20/08/2018

Ad Break #5 Delia, Kev, Facebook and Flash!


EE- Delia and Kev

Delia Smith was once one of the UK’s most influential people. She only had to recommend a saucepan or a pastry and millions of people would go out and buy them. Her books were best sellers and she occupied the sort of exhaulted position that is now the province of Mary Berry. Then after a couple of curious series about going back to basics and using tinned items she packed it in to focus on Norwich City football club of which she is the main shareholder. Famously in 2005 she took to the club’s PA to encourage the team shouting “Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be having you!” Perhaps EE believe her influence can still affect millions as they’ve hired hire to co-front their latest ad alongside the ubiquitous Kevin Bacon. Kev, last seen in David Mitchell’s family car in a safari park, can seemingly appear anywhere yet only be seen by one person. Here he wanders into Delia’s kitchen clutching a bunch of carrots. She’s watching football while stuffing a chicken and managing to also shoehorn “Oh, where are you? Let’s be having you!” into the scene. She’s even wearing a Norwich City scarf!



It could easily be the opening episode of a new sitcom. Delia and Kev. Or a double act Bacon and Smith. Baconsmith? Anyway Kev assures her she can get football on her “telly” (do Americans ever say `telly`?) for just £10 a month using BT’s new phonecasting service. Hang on isn’t it an EE advert? Are all phone companies in fact the same?

When the team she’s watching on the `telly` score she completes her catchphrases with a rousing “Get in!” while chucking the stuffing inside the bird. There’s also time for the campaign’s slogan “Who says you can’t?” I bet there are people fiendishly trying to find something EE can’t do just so they can quote this phrase back at them!
 I wonder if Kev stays for the chicken dinner? The advert doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with some people and it does rely on viewer recognition of someone who’s not been regularly seen on tv for over a decade. Launched earlier this month and made by Saatchi and Saatchi it isn’t likely to be seen for too long as EE’s ads appear to churn at quite a rate.



Facebook – Better connected? 
This has been running a while but won’t go away rather like some of the problems it addresses. Facebook doesn’t really need to advertise and rarely does so the arrival of a television ad comes as something of a surprise. Its an ad that- courtesy of a softly voiced amiable narrator- promises us Facebook has changed. Curiously this narration appears to take on the persona both of customer and service. “We didn’t come here for clickbait, fake news, data misuse and spam" he says as if he's a consumer  and then in the next sentence tells us Facebook has changed as if he's part of the company. Perhaps that's the clever message the ad is trying to impart- that Facebook and it's customers are the same. 
I can see why they went for this approach especially as FB itself has been inundated with messages of how they’ve changed. Not that they’ve actually changed that much. They may have shifted away some ads and fake news but they still have an irritating algorithm that refuses to place posts in exactly the order in which people posted them. If they really want to change the ad should say “And we didn’t come here to have our friends filtered in some supposed order rather than giving us the choice to see whomsoevers posts we want.”
Anyway doesn’t this ad confirm that what FB was being criticised for was actually true? After all these things did not really just pop up on our FB pages without the say-so of the company’s monitors. There was a time when they were pushing so much news- fake or otherwise- that I wondered if they were aiming to become a news outlet rather than a social one. Maybe a better, less cerebral approach to this ad might have been- here’s Facebook, this is what it can do for you in 2018. Simple, effective.



Flash Ultra- “Cleans up the impossible” 
One thing that Queen songs definitely have is the ability to adapt to almost any situation making them perfect for adverts. Last year we had the Dascia Duster car accompanied by the bass thump of `Another One Bits the Dust`, except re-written as `Another One Buys a Duster.` My favourite bit was when the posh couple watch the vehicle go by and sing “Hey, we’d better get one too!” And there was a furniture shop who used `A Kind of Magic`.  Now Flash which is one of the oldest products to have consistently advertised on TV have re-worked the song of the same name for Flash Ultra.  “Flash” they declare “Cleans up the impossible!”.  This ad features the shaggy dog who last time showered the kitchen with dirt which was miraculously cleaned up,  Now he seems to have  developed something of a smug attitude about dirt and grime. “Dave!” he sings, “That grease is going nowhere”. Dave however has other ideas as he does a real showbiz pivot to put the dog in its place by declaring “Flash! Ultra! It works miracles.” The song goes on “When you put Flash to the test, you’ll be feeling well impressed”. 

What Flash have successfully done with all their ads over the years is avoid the issue of the work involved. Yes Flash will clean up the impossible but not without some hard work from you. Wrap it all up with a singing dog and a fun tune and you forget such trivialities. Dave looks like he’s having a great time cleaning the kitchen.The ads work too because the dog is so brilliantly synced so it appears to be genuinly singing.
I remember Flash cleaner ads from way back in the mid- 1970s when veteran Scottish actress Mollie Weir used to advertise that they “cleaned baths without scratching”. The singing white dog has been around for a couple of years now; in the previous ad it was puzzled was to where all the dirt had gone. It was recruited to bolster the brand’s reputation for more recent generations. After it’s 2016 launch it was claimed it boosted recognition of the brand to 74% while the ad had over two and a half million views on YouTube. There was even a trending Twitter topic #Flashdog. Not everyone took to the mucky mutt however. In The Guardian  it was described as “a Frankensteins’s pet for our times” while one website called it “a crime against music”.  Others are more content to speculate on the breed of dog- a labradoodle – or who the actor who plays Dave is – Ben Heathcote. Nobody seems to know who the singer is though. Unless the dog really is singing the song itself? 

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