I have been watching adverts recently and becoming more and more outraged and the type of advert that gets produced these days. There seems to be an increasing trend within so many companies of showing something interesting followed by a “Pan up” and “Insert logo here”. These are off the shelf marketing campaigns developing by an agency and sold to the highest bidder with very little brand recognition other than “High end clothing” or “Technology campaign”

The classic example is this years John Lewis and Marks and Spenser adverts:

Theory behind this

I know why this happens – an advertising company develops a campaign and wants to market it to as many different companies as possible and wait for the highest bidder. I just question the companies that pay for these things. Imagine the following situation:

  1. A group of company executives sit down and watch a load of advert examples. They decide on a marketing campaign and make an offer.
  2. A rival company might like the idea of the marketing campaign and then a bidding war might ensue.

My issue with this is that if two companies both think that an advert sells their brand then their brand cannot be very unique.

These companies should revisit their marketing campaigns because these adverts only work for one year only and whilst people might get excited by the “New John Lewis Advert” it would be better to have a brand and an ongoing campaign rather than a couple of one off “hits”.


Some good points

I did get some respect back for John Lewis when I found the making of video:

Good Examples

Now all is not lost. There are some examples of companies that aim for these one off peices of art as adverts but still manage to get a brand continuity between adverts.

Sony and their colour adverts are always a winning combination:

Cadbury’s have also developed a good marketing campaign with the “purple” idea behind it:

The Bad

Of course there are some extreamly bad examples of advertising using this method of buying an “Off the shelf” marketing campaign which is sold to the highest bidder. Both O2 and Three have tried these campaigns and both are as terrible as each other. I feel that O2 are going to throw a lot of money at their “Be More Dog” campaign, but I think that Three gave up pretty quickly on theirs.

Wrap Up

So all is not lost. There are some good marketing campaigns but it does annoy me that companies like John Lewis keep putting out the “Insert Logo Here” adverts. Either they have no idea what their marketing power should contain and they do not understand how to sell their own products or they are too lazy to develop their own campaign that would be truly bespoke.

There is a lot of risk in buying an “off the shelf ” advert, no matter how good it is, because if your entire marketing campaign revolves around one idea and it does not work then your Christmas campaign could easily fail.