Top marks to DLKW Lowe for passing Morrisons test
A view from Jeremy Lee

Top marks to DLKW Lowe for passing Morrisons test

For defeating the odds and confounding the expectations of advertising's chattering class, maybe DLKW Lowe warrants a dose of Tipp-Ex on its half-term school report where the agency scored itself a typically modest 6.

Its surprise retention of the whopping £70 million Morrisons account was made sweeter still by some rival agencies offering their congratulations on Twitter, aware that the incumbent would not be the bookies’ favourite.

In this case, the odds seemed higher still – the review was called after DLKW Lowe’s "for your Christmas" campaign, which tried bravely to move the category on a notch but was criticised for being gloomy and cruel to dogs (and also coincided with Saatchi & Saatchi trying a similar schtick for Asda but ending up with the same outcome when this too was put up for pitch).

For DLKW Lowe, a quick return to the celebrity-fronted ads that it had eschewed was made and the Geordie duo Ant & Dec were drafted in to extol the virtues of Morrisons’ fresh fishy on the public’s dishy.

It proved to be the right strategy and, as Ant & Dec’s co-star Louis Walsh might say excitedly in his strangely strangulated drawl, the agency was now going up to Bradford to pitch in a final round against M&C Saatchi and Adam & Eve/DDB (for whom James Murphy had used his considerable powers of persuasion to convince John Lewis that there was no clash).

All credit to DLKW Lowe for pulling off the unexpected – Morrisons walking would have been little short of a disaster after the loss of Halfords last year following a similarly ambitious attempted creative reboot. Let’s just hope that the admirable creative aspirations of Richard Denney and Dave Henderson have not been sacrificed in order to keep the account.

The ad is funny and not too long - but whether Adam & Eve/DDB merits its half-term score of 8 is up for debate

Elsewhere, Adam & Eve/DDB’s entertaining "Love it. Hate it. Just don’t forget it" spot for Marmite attracted hundreds of complaints within days of airing from the well-organised animal-welfare lobby.

Nonetheless, it failed to summon the full power of social media and create a full-blown shitstorm, and Unilever’s donation of £18,000 to the RSPCA helped defuse an already overblown matter as well as garner some nice PR brownie points.

The ad, which manages to avoid the pitfalls of most long-form content by being both funny and not too long (unlike, say, Fallon’s heavy-going "don’t be scared" debut spot for Giffgaff), must have taken some of the sting out of the failure to convert the Morrisons business – although whether Adam & Eve/DDB merits its half-term self-score of 8 is up for debate. Take a look at www.campaignlive.co.uk/go/halfterm and let us know your thoughts.

jeremy.lee@haymarket.com
@jezzalee

Topics