Giving Gio Compario a run for his money in the irritation stakes a simple message dressed up in an irritating, but possibly appropriate way a simple message dressed up in an irritating, but possibly appropriate way

Marketing's unique weekly analysis of ad recall in association with TNS.

The 20-second commercial, which brings to the fore the company's Valentine's Day card offering, is a brave, deeply profound and well-timed Orwellian allegory, which offers a release from the dystopian newspeak that currently plagues our country.

The delicate and tasteful anthropomorphism of one of Britain's most disliked creatures, into a dynamic character of Shakespearean accent, who falls in love with a 'pigeoness' wearing trainers, tells a deeper story of a country lifting itself from the gutter and finding it possible to love once again.

The story tackles the difficult issues of social mobility, and the ephemeral nature of being against a backdrop of a declining middle class fearful of losing face. It provides a glimpse of a brighter future - where love is available for £1.79. The mise en scene is powerful, and the beauty of the animated hearts, which flow from the central characters throughout, are matched only by the pathos evoked by the narrator and the subtle soundtrack deployed to truly render our inquisitive minds open.

Furthermore, the dramatic irony of the story is gripping, and works in duality. It's as if the pigeon knows the viewers will discover true love, too.

I applaud also the verbal irony that drips from the single-word soliloquy in the final act, which I believe goes some way to washing away all the external conflict that builds throughout the story. The plot, which initially appeared complex, has given way to a beautifully simple yet powerful message. Love is all that will survive.

On second viewing, the ad appears to be a fairly crude, slightly ridiculous and immensely irritating attempt to indelibly imprint the company name on the minds of its innocent and unsuspecting audience. An ad that, although possibly very effective, joins the likes of Crazy Frog, Gocompare, and at the bottom of the advertising food chain. No doubt this was the strategy.

Brand strategy verdict

A simple message dressed up in an irritating, but possibly appropriate way. No doubt it will be effective in the short term; but I'm less confident about the long term.


Which of the following TV commercials do you remember seeing recently?
Latest rank Feb-20 Brand Agency/TV buyer Recall
1 (1) Virgin Media 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/


2 (-) Knorr Stock Pot 

DLKW Lowe/


3 (-) Aviva 


Zenith Optimedia

4 (-)



DLKW Lowe/


5= (-) Tesco 

Wieden & Kennedy/


5= (-)

The Health


In-house/Mediacom 39
7 (-) Asda 

Saatchi & Saatchi/


8 (-) Buscopan  Grey Australia + Young & Rubicam/Mindshare 36
9 (-) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 35
10= (-) L'oreal (True Match) 

McCann London/

Zenith Optimedia

10= (-) Direct Line  M&C Saatchi/Mediacom 34

Adwatch research was conducted from 14-18 February 2013 by TNS as part of its twice-weekly OnLineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64. For details of the survey, contact (020 7160 5581). Ads were compiled by Ebiquity (020 7650 9700) and Mediaedge:cia UK (020 7803 2000).

Which of the following online ads do you remember seeing recently?
Latest Rank Jan-30 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
1 (-) British Gas 

Waste Creative/


2 (-) PayPal 

Krow, in-house/

Havas Media

3 (-) Churchill 

MRM Meteorite/


4 (1) eBay  Add2/Essence Digital 25
5 (-) Direct Line 

MRM Meteorite/


6= (9) 



6= (-) Head & Shoulders 



8= (-) Sky 



8= (-) (-) Sainsbury's 

Bank Whitespace/

UM Manchester

10 (-) (-)






Adwatch research was conducted from 5-7 February 2013 (November and December internet advertising) by TNS as part of its twice-weekly OnLineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64. For details of the survey, contact (020 7160 5581). Ads were compiled by Ebiquity (020 7650 9700) and Mediaedge:cia UK (020 7803 2000).


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