Personality. Some of us have it, some of us don’t. But if your product
doesn’t, you can always buy it in.
That’s what Goldfish, the British Gas affinity card, has done to launch
the latest quirky, iconoclastic brand to hit our screens and doormats.
It’s an established ploy that’s been exploited by Frank Lowe for a long
time - just hire a star and Bob’s your uncle. Or, in this case, Billy
A famous name carries warmth, credibility and fame which attach to your
brand. The trouble is, it can carry other baggage, and here, it gets in
the way. Billy Connolly is funny ha-ha - that’s what we expect of him -
but everything else about the TV ad is funny peculiar. I kept waiting
for a pay-off that never came.
The mailer plays it straight, while one of the most motivating selling
points - a very low APR for six months if you transfer a balance - is
buried. And there’s something about it that feels very familiar. Perhaps
it’s the colour...
It’s a shame, because it is a great brand name with a lovely Wolff Olins
image, set for success, not just in the pond in which it was spawned,
but with other products and services.
The relaunch of Low C uses Paul Calf, a fictional personality from Steve
Coogan’s collection of undesirables, to advocate a Marston beer that is
full strength but low calorie. It’s a proposition likely to lead to
confusion with low-alcohol beers, and the TV executions don’t clarify
matters, although the shorter ones are funny and have impact.
Beer-mats would be a great way to get the product proposition across
clearly, but instead they feature more of Paul Calf in a classic example
of ‘cut and paste’ integration. And while I may laugh at him at home,
there’s no way I’d drink Low C in a pub and risk being associated with
the image on the table.
Cafe Flo. I suppose the Franglais and the grotesque illustrations are an
attempt to give the bistro chain French personality a la ’Allo ’Allo,
but this makes the old TV series look subtle. Even the plain English is
bad - the verb meaning ‘go well with’, as in wine with food, is
complement, not compliment.
Rather than beg, borrow or steal a personality, Vesta invents its very
own: the Vestas, a sort of Spinal Tap but with a longer history. The
band are featured in a series of three- minute commercials, in a
roadshow touring universities and in this splendid trade promotion that
includes a poster, a CD of the band’s finest moments that students can
buy, a money-off voucher and even a shelf-wobbler.
It’s an attempt to create cult status - one of the hardest things to
achieve - and it deserves to succeed because it’s stuffed with great wit
and humour and the central pastiche has been created with painstaking
authenticity. There’s even a rock family-tree of the Vestas by Pete
Frame tucked away behind the CD credit sheet. And because the core idea
is strong, it works well across every medium. Isn’t that what new-
business people call integration?
George Boyter is creative director at WWAV Rapp Collins
Agency: Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson
Client: Gold Brand Development
Objective: Launch the Goldfish affinity card
Account handling: Jerry Robinson
Copywriter: Ros Sinclair
Art director: Sean Thompson
Creative directors: Paul Hodgkinson, Andy McKay
Agency: Simons Palmer Clemmow Johnson
Objective: Relaunch Martson’s low-calorie beer
Account handling: Charlie Rudd
Copywriters: Rob Jack, Paul Shearer, Steve Coogan, Henry Normal
Art director: Paul Shearer
Creative directors: Andy McKay, Paul Hodgkinson
Agency: Impact FCA
Client: Cafe Flo
Objective: Attract diners and raise awarenness of Cafe Flo
Account handling: Jo Smith, Julia Gorrod
Copywriter: Dave Jennings
Art director: Andy Cox Creative directors:Ian Harding, Shaun McIlrath
Agency: Ammirati Puris Lintas
Client: Vesta Meals
Objective: Relaunch Vesta meals and make the public aware of the latest
Account handling: Sara Bennison, Clair Hassard
Copywriters: Nick Welch, Simon Wood
Art Director: Billy Mawhinney
Creative directors: Nick Welch, Billy Mawhinney, Tim Smith