Advertising Strategy / Opinion

Two diametrically opposed ad rants

Let me be honest. I’m about to criticise one advert for being brilliant and one for being eye-poppingly awful.

I’ll probably offend both agencies, but I really don’t care.

Let me begin with Haribo, whose latest offering is hawking their Super Mix product:

In what world did this get signed off?

OK, it’s probably aimed at seven year old girls (which I’m not). But, really?

The awfulness starts with the faux-reality of the setting.

It continues into the off-key singing. Which is so off-key that it could only have been planned at this level of awfulness.

I can’t sing any more than a cat in a bag can get through an aria, but I could have sounded better than that.

And what makes it worse, what really, really hacks me off is the karaoke wording underneath.

In what universe are we meant to sing along to this? In fact, if I was a parent, I would make it a condition that if my progeny uttered even one note of this disastrous ‘song’, they wouldn’t eat Haribo for a year.

In its defence, it’s obviously made for a British market – English shop sign wording, right hand drive car. So worry not, my colleagues from around the world, you won’t have to sit through it.

Compare that terrible work to the last offering:

This advert works.

It’s memorable, funny, silly and slightly, just slightly, scary. It underlines the “Kids and grown ups love it so” tagline and captures attention pretty well.

OK so it’s not the best advert in the known world, but it works.

And now, for something completely different where I criticise an advert for being brilliant.

This offering is from Twinings, promoting their tea range:

So what’s wrong with this?


The conception is brilliant.

The track is incredibly beautiful and haunting. The lyrics actually mean something.

The animation is sumptuous and timed perfectly to the music.

Overall, it’s stunning.

The problem is that it is for Twinings.

As the advert aired, I was captivated. Trying to second guess the potential brand, I headed off in the direction of BUPA, Macmillan Cancer Care and so on – services which, in other words, make a real, deep, difference to people’s lives.

I wanted it, willed it, to deliver a pay-off so staggering that I’d be compelled to take action.

Instead, I felt let down by the fact that such a gorgeous advert is for a tea company. The fact that I don’t actually like Twinings Tea that much made it worse (but really is neither here nor there).

It feels strange berating an advert for being brilliant.

After all, it’s not the advert’s fault. I just wish, with every fibre of my being, that such a superb concept was created for something that really matters to society.

And because it didn’t, I actually felt let down.

Having said all of that, Twinings do have a reputation for good adverts. Check out their previous ‘Waterfall’ offering:

That one impressed me – great idea, great (and not easy) execution.

I can’t be too harsh on Twinings for producing something stunning where the only let down is the fact that it’s hawking teabags. And the brand is building up a track record of interesting work.

I just wish that all of the creative juice behind “Gets back to you” was impelling me to do something more profound than switch tea brands…


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