CLOSE-UP: THE PEOPLE’S JURY; Punters love those tacky ads

Consumers couldn’t care less about artistic values, according to Harriet Green

Consumers couldn’t care less about artistic values, according to Harriet


It’s easy to be snooty about the great unwashed - the people who

actually watch the ads - but it’s dangerous too. In the first of a new

monthly series, we discovered that the ads that are popular are those

that stir up some empathy in viewers - which often means the ads that

contain famous characters or follow simple storylines.

Take, for example, the films for Kenco and Somerfield, which may be

castigated by the industry, but which really strike a chord with

viewers. Ignoring the tried and trusted measures, recall and awareness,

Campaign set out to find which, out of the crop of current ads, the

public really likes.

We selected 20 new mainstream ads, or ads that were newly back on air,

and asked punters to mark how much they liked them by giving each ad a

score out of ten, where the higher the figure, the more likeable the ad.

Audience Selection carried out the telephone interviews between 12 and

14 April, selecting 1,000 adults representing a cross-section of the

population by age, class, sex and geography.

So, on to the results. M&C Saatchi and WCRS take joint top position this

month as the agencies with the popular touch. M&C Saatchi’s British

Airways ad, which shows a businessman blissfully rocking in his mother’s

arms, clearly didn’t raise too many worries about dodgy Oedipal

practices - viewers liked it enough to award a mean average score of 6.4

out of ten.

Equally popular was another celebrated crowd-pleaser, Carling Black

Label. WCRS’s ad takes a humorous swipe at rival foreign brands. It

opens with a brash American being introduced to a perfect, virtual

reality pub, complete with a stunning, virtual reality barmaid. Not

surprising then, that more male viewers gave this the thumbs up than


Another ad written off by the industry as lacking brilliance, the widely

scorned Vectra spot from Lowe Howard-Spink, again comes good in the

light of our research. Viewers gave it 6.1.

Next, with a score of 6.0, came Publicis’s Renault Megane spot featuring

a laddish, talking car. Oddly, for such a sexist ad, it can be said that

women lapped it up. Eight per cent of women gave it the full ten out of

ten; only three per cent of men did the same.

Sharing fourth place with the Megane, was Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO’s

Pizza Hut execution starring Damon Hill and Murray Walker, and the

latest spot from the long-running Kenco saga starring Cheri Lunghi. The

Birds of a Feather star, Lesley Joseph, in Butler Lutos Sutton

Wilkinson’s Somerfield ads, was a clear favourite, scoring a healthy


And at the bottom of the list? Well, there was an obvious casualty -

WCRS’s campaign to promote the flotation of Railtrack. Maybe no amount

of arty shots of railway lines, tunnels and bridges was going to give it

a chance.

But the viewers’ favourite ads were not necessarily the ones that most

persuaded them to buy. Viennetta came 15th with a score of 5.3 in our

‘likeability’ list, but rocketed to the top in ‘propensity to buy’, with

43 per cent of the sample saying they would be inclined to buy it.

British Airways scored highly both ways; Kenco, with 37 per cent, and

Shredded Wheat, with 35 per cent, also scored well. At the bottom was

the newly launched Renault Megane and the Toyota Paseo with 7 per cent.

To be fair, of course, cars are not everyday purchases.




We asked our people’s jury whether the advertising was more likely to

encourage them to buy or use the product

Ad                       % likely to buy

Viennetta                      43

British Airways                39

Kenco                          37

Shredded Wheat                 35

Pizza Hut                      29





Rank  Ad campaign                Agency                           Points

 1=   British Airways            M&C Saatchi                        6.4

 1=   Carling Black Label        WCRS                               6.4

 3    Vauxhall Vectra            Lowe Howard-Spink                  6.1

 4=   Renault Megane             Publicis                           6.0

 4=   Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust    Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO           6.0

 4=   Kenco                      J. Walter Thompson                 6.0

 7    Somerfield                 Butler Lutos Sutton and Wilkinson  5.8

 8=   Shredded Wheat             McCann-Erickson                    5.7

 8=   Toyota Paseo               Saatchi and Saatchi                5.7

10=   KP Roysters                Publicis                           5.6

10=   Castrol GTX                Bates Dorland                      5.6

10=   Orange                     WCRS                               5.6

13    McDonald’s Big Breakfast   Leo Burnett                        5.5

14    Equitable Life             Bainsfair Sharkey Trott            5.4

15    Wall’s Viennetta           McCann-Erickson                    5.3

16    Vision Express Sunglasses  McCann-Erickson                    5.1

17    Kellogg’s Sustain          Leo Burnett                        5.0

18    First Direct               WCRS                               4.8

19    News of the World          Simons Palmer                      4.4

20    Railtrack                  WCRS                               4.3

SOURCE: Audience Selection. Further information and copies of the full

results are available. Tel 0171-608 3618