Media: Good Ad Bad Ad - BT Lemon Surf

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around.

Dave Waters, creative director, Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, thinks famous faces are effective only when they add something relevant to the message. Interview by Scott Hughes.


Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Kenny Dalglish is walking around his home, making phone calls. You think at first he's talking to the football team: he's saying things like, "Thanks once again for last Saturday", and, "Let's hope for the same again next week". His daughter comments that he doesn't usually phone the players like that. He says he's not phoning the players; he's phoning the crowd, to thank them individually.

The product being advertised here is an extra calls sale, so the idea couldn't be more right. The whole script is based on making more calls than usual; here you have Kenny Dalglish making 30,000-odd phone calls. Also, on current form, I think Kenny Dalglish should be thanking the crowd, because they've given him unconditional support at a time when the team hasn't been playing very well. It's just perfect for the time.

It's also shot well, and it's got a couple of good jokes. There's one where Kenny is out in the garden making a call, and accidentally kicks a ball over the fence, smashing something; and another where he phones someone who doesn't know who he is. ("It's Kenny Dalglish ... Kenny. Dal- glish.")

I've never found Kenny Dalglish that appealing a manager, but having watched this ad I came away really liking him. Until now, I didn't know he had a sense of humour; he's always come across as very dour. He also acts his part well - and he's been used for the right reasons. If you're going to use a personality, you need to use them because they enhance an idea, not just because they're a personality.

Lemon Surf

Ammirati Puris Lintas

In this ad, the use of personalities doesn't enhance the idea. Surf have used the Birds of a Feather girls in their ads for a while now, and to begin with they must have used them for a reason. Now, I think they've lost sight of why they started.

This one is set in a supermarket, where a salesgirl is doing a pitch for Lemon Surf, with Pauline Quirke listening - in fact, that was the only clue to me as to what the ad was for. Then in walks Linda Robson, at which point Pauline panics and unplugs the salesgirl's microphone, before going to the shelf and trying to hide the packets of Lemon Surf behind packets of ordinary Surf. When Linda comes up to her, Pauline passes an ordinary packet to her, and hurries her out of the store.

The fundamental reason why I don't like this ad is that I don't understand it. Why shouldn't Linda see the Lemon Surf? I quite like these girls, but I like them when they're in Birds of a Feather, and I understand what the parameters of their relationship are. In this, I just don't; maybe I've missed something.

I don't want to be rude about it: it's shot well enough, and the acting is OK. But if you don't know what you want to say about your product, then you shouldn't advertise. I think they'd have been better off letting the salesgirl in the supermarket do her pitch and just filming that, because at least she had something to say about the product ("Fantastic whites, with natural lemon") before the plug was pulled on her.