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.