Plusnet: What's not to like here? The ad presents a simple message executed with charm

Plusnet: a simple brand message told in a customer-friendly way
Plusnet: a simple brand message told in a customer-friendly way

There are too many character ads these days, but here is one that manages to entertain without detracting from its message.

Skip to table

That, for me, is the underlying strength of Plusnet's campaign.

For a challenger brand in a category dictated at best by price, and at worst by inertia, the key to survival is standing out in a way that makes people act. A big part of that is getting the proposition right.

To that end, Plusnet has maintained an aggressive price position complemented by other consumer-friendly features: UK-based operations, bundled promotions and award-winning customer service.

However, to get the attention of the largely passive broadband-using public, it needed an idea that would bring its difference to life. Cue Yorkshire Joe, a character who is disarmingly normal and personifies the simplicity of the brand perfectly. He enables Plusnet to convey a warm sense of good, honest Britishness and familiarity without being contrived.

Dewsbury-born comedian Craig Murray is an inspired choice to play the character - his authentic accent and warm manner are essential to carrying off this ad. His 'funny' credentials don't get in the way of the narrative like they can with bigger comedy names. In fact, Murray is a trained actor, and it's the combination of his technique and humour that gives the campaign its heart.

One of the joys of this campaign series is the consistency: the characters, the slightly random soundtrack, the setting - pleasingly taking it away from the domestic realm, which is so often the safe place to play for utilities companies - and the brass band. The Yorkshireness may have been toned down over time in favour of specific benefit messages, but, thanks to the consistency, the good, honest tone remains. These executions make you smile without trying too hard; and this latest ad in the series is no exception.

Once again, the message is clear, compelling and grounded in what people actually care about. Rather than be tempted to go 'techie' or dress the message up in complicated metaphor, Plusnet communicates fibre-optic broadband in an accessible way: superfast and super-affordable. Which brings me to what I like most about this campaign. It has never lost sight of what the brand is and why it exists. The 'why' at the heart of the brand is grounded in making it easier and more affordable for people to connect. Plusnet is a true customer champion, and this charming creative construct means that it's seemingly impossible to forget that.

It's there in every execution, within the characters, the tone and the clarity of the communication.

Brand strategy verdict: 10 out of 10

A well-deserved 10 out of 10. An effortlessly charming, simple and consistent campaign. Challenger brands take note

Adwatch (Oct 24) Top 20 recall: Plusnet
Latest Oct-17 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–) Comparethe
2 -5 DFS  Krow/MediaCom 43
3 (–) Knorr  DLKW Lowe/Mindshare  
4 (-) Andrex  JWT London/Mindshare 38
5 (–) Philadelphia  Denhams/PHD 35
6 (–) Furniture
Wordley Production,
7 (–) Plusnet  Karmarama/Maxus 28
8 -6 Wickes  MWO/Carat 24
9= (–) Santander  Havas Worldwide/
9= (–) The Co-operative  TBWA Manchester/
PHD Rocket
11 (–) Flora ProActiv  Adam & Eve DDB/
12= (–) Dreams  Re:production/Starcom 19
12= (–) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 19
14= (–) Mecca Bingo  Gravity London/Carat 18
14= (–) Heineken  Wieden & Kennedy
14= (–) Nestle GPS
(Kit Kat, Aero,
JWT London/Mindshare 18
17= (-) Weetos  101/Walker Media 17
17= (–) Talk Talk  CHI & Partners/M/Six 17
17= (–) UPS  Ogilvy & Mather
New York,
20 (–) YouView  Adam & Eve DDB/


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


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