Andrex: The toilet tissue brand's drive for social-media engagement has taken a personal turn

Andrex: are we a nation of 'scrunchers' or 'folders'?
Andrex: are we a nation of 'scrunchers' or 'folders'?

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

So, presented with this week's apparent luminaries of consumer engagement, I wondered which one to choose.

We all know that producing a campaign is a long, arduous and delicate process these days, so well done everyone. They're all winners, right? They're all out there, and this select bunch has registered sufficiently on prompted awareness to suggest a particularly astute piece of judgement by both client and agency, yes? Hmm.

Looking at the list, hopes of an easy 500 words of envy and praise for a new benchmark of bold, insightful and persuasive thinking were short-lived. Never mind, though; there are ads there that I can be positive about, and there's no point picking out the one-legged, asthmatic gazelle with cramp at the back of the pack. Far too easy. And not constructive.

Then Andrex goes and invites me to go online and tell it whether I 'scrunch' or 'fold'. Really? No, really? For crying out loud (whatever that means).

In the TV spot, we're presented with a series of individuals who proudly tell us how they wipe their backsides. Yes, proudly. Then we're asked to help good old Andrex in its online poll to find out whether we're a nation of 'scrunchers' or 'folders'.

Now, I'm a big fan of interactive campaigns that are deliberately controversial, igniting widespread public debate to ultimately build consumer advocacy.

But who honestly thought that anyone in their right mind wants to disclose or discuss, on social media, how they wipe their backside?

Whatever anyone does when on the toilet is about as private a subject as you get. That's why we put locks on the inside of the doors, for Christ's sake.

Yes, the campaign's been noticed - but for the wrong reason. From what I've seen, the consensus of online opinion is negative.

How on earth could it make people more predisposed to buying Andrex toilet tissue the next time they're trundling their trolley down the supermarket aisles?

We all understood the cute puppy dragging the roll of Andrex round the house - 'Soft, strong and very, very long'. Product benefit - hell, three of 'em. The puppy gave it a brand icon that's created immense, emotionally driven brand loyalty ever since.

Look on the Andrex Facebook page. There are random photos of similar puppies getting thousands of 'likes'. Meanwhile, as far as I could see, the new 'scrunch or fold' campaign seems to have a total of 157.

I would, genuinely, like to think that I've fallen into a clever trap. That I've got it all wrong, and in doing so I've inadvertently perpetuated attention to it. Whoops. And one day soon, the genius of it will be revealed and we'll all be lifelong Andrex devotees.

My fear, though, is that the example of some brilliant digital advertising ideas that created huge momentum, by harnessing the power of public opinion and the cost-effective vehicle of social media, has inspired something that just isn't going to work.

Brand strategy verdict

The intentions were good, but the insight wasn't. I suspect this will prove to be a quickly forgotten glitch in the popularity of a great brand.


Click here to read Helen Edwards on the Andrex ad.

table header Which of the following TV commercials do you remember seeing recently?
Latest rank Mar-01 Brand Agency/TV buyer Recall
1 (-)



VCCP/ZenithOptimedia 62
2 (-) McDonald's  Leo Burnett/OMD UK 56
3= (-) DFS  Krow/MediaCom 45
3= (-) Churchill  WCRS/MediaCom 45
5 (-) Aldi 

McCann Manchester/

UM Manchester

5 (-) National Accident Helpline 

CST The Gate/

Carat Manchester

7 (-) Flora Buttery 

Adam & Eve DDB/


8= (-) ScS 

Martin Tait Redheads/

Martin Tait Redheads

8= (-) Cadbury Egg'n'Spoon  Fallon/PHD 34
10 (-) BT 

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO/


11 (-) Direct Line  MC&C Saatchi/MediaCom 28
12 (10=) Sky  WCRS/MediaCom 27
13 (-) Renault Clio  Publicis/OMD UK 26
14= (-) Tesco 

Wieden & Kennedy/


14= (5=) Currys/PC World  M&C Saatchi/Walker Media 25
14= (-) Harveys  Enter/Walker Media 25
17 (13=) Gillette Fusion  BBDO New York/MediaVest 22
18 (-) Territorial Army  JWT London/M4C 22
19= (-) Andrex  JWT London/MindShare 20
19= (-) Ambi-Pur  Grey Dusseldorf/MediaCom 20

Adwatch research was conducted from 21-25 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 5550). Ads were compiled by Ebiquity (020 7650 9700) and Mediaedge:cia UK (020 7803 2000).


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