All together now, aah!

Watch the Andrex Puppy outtakes on YouTube here.

Every sheet of toilet paper is recognisable now they emboss the puppies on the roll.

And people don’t even call those puppies ‘labradors’ any more!

Now that’s what I call a successful brand.


Not so much bad, as boring :-(

In one ad break during The Princess Bride last night, I watched 12 ads (plus two by the film sponsor), and can hardly find anything interesting to say about any of them.

1. Dior Midnight Poison: Ah, the cryptic drama of perfume advertising. Perhaps inspired by the Baz Luhrmann and Nicole Kidman Chanel ad that’s more like a (Moulin Rouge-style) film?

2. Andrex: that famous puppy trailing miles of toilet paper behind a car. Would it really flow like that around the mountain roads? Or would it litter the lay-bys and tangle in the trees?

3. CocoPops Creations: With an ‘if you can’t say it, sing it’ jingle.

4. Recycle: With the delightful Eddie Izzard doing the voiceover.

5. Trailer for the film Superbad. Nope, doesn’t look like my sort of movie.

6. Brittania ‘Fair Play': another take on the building society versus bank debate.

7. Challenge Churchill



9. Love Calculator: what???

10. Pot Noodle


11. Robinsons Smooth Juice

12. Trailer for the programme The Sweetest Thing: Nope, don’t fancy that.



A classic from the archives (part 1)


The Volkswagen missed the boat.

The chrome strip on the glove compartment is blemished and must be replaced. Chances are you wouldn’t have noticed it; Inspector Kurt Kroner did.

There are 3,389 men of our Wolfsburg factory with only one job; to inspect Volkswagens at each stage of production. (3,00 Volkswagens are produced daily; there are more inspectors than cars.)

Every shock absorber is tested (spot checking won’t do), every windshield is scanned. VWs have been rejected for surface scratches barely visible to the eye.

Final inspection is really something! VW inspectors run each car off the line onto the Funktionspr├╝fstand (car test stand), tote up 189 check points, gun ahead to the automatic brake stand and say “no” to one VW out of fifty.

This preoccupation with detail means the VW lasts longer and requires less maintenance, by and large, than other cars. (It also means a used VW depreciates less than any other car.)

We pluck the lemons; you get the plums.


Very handy

In a recent blog post I mentioned three ‘rainy’ ads that all came along at once.

And before that I posted about three ‘boxy’ ads that ran in sequence.

Now I’ve seen two ads close together, that both use human hands to make objects, shapes and letters.

The first is from the Learning Skills Council: ‘Our Future. It’s In Our Hands.’

The second is Vaseline Intensive Rescue Lotion.

I remember reading an interview with Jennifer Connelly, who played Sarah in Jim (Muppet) Henson’s Labyrinth movie with David Bowie. There is a famous scene with the ‘Helping Hands’. They catch her as she falls, forming faces out of palms and fingers, and talk to her. It seems her son refused to watch the film because he hated that scene so much.

I know what he means. The effects are very clever, but also slightly creepy.

Despite that, things often come in threes (there’s even a ‘Rule of 3′ in marketing), so I’m now waiting for another ‘hands’ ad. Handy Andies anyone?


Weasel Words

Have you noticed how advertisers and marketeers pay clever copywriters (like wot I am) to write words that sound good but don’t mean much.

My favourite example is:

Nothing works faster than Anadin

(So take nothing. Coz it works faster.)

Your task is to listen out for such meaningless slogans, and unravel them. Don’t be taken in by clever copywriting!


Hoover. Biro. Argos?

Today’s topic is ‘brand names that have become part of the language’.

Argos are currently using the slogan: ‘Don’t shop for it, Argos it.’

How much better to say: “Don’t go shopping. Go Argossing!”

So when Fred (or whoever) asks Wilma (or whoever): “What are you doing today?”, she can reply: “I’m going Argossing.”

I dunno. Do you think it might ever happen?


Shouldn’t be allowed!

I was driving along listening to the radio, when I heard a siren sounding.

I quickly looked in the rear view mirror, both wing mirrors, ahead and all around, but I couldn’t see where it was coming from. No police car. No fire engine. No ambulance.

Then I realised it was a sound effect in an ad.

That can’t be safe, can it?

It was lucky not to cause an accident…


Square peg, round hole?

I saw a van for a company called Circle Something, with a logo that comprised three squares. Just imagine the conversation.

Designer: Here’s your new logo
Client: But my company is called Circle Whatever-it-is
Designer: Ah, but the element of surprise will make people remember it better
Client: Hmm, you’re the experts I suppose…


We live in a busy world, where we are bombarded with advertising messages from all quarters. We edit out anything that is irrelevant to us. We take short-cuts to help us remember information.

So a circle-shaped logo for a company called Circle Thingy, means we’d code the information both verbally (where words are stored in the brain) and visually (where images are stored), giving us double the chance of remembering it.

Surely that’s what good advertising is all about?


Isn’t it annoying

“Isn’t it annoying when you take your glasses and plastics out of the dishwasher and they’re still wet so you have to towel them dry?”

No, Finish Extra Dry Tabs (or whatever you’re called), it isn’t.

There are a million-and-one things in the world that are more annoying than having to pick up a tea-towel once in a while.

And one of them is advertising that makes absurd assumptions.

P.S. Your customers are lucky to have a dishwasher at all! I don’t. Pah.


If music be the food of love…

I went to see the latest Harry Potter film recently, with my ‘sort of’ step-daughter. As always, there were screeds of adverts before the main feature. And the film was great!

But I do miss the Pearl & Dean theme music that used to introduce the ads.

Baba baba baba baba babada, baba baba baba baba … da!

I used to tap the tune out on my boyfriend’s leg.

Ah, happy days!

P.S. Buy it at iTunes