Martin Thomas Managing director Cohn & Wolfe

Martin Thomas Managing director Cohn & Wolfe

It is only when you really start looking for campaigns that stand out

from the crowd that you appreciate the dearth of great advertising at

the moment. Like most people in the marketing business, I’m a light

television viewer, apart from a beer-induced coma in front of Channel 4

on a Friday night.

However, over the past seven days I have made a real effort, got the TV

dinners in and camped out in front of the TV.

Car ads that all look the same; financial services companies that try so

desperately hard to convince you they are interesting; badly-dubbed

German shampoo commercials. Dull, dull, dull.

Then it hit me. Which campaign has had the most dramatic impact on me

during the past seven days, or any seven days for that matter? The Swiss

Centre clock in Leicester Square.

Every hour the goat herd and his wooden wife stroll around the clock,

chasing a gang of deranged goats and a noisy chicken, while the bells

chime out classic Swiss songs such as Roll Out The Barrel and Michelle.

At various times there is a five-minute command performance which

attracts tourists in their hundreds. ‘What did you do when you visited

London?’ ‘We stood in front of a Swiss clock and took photographs of a

wooden goat herd.’

I don’t know what it does for sales of holidays to Switzerland, but it

certainly gets a reaction. When the goat herd starts wandering and the

bells begin murdering another Euro classic, the whole of Cohn & Wolfe

reacts in one of three ways:

1. Buries head in hands and vows to shoot that ******* goat herd.

2. Dances around to the music, in a knee-slapping kind of way.

3. Runs out of the building, screaming.

How many ads have made you do that in recent weeks? Most of them,


Congratulations to the Swiss tourist office for creating a major tourist

attraction out of some wooden models and a few tuneless bells. Perhaps

you can sell the idea to one of those car firms.

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