A creative director's verdict on the most-recalled ad of 2009

LONDON - There are only three categories of TV ad: entertaining, useful and bad. Of the three, poor old useful doesn't get much of a look-in while we're raving about the hilarious or ranting about the terrible. Well, beware what you may be overlooking.

If I told you that the ad that scored the highest Adwatch recall in 2009, at 78%, was for an insurance price-comparison site, you would be thinking meerkats before I'd finished the sentence.

Top 10 ads with the highest recall in a single week in Adwatch 2009

So it is chastening to discover that the winner has not had his fluffy head in the tabloid newspapers, doesn't have a catchphrase and will not be coming to the soft-toy shelves in your local department store any time soon. Step forward and take a bow, Confused.com.

There is nothing in the TV ad to excite comment in the media village. It is a straightforward line-up of men and women, old and young, speaking to webcams and camcorders about how easy and beneficial the Confused.com website is, interspersed with close-ups of the site being used. It has the unremarkable sign-off: 'The choice is clear'. So what made it so memorable?

It is just very useful. The casting is credible and broad enough to feel relevant to most people and the demonstration of the site navigation is simple and clear. Importantly, the ad feels like the product claim - utterly straightforward and empathetic. In hard times, people are more wary of being ripped off and Confused.com comes across as a powerful ally.

It isn't going to hit the jackpot on YouTube or at Cannes. We are right to celebrate the good things that do, but it is also right to remember that, if a product has something very clear to say, we can do worse than say it very, very clearly.

Leon Jaume is executive creative director of WCRS




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