Adwatch (June 20) Top 20 recall: Pets at Home

Strategy behind relaunch ad is sound, but the creative work somewhat lets it down

Skip to table

Billy Faithfull, creative director, WCRS

My first Adwatch.

I love watching ads. Don't we all? No, we don't. People hate watching ads. They actively avoid it. I've keenly observed commuters pinching together double-page spreads in magazines, turning both pages together to avoid advertisers' precious messages. So, if people don't like watching ads, how can you make them?

There are too many rules and few easy wins. Create emotionally engaging advertising, make your insights insightful, yadda yadda yadda. However, none is quite so powerful as the old 'put a dog in it'.

Need proof? Consider that the Andrex puppy and Churchill the dog have a combined total of almost 500,000 'likes' on Facebook. I know both spokesdogs personally (no, you can't meet them), and you wouldn't believe how many people care about them so much that they knit them jumpers in the winter and wish them 'nighty-night', nightly.

So creative types (you know who you are) often try to convince me that a cuddly creature is a talisman for increased profit and a bulging share price; but imagine a brief for a campaign where 'put a dog in it' was the start point. Or rather, 'put three dogs in it, two cats, a lizard, a fish, a cockerel, a frog, a parrot, a rabbit and a guinea pig'.

Wouldn't that be the most powerful advertising ever made? Couldn't that advertising be so popular, so watchable, so darn cute, that it acquires artificial intelligence and we all vote for it to become prime minister?

Unfortunately not. Enter Pets At Home, number seven in Adwatch this week, with its beautifully shot, well-thought-through relaunch, in which (rather condescendingly) we're told what the idea is at the beginning of the ad as well as the end. 'Ninety two per cent of our staff have pets at home', says the voiceover, which is why you are then shown a series of vignettes of these lovely creatures with their owners' names and job-titles in the DOGS (digital onscreen graphics).

I find it very hard to be objective about Pets At Home, mainly because it's got a 'widdle bunny wabbit' in it, but I can't help feeling that this could have been the most popular ad in the world ever, part IV. With the better part of a circus on set, couldn't there have been a little more magic?

Imagine if they all lived together. Couldn't they all be taught tricks? Why not do a 'bring your pets to work scheme', turn all the stores into impromptu petting zoos, and shoot the ads then? When I was eight, I would have held my breath till mum took me to meet a lizard.

Credit where it's due, though. This is nicely crafted, friendly advertising with a persuasive strategy. However, it's just a little bit boring, and for one moment, I'd like us all to dream of what could have been when a lizard, a guinea pig and a cockerel walked into a bar.

Brand strategy verdict: 5 out of 10

Solid strategy mildly let down by slightly average creative work. Honestly, it's almost as if 'LOLcats' never happened (Google it).

Adwatch: Top 20 recall (20 June)
Latest Jun-13 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Ocean Spray  Arnold Worldwide/
Mindshare
62
2 (–) Pedigree  TBWA\Chiat\Day
, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
ZenithOptimedia
44
3 (–) Burger King  CHI&Partners/Initiative 43
4 -4 Aldi  McCann Erickson Manchester/
Universal McCann Manchester
42
5= (–) Aviva  Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/
ZenithOptimedia
41
5= (–) Cancer Research
UK
 
The Good Agency/
MediaCom
41
7 (–) Pets at Home  Krow/MEC 40
8 (–) Lloyds TSB  RKCR Y&R/MEC 37
9 (–) Subway  McCann Erickson/
MediaCom Scotland
33
10 (–) Hovis  Dare/Starcom 32
11= (–) Tesco  The Red Brick Road/
Initiative
31
11= (–) Comfort  Ogilvy & Mather/
Mindshare
31
13 (–) Corsodyl  Grey London/
MediaCom
29
14= (–) Dettol  Euro RSCG London/
ZenithOptimedia
28
14= (–) Müller  VCCP/MediaCom 28
16= (–) DFS  Krow/MediaCom 27
16= (–) Pilgrims Choice  Karmarama/
Rocket
27
18= (–) Marks &
Spencer
 
RKCR Y&R/
Walker Media
26
18= (5=) McDonald's  Leo Burnett/
Carat
26
20 (14=) Sky  Brothers & Sisters/
MediaCom
25

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

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
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