ADVERTISING & PROMOTION: ‘Bad’ ads do good business’

In the fall-out from Marketing’s annual survey of the most disliked ads of the year, the shampoo sector has been hit particularly hard.

In the fall-out from Marketing’s annual survey of the most disliked ads

of the year, the shampoo sector has been hit particularly hard.

In fact, it has been the industry’s three top-selling brands, Head &

Shoulders, Pantene and Wash & Go, which took the flak, generating

headlines including ‘Shampoo gets up people’s noses’.

Yet this year’s survey once again shows that annoying ads can also be

extremely successful ones.

‘Head & Shoulders has been the leading dandruff shampoo for 22 years,

which suggests both the product and its ads are highly effective,’ says

P&G spokeswoman Sally Woodage.

Younger consumers in particular have lashed out against Head &

Shoulder’s latest campaign. Seventy-five percent of 15- to 24-year-olds

said they hated the ad.

‘Maybe their denial of the ad is because they don’t want to admit they

have the condition,’ says Woodage. ‘But when they get it they know which

brand to pick.’

The general feeling is that consumers don’t have to like the advertising

for it to be effective.

‘We’re not interested in the clap-o-meter only effectiveness,’ says

Tamara Ingram, joint chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi, which

produced the Head & Shoulders ad, and Visa Delta’s unpopular Mel Smith


Eagle Star’s campaign, which launched two months ago, plays on the

perceived dullness of insurance. ‘It polarises opinions. People either

love it or hate it,’ says Mike Teasdale, planning director at Eagle

Star’s agency Ogilvy & Mather. ‘The test is whether people phone, and

calls are 28% up on the number achieved without ads last year.’

The presence of BT, winner of the top prize at this year’s Advertising

Effectiveness Awards, seems to prove that annoying advertising can

still be successful.

Often people dislike an ad because it targets a different market. A

prime example is the campaign for the Ford Ka - targeting an image-

oriented market. The research showed it annoyed 41% of 55- to 64-year-

olds compared with 18% of 25- to 34-year-olds.

In previous years, two beer brands, Guinness and Holsten Pils have

merited inclusion in the disliked ads league and in both cases the

brand’s market share dropped 1% during the ads’ run.

Foster’s - included in this year’s list for the ambiguous ‘Tickle it You

Wrigglers’ campaign - you have been warned.


Most unpopular ads


Head & Shoulders     50%

Visa Delta           40%

Fiat Bravo           40%

Wash & Go            38%

Pantene              37%

Ferrero Rocher       36%

BT                   33%

Eagle Star           31%

Ford Ka              30%

Foster’s             29%



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