PERSPECTIVE: Dreadful they may be but Euro ads do achieve standout

It’s not exactly a trade secret to admit that there is a time gap between the column I write and the one you read. In other words, you are already in the new year while I am still languishing in the old one, when everyone is on holiday and there is no news worth commenting on. Which explains why the topic of this column is Campaign’s Christmas-themed Private View by Mark Wnek (see p34).

It’s not exactly a trade secret to admit that there is a time gap

between the column I write and the one you read. In other words, you are

already in the new year while I am still languishing in the old one,

when everyone is on holiday and there is no news worth commenting on.

Which explains why the topic of this column is Campaign’s

Christmas-themed Private View by Mark Wnek (see p34).



In the spirit of festive mischief, we thought it would be fun to ask one

of Soho’s respected creative directors to chew over seasonal offerings

from Ferrero Rocher, Freixenet sparkling wine, America Online, Boots and

Nokia. Wnek points out that the above shower do at least follow Rule

One, which is to be noticed and stick in the public’s mind. Then, as any

decent creative director would do, he rips them apart, Hannibal

Lecter-style.



Sacrilege perhaps, but I wonder whether ads like the new Ferrero Rocher

spot - showing a family building a giant Ferrero Rocher pyramid - have a

vital role to play for many British consumers: not the D&AD executive

committee, nor, thankfully, Campaign’s editorial staff but large swathes

of the UK population for whom much TV advertising feels prehistoric.

They’ve seen it all. They expect to be stimulated by communications

which challenge and comment on their vast individual pools of media and

popular culture experiences. This was once the province of the

chattering classes but I can see it becoming more relevant as

increasingly ad-literate generations grow up.



We all know the sort of ads which hover dangerously between good/bad and

bad/good. There’s the old Courts campaign with the showbiz host singing,

’I sincerely hope to see you all in Courts’, which trades upon

consumers’ inherent mistrust of the salesman, and leaves you asking ’why

does Courts want to irritate me so much?’ and thus enhancing recall no

end.



Then there’s the ’recycled’ ad, drawing on memories of dire commercials

and making them work for a brand. For my money, Ronseal is still the

finest example, with the product-obsessed DIY nutter reborn, way beyond

the accepted parameters of advertising decorum, and with the glint of

hellfire in his eyes.



But Euro commercials like Ferrero Rocher’s - with their sentimentality,

Euro-aspirations and apparent lack of self-awareness - are at the

vanguard of this trend because they overturn everything that we have

come to expect from sophisticated UK advertising. Odd, isn’t it, how

these ads poke their way through the morass of everyday communications

as a result of their sheer strangeness? Through their intended

universality they have become a recognisable and commercially successful

genre of advertising.



Have your say in CampaignLive’s forum on channel 4 at

www.campaignlive.com.



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