She was the Queen of Carry On, then Queen of the Old Vic - the EastEnders' pub not the theatre - and now she's been crowned the nation's Queen of Bingo.
'Er Right Royal Babsness, Barbara Windsor, fronts (something she's always done very well) this 10-second spot for gambling website Jackpotjoy. She delivers her alternative Queen's Christmas message to the nation while offering something wot the other Windsor lot (surely some relation) can't: 'A little Christmas bonus, whether you've been naughty or nice.'
All right, so it's mixing Santa metaphors with Plantagenet gags, but I don't care - it's a laugh.
Before it came up for review, I had already clocked this ad on The Discovery Channel during one of my favourite shows - Mythbusters (or was it American Chopper, or maybe American Loggers?). Anyway, it works for me, because I'm struggling to recall anything else that happened except that poor bloke losing his toes when the chain on his saw snapped.
Using any celebrity in a TV commercial is not easy. You have to be very clear about the fitness of the individual persona for the brand values you want to project.
In the late 90s, for example, John Cleese was bolted on to a series of Sainsbury's low-price guarantee commercials and the whole campaign was... well, I'd be very surprised if anybody ever owned up to them. Cleese is funny, but his humour is based on irascibility and irony, which has limited appeal.
Jamie Oliver, on the other hand, is no comedian - except when he tries to persuade me to try frying bacon with conkers. However, he continues to bring enthusiasm, freshness and believability to the Sainsbury's brand: its recent trading figures reflect this.
Ace Metrix recently carried out research on 2600 commercials and found that celebrity spots do not perform any better than non-celebrity ones - in many cases, in fact, they perform much worse. In other words, be very careful before you invest big bucks in a huge personality.
Well done to Jackpotjoy for getting it right. Windsor is a great advocate for promoting the notion of cheeky, yet innocent, girlie fun.
Going back to the ad itself, I think the execution missed a tiny trick by not having a few bars of the real Queen's Speech music - and shouldn't the dog have been a corgi?
Of course, nothing I say here will be of the slightest concern to Jackpotjoy. It already boasts a DD presence in online bingo, with more than 25% of a £1bn market and I reckon this Yuletide ad can only help its cup runneth over even more.
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