’Go on, I’m only asking for 500 words.’ Yeah, but it’s 500 words on
just one campaign, which means we can’t hide behind any witty one-liners
and not only that, it also happens to be a piece of business that has
caused quite a fuss in the business and ... what, there’s a lunch in it?
Oh all right then, we’ll have a go.
And that’s how we came to review the launch work for Cable & Wireless.
Fifty million quid. With a spend like that you’re bound to get noticed.
Full pages, consecutive pages, quarter pages, yellow pages - they’re
appearing everywhere asking the same question, ’What can we do for you?’
So what do the ads do for us?
Difficult one this. The headlines and pictures come together (the way
they should in all good press advertising), they tell the story, we get
the jokes, but somehow the ads just don’t excite. Maybe they’re a bit
too clinical, a bit too stark. Whatever, they’re lacking that special
ingredient that makes one ad great and another just OK.
Now the telly (also lots of yellow). I quite liked these, they’re cute,
easy to watch and for me, more engaging than the press. Rod, on the
other hand, doesn’t agree. As he puts it: they’ve set out to be quite
quirky with these films, even the music track has a quirkiness to it,
but when Mr Corporate voice comes on to explain away the action, it just
falls flat. With people like Orange and First Direct who sell themselves
on their customer service, you feel like they’re talking to you
personally, whereas here I’m watching a commercial trying to convince me
that it’s interested in me. The difference is subtle, but one feels
comfortable, the other forced.
At this point Rod leaves the room to get some beers and I dial the
freephone survey number featured on the ads. One ring later, the phone
is picked up (well that threw me). Catherine was on the other end, she
knew what she was talking about, she knew about the products, she even
told me where I saw the ad (I was left floundering by her efficiency).
She’s arranging for a set of brochures to be sent to my home.
Rods: ’Here’s your beer. What else is there to look at?’
Art: ’Well there’s this bright yellow direct mail questionnaire. What do
you want to say about it?’
Rods: ’It’s a bright yellow direct mail questionnaire.’
So there you have it. Obviously there are bits in the campaign that we
think are better than others but overall you can’t miss it. To be fair,
the agency has looked at this from the consumer’s point of view. It has
successfully broken down the barriers of the different disciplines to
build a consistent brand position, so the client is probably getting
value for his marketing spend. He’s happy, the agency is happy and we’re
left wondering what all the fuss was about.
Arthur Parshotam and Roddy Kerr are directors of creativity at BMP
CABLE & WIRELESS
Objective: Announce that Cable & Wireless is a new kind of
communications company - one that’s focused on consumers
Agency: Rapier Stead & Bowden
Copywriters: John Townshend, Paul Kendall
Art directors: Roger Pearce, Kevin Bratley