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.

Skip to full table

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


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug