were millionaires, they would dress like the cast of

Dallas. Now we know that the rich dress the way the agency showed them.

Therefore the basis of the ad is not wrong.



Let’s review then. Ferrero Rocher’s ad informs clearly and accurately

about the product, the taste is covered and its luxurious qualities

established. So the ad works.



What’s wrong then? Well, it fails to suspend our disbelief in the

situation in which it is portrayed. After Eight does this, not by

winding back, but by going over the top in a situation we know does not

exist.



For years I have followed the precept that strategy is the cornerstone

of a great ad. If that is not right, then however good the idea, it will

fail. The recent After Eight ad is a great ad, but Ferrero Rocher’s ad

is not a turkey and that is why it ran for so long.



Tony Scouller is the former marketing director of UDV.



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