I don’t know about you, but every time I see an ad campaign turn
from witty, sharp and idiosyncratic into something inspired by the sort
of humour my four-year-old niece finds amusing - well, I find it
disappointing to say the least.
In this case, the campaign is Holsten Pils, the agency is BDDP GGT and
the current print work uses the endline, ’New lighter crisper Holsten
Pils. An easier way to change your life’, together with cryptic lines
including (the poster) ’Look Daddy you’re in the News of the World’ and
(newspaper in sports sections) ’Look boss, if we fail to score again
today, we’ll play naked next week. Right lads?’.
What’s particularly galling about the campaign is the fact that it is so
out of character with Holsten’s illustrious past at GGT. First, there
was the quirky ’odd lager’ campaign, featuring Donald Pleasance. Then
came the Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid-inspired campaign, the brainchild of
Steve Henry and Axel Chaldecott. Later there was Jeff Goldblum and Denis
Leary. ’Yeast, barley and no shit,’ barked Leary in the kind of arsey
tone that caused Adrian Holmes, the chairman of Lowe Howard-Spink, to
speak out against the new yobbishness in British advertising.
Of course, GGT would probably argue that Holsten’s celebrity frontmen
were in danger of swamping the brand, that the primary objective of the
campaign is to kill ’get real’ and spread the ’lighter crisper’ taste,
that a new approach is needed to register the new Holsten formulation
against intense competition from Budweiser and Becks. Perhaps, but ’an
easier way to change your life’ is not a new approach, it’s the runt
offspring of Leary and the ’get real’ posters. It’s not in the same
league as either parent, but the bad jokes should at least ensure a
healthy following among my niece and her influential friends of
pony-club age. Patronising ads? Get real!