Adwatch (16 March) - Top 20 recall: Has got a lasting strategy? ad lacks honesty ad lacks honesty

Promise of a happy, lasting relationship doesn't ring true in this testimonial-based ad.

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With all the anguish, sadness and bloodshed going on in Libya, we are reminded that we should never take our work too seriously. This is only advertising. However, Gadaffi's crumbling reign tells a story that is remarkably pertinent to marketers - bludgeoning people with your point of view isn't enough to sustain a happy, lasting relationship between a leader and his people.

A 'happy, lasting relationship' is the very promise of's TV ad. But for something that's trying to cultivate affinity, hope and trust, it lacks honesty. Testimonial-based advertising, although tried and tested, is over-used and easily misattributed. Watching this ad, I couldn't help thinking I was being sold a holiday to Benidorm. In addition, there was the 'try me for free this weekend' title that felt uncomfortable next to the real-life stories being told.

So, although the ad is tonally soft and authentic, it feels disingenuous, and I'm not sure there's enough here to sustain long-term interest. However, in true ecommerce ad style, with enough GRPs behind it, I'm sure it will drive an increase in direct traffic to the site. Job done?

I don't think so. A 'sentiment analysis' of online conversation shows the majority of brand comments are 'neutral'. There is a huge opportunity for to give its message depth and integrity. Why aren't the testimonials on YouTube? Or the people in the testimonials engaging in conversation with prospects to share their experiences and help them toward signing up?

Marketers today face the challenge of collapsing the space between what a brand stands for and what it does, in order to deliver positive personal experiences and peer-to-peer recommendation. looks like it has a way to go - between its TV ad and the company's search engine, there appears to be little out there to hold the hand of a most-likely nervous and lonely heart.

Ironically, the opposite is true of the mothership campaign by, which is closing the promise-fulfilment gap with its 'Going the distance' initiative. This campaign follows one couple's journey through the UK to find out what makes relationships work. Episodic in nature, the love story can be followed in more places than just the destination url - YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, for example. However, there's no positive halo for, because the campaigns appear to target different people and don't feel part of the same family.

On the upside,'s promise of 'a happy, lasting relation-ship' clarifies the benefit of its 'Apple-Genius-like' recommendation service and is a strong rebuttal against major competitor

Adwatch (16 March) Top 20 recalled ads
Latest Mar-09 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) DFS  Uber/Brilliant 48
2 (–)





3 (–) Disney Parks  Euro RSCG BETC/Carat 41
4 (–) Foster's  Adam & Eve/MediaVest 40
5 (–) Yorkshire Tea 

Beattie McGuinness

Bungay/MediaCom North

6 (–) Lotto Plus 5 

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/


7 -12 KFC 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

Walker Media

8= (–) Marks & Spencer  RKCR Y&R/Walker Media 30
8= -11  Mother/Initiative 30
10= (–) Garnier Nutrisse 



10= -17 Sainsbury's 

Abbott Mead Vickers


12= (–) Vanish Oxi Action 

Euro RSCG London/


12= (–) Müller  VCCP/MediaCom 25
14= (–) Kellogg's Special K Clusters  Leo Burnett/Carat 24
14= (–)

Cadbury Creme


Fallon London/PHD 24
14= (–) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 24
17 (–) Vauxhall Corsa 

McCann Erickson/


18= (–) Kinder Surprise 

Krow Communications/


18= -18 Currys/PC World 

M&C Saatchi/Walker


18= (–) HSBC  JWT London/Mindshare 20


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