Adwatch (April 4) ) top 20 recall: The Guardian

The Guardian's take on the 'three little pigs'
The Guardian's take on the 'three little pigs'

Newspaper's clever satirical ad uses story of the Three Little Pigs to make its point.

Skip to table

I've read many fairy tales to my kids over the years. Favourites include classic and contemporary tales, from Jack and the Beanstalk to The Gruffalo. One recurring request was for the Three Little Pigs. This simple yet terrifying story of the wolf at the door always quickened pulses and often reduced the little 'uns into gibbering wrecks just before bed.

Fairy-tale-induced insomnia - just whose idea was it to make these tales so bloodthirsty? Anyway, for the most part, I attribute the children's sleeplessness to the fact that I modelled my 'Wolf' on Jack Nicholson's Jack Torrance character in The Shining as he approached the bathroom, axe in hand, manically informing his wife Wendy of his intention to 'Huff and puff', etc.

This was, of course, ill-advised on my part, but the truth remains that in most cases, fairy tales warm the heart for their ability both to delight and terrify.

The Guardian's first major brand positioning TV ad for 25 years uses the story of the Three Little Pigs to launch open journalism, its fresh editorial approach. Led by editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger, 'open journalism' encourages a democratisation of the news. The idea is not new, especially as the growth of mobile and social technologies have transformed the delivery of news. This ad is The Guardian's attempt to jump into the middle of this space and claim it as its own.

Executed as a 'mockumentary', the ad cracks open the case of the Three Little Pigs as it might be covered by today's media, complete with the twists and turns of the story as it unfolds. It's a gripping farce that, despite its absurd content, gives a realistic view of the media today through a fast-paced montage of newspaper headlines, tweets, TV bulletins, mobile phone footage, social-media updates, the lot.

When I first saw the ad I was gripped, mostly in joyous disbelief, a big smile fixed to my face. I found it reminiscent of a Charlie Brooker drama with a nice nod to The Guardian's 'Points of View' ad from the 80s. It was the first ad I'd seen in a long time that made me sit up and watch right to the end. There's been some debate over whether the seriousness of the paper is compromised by the humorous plotline, but I don't think it has. The fact that it makes a serious point with fairy-tale characters works well; it is knowingly entertaining and nicely satirical.

Brand strategy verdict: 7.5 out of 10

Will this bring home the (ahem) bacon? Well it's all very Guardian and, therefore, it's difficult to know whether it will attract new readers or merely reconfirm believers. However, it may convince those sitting on the fence to move off it.

Adwatch - Top 20 recall
Latest Mar-28 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Direct Line  M&C Saatchi/MediaCom 62
2 (–)

Philadelphia –

Choccy Philly 

JWT London/PHD 52
3 (–) Yorkshire Tea 

Beattie McGuinness Bungay/

MediaCom North

40
4 (–) Dyson  In-house/PHD 35
5= (–) Virgin Media 

Fifty6, Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

Fifty6

32
5= (–) Uncle Ben's  CLM BBDO/ZenithOptimedia 32
7= (–) Persil 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

MindShare

30
7= (–) eBay 

DDB Düsseldorf, DDB UK/

Carat

30
9 (15=) Currys/PC World  M&C Saatchi/Walker Media 29
10= (–) Bisto  McCann Erickson/Starcom 27
10= (–) Moonpig.com  Wordley Production/MNC 27
10= (–) National Lottery 

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/

OMD UK

27
13= (–) Whiskas 

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/

ZenithOptimedia

26
13= -8 Sky TV  Digital & Direct/MediaCom 26
15= (13=) Homebase  Leo Burnett/Mindshare 24
15= (–) The Co-operative 

TBWA Manchester/

PHD Rocket

24
15= (–)

Kellogg's Rice Krispies

Rocky Road Bar 

Leo Burnett/Carat 24
18 (–) The Guardian 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

PHD

23
19= (–) Lynx Attract 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

Mindshare

22
19= (–)

Cancer Research UK 

The Good Agency/

MediaCom

22

Discussion

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

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
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
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers