I blame Mark Earls.
For years, agencies have been telling clients that for their advertising to cut through, they need a bold creative idea. That in today's ultra-busy and ultra-competitive media landscape, the only way to be noticed is to push the very limits of taste to create a cultural disruption. That never-seen-before technical execution is critical to become part of the zeitgeist.
And you know what? They've been buying it. 'Surfers', 'Gorilla', the meerkat - these set the standard to which all TV advertising should surely aspire, right? Not least because ideas like these mean that we enjoy two-week shoots in South Africa, allexpenses-paid CGI sessions in Soho and the perfect springboard to careers in Hollywood.
So what on earth is Autoglass doing with its latest TV ad? Doesn't it realise that it might burst the bubble?
Here's what happens in the spot: a man looks worried about the cost as an Autoglass employee has to change his windscreen. By contrast, a woman notices a chip on her windscreen and uses Autoglass' mobile website to report it. The Autoglass man turns up and repairs it at the woman's hotel, while inside she gets on with her busy life. We're finally told that this is free.
That's it. No 'concept', big idea, comedy, poetry, technical firsts, art, or entertainment. Forsaking all of that, here's what it is doing: just showing people using the service. That's it. Can you believe it?
I think I know what's happened here. Someone at Autoglass must have read Herd. This is a book by Mr Earls and his smartypants friends, with their socalled 'social science', 'anthropology', 'economics' and 'evidence'. In it, he claims that people don't do what they are told in TV ads; that we are social animals and copy what we see other people doing. So, you can see Autoglass' thinking: let's show people using our service and maybe other people will copy them.
Well, that's all well and good, but it's no way to make memorable advertising, is it? It would be hope-lessly generic and boring, surely. What's that you said? Number two in the Adwatch chart? A total of 41% prompted awareness? Oh ...
Hey, but seriously. Made by Tellyville, the new TV arm of radio advertising agency Radioville, the ad continues Autoglass' established approach of using real people demonstrating the service, topped off with a jingle.
I'd imagine it achieves its recall through strong branding, by telling people something useful, and with brutally consistent messaging across every channel. It might not be sexy, but it works.
|Adwatch (June 15) Top 20 recall|
Euro RSCG BETC/
Abbott Mead Vickers
|8=||-9||Marks & Spencer||
Saatchi & Saatchi/
The Red Brick Road/
|13=||(–)||L'Oreal – Elnett||
Abbott Mead Vickers