ADWATCH: Ambrosia’s ride to success - Ambrosia has based its latest irreverent advertising campaign for Creamed Rice firmly on regional stereotypes, writes Robert McLuhan

A new burst of advertising by Delaney Fletcher Bozell for Ambrosia Creamed Rice has charmed viewers, but raised some political hackles in the West Country with its irreverent view of the region.

A new burst of advertising by Delaney Fletcher Bozell for Ambrosia

Creamed Rice has charmed viewers, but raised some political hackles in

the West Country with its irreverent view of the region.

The commercial features a Devon farmer astride a cow and singing the

praises of Ambrosia set to a reworked version of the Village People’s Go

West, as performed by 70s folkie spoof act The Wurzels.

The spot lasts 50 seconds, with a ten-second cutdown.

In the full version, the farmer appears on the platform at London’s

Paddington station, tucking into a bowl of rice pudding. He entices

jaded commuters to join him on the 150-mile trip to the West Country,

that wholesome place ’where they say ooh-arrh, and the sheep go


In the next shot, they stride over the green hills singing the chorus

over the strapline ’Devon knows how they make it so creamy’.

Ambrosia rice pudding is well-known and needs little in the way of

awareness, but even loyal consumers have to be nudged to keep buying it,

according to the agency. ’It’s one of the things people often include in

their shopping, but then the tins get forgotten at the back of the

cupboard,’ says account director Kate Clark. ’The ad is intended to

remind them how much they love it.’

The pounds 3m campaign, the first for four years, will run for a second

burst after Christmas. It is proving so successful it may be repeated

later next year, says Clark.

However, it picked up some unintended publicity by irritating local

politicians, who said that the country bumpkin stereotype would damage

their attempts to attract business to the area.

Don’t have a cow

The RSPCA rather ridiculously also complained, arguing that the ad might

encourage people to approach cows in the fields and try to ride


But the agency was sensitive to the problems, Clark says, and ran the

commercial past West Country viewers to check their reaction prior to

screening. The response was uniformly enthusiastic.

Meanwhile, eagle-eyed viewers spotted the station featured in the

commercial is actually St Pancras. No mistake, the agency says:

Paddington is being refurbished and currently unsuitable for


Ambrosia rice pudding first appeared 80 years ago and still holds 65% of

the market. It is made by Bestfoods, formerly CPC, which also makes

Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Pot Noodle and the Napolina Italian food


This year the brand received a facelift, with a more contemporary pack

design that reinforces the link with Devon.

’We wanted a dynamic, Nike-type style that projects a new image, but

maintains the heritage,’ says strategic business manager Yehudi


The move is part of a pounds 12m spend aimed at boosting consumption of

Ambrosia rice, custard and milk puddings. Ambrosia custards have 80%

market share, and last summer a new range of children’s flavours was

launched as part of a gradual shift toward single portions.

Advertising to publicise the new product is slated for January.

’The demographic changes are very relevant for us, and we are investing

a lot in people who are short of time, especially the young and old who

eat on the go or who live on their own,’ says Lipman.


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