23/08/2019

Ad Break#14- Confusion, Ketchup and being Perf


Confused.com – Get past the confusion? 
Well I’m confused. The latest in a long campaign by Confused.com has the usual ubiquitous driver (played by Timothy Murphy) stuck behind a large vehicle dubbed 2019- The Year of Confusion. Yet the tone has altered from previous ads which understandably focussed on the dazzling amount of offers and products about. This time we are firmly in political territory as the confusion includes “votes about votes about votes” (a clear reference to the Commons votes earlier this year on different forms of Brexit), the circus being in town (Trump) and “another delivery”. The latter re- imagines Amazon’s famous symbol as a sort of monster. Quite how a comparisons website can get us past such issues is a mystery. I’m sure if they could MPs might have consulted them! 




Made by the Karmarama creative agency the ad seems aimed directly at the UK market and indeed is already being followed by a variation on the theme but with different targets this time including recycling, the weather and digital privacy. It results from research carried out by Karmarama which discovered UK consumers are confused about many daily topics including Brexit, recycling and climate change. You don’t say?! The fact that the company then believed it could meaningfully contribute towards these debates with an advert promoting their own product suggests some over –reaching to say the least. I’m not sure if you’d call the results misleading advertising or just foolish.
Talking about this strategy,Sam Day, chief marketing officer at Confused.com, said “We already know that our ‘Don’t Be Confused. Be Confused.com’ campaign resonates with people… We’ve put the name back into the heart of the campaign and reclaimed the concept of ‘confusion’ in connection with our brand. Now we’re taking it a step further and tackling some very poignant confusions head-on.” The company acknowledge they can’t actually sort out any of these confusions resulting in an oddly mixed message. Reports that senior officials at Confused.com are being brought into talks to avert a no deal Brexit could not be confirmed.




Heinz – Edchup 
If Ed Sheeran ever finds his music career drying up, a move into advertising may not be the best option if the latest Heinz Tomato Ketchup spot is an example. Based apparently on a real message the singer sent, it sees the check shirted icon in a posh restaurant. His food is delivered but he thinks it is missing something so he fishes a bottle of ketchup from his bag an act so shocking that staff and fellow diners alike freeze in horror. And, er, that’s it. Surely the pay off for this scenario is that the waiter grabs the bottle, takes it away and then returns moments later with the exact same bottle except it is on a gold tray suggesting that the product is acceptable anywhere. As it is the ad seems half finished.
Apparently the singer has long professed his genuine admiration for Heinz tomato ketchup to the point where even has a tattoo proclaiming it. To celebrate the advert’s release the company even released a limited edition `Edchup`.  Really, this is a thing. Will we perhaps next see `Sheersy’ advertising BEds?  


Surf- Perf with Serf 
If ever there was an ad that clearly set out to ingrain itself in our consciousness with a catch phrase it’s Surf’s latest. The washing powder used to be a regular advertiser but lately has either stopped or nobody has noticed. What better way to grab our attention then than by tapping into the reality tv vibe of the moment. The format has never been more popular and central to many shows’ success is the ordinary girl or boy whose seeming child-like lack of awareness of the world is their selling point (though not always a true reflection of who they are). Cue Dani Dyer, the confusingly named daughter of, er, Danny Dyer whose name only works in print. There she is, the archetypal Essex Girl repeating the catchphrase in a manner that has irritated some while amusing others. If you’re one of the people irritated by it, then the ad probably isn’t aimed at you. 

Washing up powder was once a busy battlefield for tv advertisers but is a difficult product to make interesting. Such ads used to revolve around how the latest version got dishes “even cleaner” than the last version which was supposedly “the cleanest clean yet.  Had they gone on the way they were we’d now be seeing ads with names like SuperHyperMega Clean. Besides how much cleaner than cleaner than clean can dishes be?

So signing up someone who, like it or not, is at the centre of the cultural zietgiest seems like a canny move by Unilever. They’re aiming it of course at a younger audience, the sort of people who avidly watch Love Island but still need to do the washing. The ad, created by adam&eveDDB. simply shows Dani in various messy situations – covered in foundation or  ketchup (hope Ed’s not watching) or getting sweaty doing yoga –but everything will be “perf with Surf”. Perhaps the funniest thing about it is seeing the online debates about what the slogan actually means with someone suggesting the product is called Surfect as in Perfect with Surfect!!
Some might suggest that doing a washing powder ad only a year after her Love Island triumph suggests Dani is already on the way out but people in her position seem to have a way of bouncing back especially as dad Danny is now the nation’s unofficial seer on all things. Maybe the two of them can work out how we can be “perf “with Brexit and sort out all that confusion. 


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