A look back at 2015.
By Adam Reynolds on Dec 15, 2015
If you came here expecting kind words about ladies exercising and a man on the moon, you’ll be leaving disappointed. The internet already groans under the weight of comment on those campaigns without me adding to the noise. Instead this is my take on a few ads that caught my eye in 2015. Some for the right reasons, some for the wrong reasons.
Let’s start with Lloyds Bank’s By Your Side. It’s more mood film than ad. We’ve got horses ploughing fields, horses on a beach, horses at weddings and even horses delivering milk. All rousing stuff, sound-tracked by the kind of music people buy while queuing up down ‘The Asda’. But what really gets me is the end frame: By your side for 250 years.
I keep looking for the massive caveat. The one that says: Apart from in 2009 when taxpayers had to take a 43.4% stake to stop us going under, but the marketing department didn’t think it really fitted with the tone of the ad.
Sticking with financial services, of sorts. I’ve written before about the often embarrassing way men are portrayed in ads. So I’d like to thank those crazy guys of the Ladbrokes Life for proving my point. With their zany nicknames and hilarious ‘bants’ the last thing I want to be is in their gang. Therefore the last thing I’ll be doing is placing a bet with Ladbrokes. I won’t even embed the ad it’s that awful.
Meanwhile, the star of this McCoy’s crisps spot rescues them from the same ‘lad brand’ territory they used to inhabit as Ladbrokes. I particularly like it when he drags himself across the floor like a dog with worms.
From crisps to cars. The Citroën DS3 1955 wins my inaugural Worst Line of the Year Award, for: Almost no chance the two will ever meet. For an ad presented as a time-travelling love story, trying to sell a limited edition car, it’s read in such a depressingly defeatist manner. They might as well have said ‘don’t bother, you won’t get one.’ And the lads down the dealership had their shiniest suits dry-cleaned specially for what they were promised would be a commission-a-thon.
Next up is probably my favourite thing of the year. It’s a video that ran online for Veterans for Peace UK, a voluntary ex-services organisation. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It might even make you spit out your tea. But in terms of delivering a message it’s hard to beat. The VO is by Matt Berry and thankfully it’s in stark contrast to his incredibly beige read for those flaccid Talk Talk ads.
Sneaking in at the last minute are Warburtons and the Muppets. Forget the ubiquitous sentimental guff that takes over screens from early November. Forget being told to show your Christmas spirit through #PowerOfDishCloths or some other nonsense. This is proper, unadulterated joy. Sure, the northern references are corny. But who cares when you’ve got Kermit and co singing the praises of giant crumpets. Oh look, it’s even got the product at its heart.
One last tenuous link takes us from Miss Piggy to a real pig in an Irish remake of an ad from New Zealand for Vodafone. It’s another one firmly focused on people actually using the product, rather than waffling on about evoking the brand DNA. Let’s hope that’s something we’ll see even more of next year.
Thanks to everyone who has read, liked and shared these posts over the last few months. The blog will return in January.