Adwatch (24 May): Top 20 recall - Sky rides high

Sky's latest campaign involves England's mythical king
Sky's latest campaign involves England's mythical king

The brand's latest TV ad is a first step toward adding more humanity and charm.

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I love Sky. I love it partly because I worked on the account for years and was paid decent money to love it.

I mainly love it, though, because the product is so damn good and the technology works so beautifully.

I have to admit I am currently slumming it with Freeview but that's only because I lost custody of my precious Sky+ box in a divorce settlement and I fully expect normal service to be resumed once I move out of the cardboard box.

However, if we are all honest, Sky's advertising has never hit the creative high notes. Maybe it has never been that interested in creativity in communications (it's a hugely creative business of course) because it has so much damn cash that the effectiveness of its advertising is much less dependent on cut-through and entertainment than it is for mere mortal brands. This is a shame because, given its colossal spend, advertising offers Sky a powerful platform to add humanity and charm to the brilliance of its brand.

The King Arthur work is a step in all the right directions. Created to support the Sky Anytime+ proposition, the ad uses the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table to communicate the on-demand movie and TV service that a Sky+HD box with Sky Broadband brings to subscribers.

Why King Arthur? Well I'm not entirely sure, but recreating Avalon lends the ad a nice filmic quality that underscores the product and, to be honest, is just a little bit fresh for Sky.

I mean, every fibre of its being must have been itching to create a visual metaphor for the way the Anytime+ service works, as this is what every technology brand seems to do with a new product brief.

Instead, we have a rather charming little story about England's mythical king and a pretty decent gag when Lancelot offers to show Guinevere his on-demand service, fnarr fnarr.

For my money, I would have dumped the John Hurt voiceover.

I bet Sky feels he helps attribution as the perennial voice of the brand but only in the same way that the 'mind the gap' woman reminds you you are on London's Underground.

The ad ends with its brand-line of some years now, 'Believe in better'.

I have always thought that this is a stunning summation of the Sky brand and have been looking for a forum to hat-tip WCRS for cracking it, since I never did.

And how else can you tell it's bloody good? Because it's still there after four years, mighty impressive for a brand that has traditionally been extremely promiscuous with its brand-lines and campaigns.

Adwatch (24 May) Top 20 recall
Latest May-19 Brand Agancy/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Coca-Cola 

McCann Erickson Spain,

McCann Erickson Romania/


2 -2 Sky  WCRS/MediaCom 46
3 (–) DFS  Uber/Mediacom 40
4 (–) Tesco F&F 

The Red Brick Road/


5 (–) British Gas  CHI & Partners/Carat 36
6 (–) Vision Express  Dare/Walker Media 34
7 (–) Cuprinol 

McCann Erickson/


8= (–) Boots  Mother/OMD UK 31
8= (–) Calgon 

Euro RSCG/Zenith


10 (–)



Mother/Initiative 29
11= (–) Wall's Cornetto  Lola/Mindshare 28
11= (–) Nicorette 

Abbott Mead Vickers


13 (–) National Lottery Thunderball 

Abbott Mead Vickers


14= (–) Colgate 360  Y&R Paris/MEC 25
14= (–) Renault  Publicis/OMD UK 25
14= (–) Airwick 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/


14= (–) Harveys  Velvet TV/Mediavest 25
14= (12=) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 25
19= (18=) Argos  CHI & Partners/Mindshare 24
19= (–) SCS Furniture 

Martin Tait Redheads/

Martin Tait Redheads



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