Close-Up: Another year of adland grind, but do real people remember your work?

Campaign took to the streets in an utterly unscientific bid to discover whether this year's £19 billion ad booty has been money well spent.

According to the most recent Bellwether Report, released in October, UK marketing spend is growing.

In the third quarter of 2007, nearly 25 per cent of companies reported increased spend, while just 15 per cent reported a decrease - a positive balance of 8.3 per cent.

And with the flourish of campaigns in the run-up to the end of 2007, it is not hard to see where most of this extra money is going.

Not only did almost every retailer, high street or supermarket invest heavily in Christmas campaigns, but brands such as Sony, with "Play-doh", and Guinness "tipping point", (which spent £10 million on its latest offering, its biggest adspend to date) are finishing the year with epic advertising extravaganzas.

This isn't to say that all of the juicy ad feasts were saved for the end of the year though. Rewind back to early 2007 when a marketing first saw Al and Monkey, the ill-fated ITV Digital icons, return to TV screens to promote PG Tips. And remember that high-budget execution for Motorola, the cacophony of work for Sky, Skoda"s "Baking of Fabia", Brylcreem, Heinz, all those COI briefs. Oh yes, it's been a busy old year here in adland.

But as the industry slips into the usual seasonal Champagne and party haze, celebrating jobs well done (again), does the great British public agree that it's been another year of advertising triumph?

Campaign went out into the freezing cold December frost in Hammersmith in West London to find out from the punter on the street which advertisements stuck in their minds, which ones worked and which proved instantly and enduringly forgettable?

No surprises that Fallon's "gorilla" was generally the first ad that sprang to mind for most, although Marks & Spencer also made a respectable showing. And Citroen's robot car, now a veritable advertising veteran, also endures.

However, possibly more interesting was the fact that when put on the spot, most people seem to have problems recalling any ad they like. Or, indeed, any ad they don't like.

The truth is, dear readers (though, of course, you know this anyway), most of our respondents looked a bit non-plussed, shrugged their shoulders and shuffled off without being able to remember any ads at all. Happy Christmas.

JULIA IRELAND, 51, part-time school worker, and her sister Iris McLintock, 59, retired

Julia: "The Marks & Spencer Christmas one. The music and everything about it is really good. I especially like Antonio Banderas at the end."

Iris: "Oh yeah, I like that Antonio Banderas, too. It's also got all the clothes and things I used to wear years ago."

Julia: "But I bet they spent a fortune on it an' all. They really pushed the boat out this year."

Iris: "I'm actually wearing M&S, so I guess it worked."

SERENA LAKEY, 25, play worker

"The 'gorilla' ad has been the best for ages - me and my sister love it.

"It just looks amazing the way he's really getting into it, when he flares his nostrils to the camera and really hits the drums. It looks like a real person, not a gorilla.

"Me and my sister love ads and talk about them a lot and that one has really got us. In fact, I like ads more than I actually like TV programmes.

"Although, we really like the Corsa ads (The C.M.O.N.S.) as well. They're just pretty ridiculous, but really good fun.

"But we think the Coca-Cola work has been pretty rubbish recently; they need to sort it out. The Christmas ad was very poor."

SASHA MOORE, 22, mother

"I switch over when the ads are on, then flick back again when they're finished - I find them boring. I like the one with the gorilla drumming though, but I can't remember what it's for. We just sit there drumming along like idiots, it's funny."

COLIN MCFLANAGAN, 54, concierge

"It's got to be the gorilla. I just like the way it keeps you guessing until the end to know what the product is. It definitely works as a piece of advertising, especially at this time of year when you're buying lots of chocolate. If I go into a shop now and see a tin of chocolates, it makes you think: 'where's the gorilla?' and think of the ad."

NICOLA DAVIS, 35, IT service manager

"I do like the M&S clothing ads. I think I like them because I'm a fantasist and want to look like Erin O'Connor. But I don't buy M&S clothing. There's something about seeing old women rummaging around and picking up sweaters that puts me off. Oh, and I don't look like Erin O'Connor.

"I don't watch many ads though because I don't let my kids watch commercial television.

"I think the Barclaycard ads were my favourite. It's the one that gave me a real belly laugh - the post-watershed one that is, though."

JENNIFER EDWARDS, 48, works in housing

"I really like the one with the monkey. It just made me want to go out and buy the Phil Collins record - and I did, I love Phil Collins. But I didn't go out and buy Cadbury's chocolate. I like the Citroen car ad when it changes from a car to a robot to a car again. It would make me look at Citroens if I was going to buy a car, but whether I'd then actually buy one, I don't know."

ANNA JAOANKOWSKA, 22, security worker

"Probably the Dairy Milk ad. I just think the gorilla is really funny and it's strange to see a gorilla on TV - it looks so real. And the song's good too. I would definitely buy Cadbury's chocolate now because that ad really sticks in my mind."

JOE HARLAND, 34, radio producer (and son Noah)

Joe: "The Mighty Boosh trailer. I just think that it really stood out, and that's tough to do and it even appealed to my partner who hates The Mighty Boosh. It created awareness and actually got the message across and made me plan to watch it.

"We don't really let him (Noah) watch much commercial telly. He just likes the CBeebies, but that's the advantage of the BBC channels, they don't have any ads."

LAUREN CARTER, 22, student

I used to really like the Tango ads, but they're not really on any more, are they? The ads I really hate are those BT ones with the guy from My Family. I guess that would be my low point in the ads from the year.

I think that big Guinness ad was pretty cool, but then their ads are always really good. I don't think it would make me buy a pint of Guinness in the pub though, but it promotes the brand in a good way. It would be more likely to make blokes go and buy Guinness."

ALAN WARD, 43, business manager

"Probably the gorilla playing the drums. But I don't remember what it's advertising. I just like it because of the gorilla and the Phil Collins music.

"I really like the car that turns into a robot, I think it's for Citroen. But I wouldn't go out and buy a Citroen, that's for sure. I just thought it was quite a clever and artistic ad. My worst ad is definitely the Spice Girls' Tesco ad. It's just so tacky."

JOHN RILEY, 32, plumber and devoted Guinness drinker

"I think the Guinness ads are generally really strong. The most recent one wasn't brilliant like they generally are, but the one before that, the backwards one (noitulove), was great. However, I'm not sure how much good it does since I'm Irish and already drink a lot of Guinness.

"I think it'll probably work on other people, though - I can't see that it'd work against them."

Advertising in general though doesn't greatly catch my attention, there aren't that many ads that really spring to my mind when trying to think about good ones.

DARREN HYNES, 28, landlord

"I really like all of the Lynx work. The one with all the girls running towards the man on the beach was really good. But you know whatever they do is going to be funny and probably naughty.

"They're just easy to watch and make you laugh.

"I think they work as well because I do buy Lynx because of them - although I must admit, the Lynx effect has never happened to me on quite that scale.

"But it is becoming difficult to think of any other ads that really stand out to me, and I do watch a bit of TV. Although, I always remember the Lloyds work because of the song. It sticks in my mind, so I suppose that works in a way."


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