Perspective: Why an ad’s fame is transient if the branding is weak ads with meaning effective campaigns where message is lost

A few years ago, Collett Dickenson Pearce lost the Cinzano account because it was said that the agency’s Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter campaign might well have been for Martini. This was rubbish, of course - the result of ’using’ research to prove a pet theory. But isn’t it amazing how often people say things like ’I really like the Kenco ad starring Trevor Eve’s wife and the yuppie bloke’ or ’my favourite car ad is the Professionals rip-off, for the Honda Civic’ - when, as far as advertising professionals are concerned, these commercials are superb branding exercises for Gold Blend and the Nissan Almera.

A few years ago, Collett Dickenson Pearce lost the Cinzano account

because it was said that the agency’s Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter

campaign might well have been for Martini. This was rubbish, of course -

the result of ’using’ research to prove a pet theory. But isn’t it

amazing how often people say things like ’I really like the Kenco ad

starring Trevor Eve’s wife and the yuppie bloke’ or ’my favourite car ad

is the Professionals rip-off, for the Honda Civic’ - when, as far as

advertising professionals are concerned, these commercials are superb

branding exercises for Gold Blend and the Nissan Almera.



Perhaps those people have a valid point. I keep noticing ads, not

because of their powerful commercial messages - precisely the opposite,

in fact. An interesting example is the current Selfridges print campaign

through its recently appointed agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty.



As Campaign published a story that preceded the launch of the ads, I

probably should have said something at the time, but it wasn’t until the

ads had been up for a couple of days that I realised I had been driving

past them, as well as seeing them on bus-sides, without paying them a

blind bit of notice.



Some of the problem is the colour: from a distance they look like Yellow

Pages ads. Some of it is the irrelevant line, ’It’s worth living in

London.



Selfridges’ - we already know that London fashion, eating and lifestyle

are In because squillionaires like Demi and Bruce are hard at work

house-hunting here. Above all, though, there is nothing that unites the

ads with Selfridges, nothing that inextricably links the message with

the advertiser. (Since writing this, BBH has taken the unprecedented

step of recommending the ads for inclusion in Private View, so I can

safely assume that the agency does not agree with any of the above.)



The interesting thing is not that the Selfridges marketing director is

an ex-BBH man, although Nick Cross did used to work there. Nor is it

that BBH created the ads, for there’s no need to tell you how brilliant

the Kingly Street lot are at their best. It’s that Selfridges is one of

the few bits of the Sears Group that has been performing.



This campaign belies the fact that Selfridges is one of the few major

London retailers that has genuinely improved its offering.



Any advertising connected with Sears needs to stand up to close scrutiny

because Liam Strong, the chief executive, is fighting to survive as the

group’s performance and share price conspicuously fail to keep pace with

those of its rivals. So, in view of the flak Strong’s been fielding

lately, advertising ought to be more of a priority than this campaign

suggests. Then again, when was the last time a troubled company bought

daring advertising?



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).