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Morrisons did a smart deal with ITV to associate itself with one of the media platform's most popular and familiar properties, that of "Ant-and-Dec" (who have lost their distinct personalities over time, so for the purposes of this we'll assume they are one and the same person).
The TV ads' focus on the "Market Street" concept is an attempt to take us back to a nostalgic vision of community, where the butcher, baker, and candlestick-maker all live and work in the village; where life is friendly, fair and wholesome. In these ads, the villagers are Dan (fish), Anthony (beef) and Andy (cakes) who guide our Ant-and-Dec through the real journeys of the fresh meat from the farm or the fresh fish from the quayside to its presentation in store on "Market Street".
Andy is in the bakery, and is "so hands-on" with Natalie in trading double entendres while preparing fresh cakes and doughnuts, that someone (Ant or Dec, it doesn't matter) ends up with cream on their face. An ambiguous endline, "More of what matters", leaves me wondering whether that is "quality", "value for money" or "choice" - so it's a cop-out and has no conviction.
My problem is this: I love Morrisons and I love the "fresh" proposition, but I don't love these ads. If you claim fresh, then behave fresh. There is nothing fresh about the way Ant-and-Dec are used in these ads; I have seen it all before. It needn't be so. In fact, a quick look at the other online content on the Morrisons website demonstrates how "Little Ant and Dec" are taught to make pizza and chocolate chip cookies by a Morrisons colleague.
How much "fresher" would it have been to use them in the ads: more modern, surprising and interesting to have them learning about fresh fish or the on-site bakery, while still preserving the association with the populist ITV property.
It pains me to say this, but Morrisons deserves something fresher with Ant-and-Dec than the stale routines on screen right now.Adwatch prompted advertising-awareness research was conducted during March and April 2013 by TNS as part of its twice-weekly OnLineBus omnibus among 1000 adults aged 16-64.
For details of the survey, contact Bob.Salmons@tnsglobal.com (020 7160 5581).
Ads were compiled by Ebiquity (020 7650 9700) and Mediaedge:cia UK (020 7803 2000).