Adwatch (Nov 16) - Top 20 recall: Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett: Gethin Jones gets 'a bit Benny Hill' distributing loyalty cards
Holland & Barrett: Gethin Jones gets 'a bit Benny Hill' distributing loyalty cards

Ad promoting health-food and supplements chain's loyalty card inspires 'handout dread'.

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Every Wednesday, without fail, I approach Highbury & Islington Tube station with one purpose in mind. I'm quite a relaxed kind of guy, so I try to get there by about 8.07am, maybe 8.08am.

I try to mix it up a touch. Sometimes I approach from the Holloway Road end, sometimes from Upper Street. I've even been known, on a sunny day, to hit it head-on from the Post Office that sits at the front of the entrance, a kind of 50s shelter from the new millennium foulness that lies behind it (I really must stop reading Sebastian Faulks).

I do this because Wednesday is Stylist day. I don't know what the churn's like at other stations, but the same chap's been dishing out the fashion-forward freebie for the capital's chattering female masses there for as long as I can remember. He is a marketing master. He can spot a Miu Miu glitter boot-wearer from half a mile and, it being N1, he's not short of punters: by 8.25am he's done.

However, irrespective of my angle of approach or the time, he singles me out for a copy. Me - an ever-so-masculine, Doc Martens-wearing bloke. Every Wednesday. I hate him.

A colleague suggests it's because he recognises the metrosexual pioneer in me. My executive creative director suggests it's because he 'thinks you're a girl'. Whatever. The key point here is that I'm deemed, by The Marketing Master, appropriate for Stylist.

And so to this week's pick - Holland & Barrett's spot, starring Gethin Jones' teeth. The ad begins by introducing us to the concept of Holland & Barrett - 'well known for giving us great deals on health foods and supplements', it would appear.

From there we get into the real meat of the spot, which is the launch of the retailer's Rewards for Life loyalty card. The drama plays out fast and furious as Gethin runs around, a bit Benny Hill, giving out cards to all and sundry.

What does all this have to do with my being singled out as a rare male recipient of Stylist, you may ask.

Imagine you're walking about minding your own business or sitting sipping an over-priced mocha when, from nowhere, a man, whom you last saw stumbling through a passable Argentinian tango on Strictly, singles you out for a Holland & Barrett Rewards for Life card. How would that make you feel?

At least I can take some kind of positive spin from being deemed appropriate for Stylist.

A Holland & Barrett loyalty card? Do I look like a man who eats mung beans?

League Tables
Adwatch (November 16): Top 20 recall
Latest Nov-09 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1= (–) Gocompare.com  In-house/MEC 48
2= (–) Specsavers  In-house/MEC 45
2= (–) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 45
4 (–) Direct Line  M&C Saatchi/
MediaCom
42
5 (–) McDonald's  Leo Burnett/OMD UK 39
6 (–) Marks & Spencer  RKCR Y&R/Walker Media 37
7 (-) Holland & Barrett  Big Communications/
Big Communications
36
8 (–) EDF Energy  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
MPG
35
9= (–) Very.co.uk  VCCP/Carat 33
9= (–) Sainsbury's  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
PHD
33
11 (–) Virgin Media  DDB UK/Fifty6 31
12 (–) Next  In-house/MEC 30
13= (–) Mazuma Mobile  Koala/Acumen
Media Partners
29
13= (–) Jackpotjoy.com  (Beta)/Maxus 29
15 (–) NatWest  M&C Saatchi/
MediaCom
28
16= (–) BT  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
/Maxus
27
16= -5 Argos  CHI & Partners
/Mindshare
27
18 (–) Knorr  DLKW Lowe/
Mindshare
25
19 (–) Goodfella's  Mother/MediaCom 24
20 (–) WH Smith  DLKW Lowe/Carat 23

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