Creative impulse

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The Independent Online
In an advertising first, Leagas Shafron Davis Ayer has persuaded Spanish car maker Seat to gamble half its UK advertising budget on a series of eight "soapverts", each of which will be broadcast just once. The pounds 2m campaign broke on 18 May, and each new 90-second episode will be shown in the same peak-time spot every Saturday evening. Directed by Geoff Posner (of Blackadder fame), and featuring Denis Waterman, Jean Boht and Jim Broadbent, the commercials will also have an unprecedented full TV listing in the press.

The client: Seat UK

John Holman, advertising manager

If we did a traditional TV campaign with the funds we have available, it would be forgotten after four or five weeks - crushed under the weight of other car advertising. We needed the campaign to have maximum impact, and with 90-second films like these, you can dominate the commercial break. We also wanted to show them round the same programme each week and get the same people watching: we're focusing on a particular section of the audience, rather than trying to reach everybody.

The ads reflect our brand positioning - that owning a Seat car is the most enjoyable and enlivening experience in the car market. We therefore wanted advertising that would be enjoyable to watch, and maybe make people laugh.

The agency: Leagas Shafron Davis Ayer

Steve Grime, creative director

We sought to reflect the car's Mediterranean origins - the ads are set in southern Europe - and bring out the flair in its design and name. Seat's sales are beginning to take off here, but they are tiny compared to other manufacturers. We're a David against Goliath, really, and so we needed something that would stand out - a way of making a TV car commercial different.

We thought a storyline stretching over eight weeks would make it stand out from other advertising; the films are more like a cross between a TV show and an ad. The car plays a vital part in the plot, and it's treated with a sense of humour. Many car adverts are very middle of the road, with cliched visuals of cars negotiating bends, say, but this is dialogue- driven, with a humour-led story.

We have to build on Seat's sales increase, and as these films will only be shown once, they are going to have to work as hard as nine or 10 normal ads. We haven't the financial means to throw rocks, so we're throwing a strategic pebble, hoping to create great ripples. It's an ad that should build its own following.