Personality. Some of us have it, some of us don’t. But if your product doesn’t, you can always buy it in.

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

Client: Marston’s

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

Become a member of Campaign

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a member

What is Campaign AI?

Our new premium service offering bespoke monitoring reports for your company.

Find out more

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an alert now

Partner content