Good Ad Bad Ad

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

Chris O'Shea, creative partner, Banks Hoggins O'Shea, on the effectiveness of raw emotions and the mistake of not recognising the viewer's intelligence

Littlewoods Pools


I've chosen as my good ad the set of Littlewoods sponsorship idents that go out before football matches on TV, and say: "Littlewoods - Supporters of the FA Cup".

The technique on display here has been used before, but it works very well. What they've done is place a hidden camera - or a camera that at least gives the impression of being hidden - in ordinary people's front rooms, showing them watching football on the telly. And you see these people - male and female, young and old - reacting to the match unrehearsed, yelling, screaming and shouting as one does.

Some of the spots only last about five seconds. One I like in particular shows a young lad sitting between his mum and dad watching a match. The phone starts ringing, and he says: "If that's for me, I'm not in." Another has two guys and a girl on the edge of their seats as they wait to see if a penalty has been awarded. They're all little magic moments like that, which would be impossible to script.

Programme sponsorship has been with us for a few years now, but it's only recently that people have realised that it's a potent area of advertising. Ninety per cent of these idents are still rather anodyne and idea-less, but each year there are more notable exceptions to that.

I have to say that I'm not a football fan, and detest the fact that it has become trendy in media circles at the moment, but these ads really stand out for me. And what comes across is that Littlewoods aren't just paying lip-service to the fact that they're sponsoring the programme. Big company as they are, they do understand the basic raw emotion that ordinary people feel when they're watching football. It's hugely infectious, and you feel a sense of kinship with Littlewoods, almost, for recognising this.

Wrigley's Extra

Bray Leino

I know I'm not the first person to choose a Wrigley's ad as a bad ad, and I won't be the last, either. Theirs is an unusual style of advertising: I wouldn't say Wrigley's insult the intelligence of the viewer, but what I'd say is that they don't realise the rewards that come from acknowledging his or her intelligence.

A young couple are in a department store, and the girl is trying on a dress in a changing booth. Her boyfriend, waiting outside, says his mouth needs freshening up, and she passes him some chewing gum. The denouement is the girl asking: "What do you think of it?" - meaning the dress - and the boyfriend thinks she means the gum, so he replies "Cool" - and she thinks he's talking about the dress. Ha ha.

I imagine this campaign has been designed to run in a number of countries, and because the sense of humour in Britain is not the same as it is in, say, Germany or Italy, it has had to go for the lowest common denominator.

Personally, I can never understand why people do pan-European stuff. The main reason given is always "economies of scale" - you can shoot one commercial that runs everywhere. But I suspect in practice that those economies are eaten up by redubs and recuts for each country, and all the European co-ordination meetings - in other words, executives flying round Europe and staying in good hotels.

Maybe, though, Wrigley's are cleverer than any of us. In my house, when this commercial comes on, my teenage kids cringe audibly and point excitedly to the screen, falling into paroxysms of laughter at the embarrassing badness of it all. They're enjoying it for all the wrong reasons, but nevertheless, they are watching it - so maybe Wrigley's are being very smart. That's an alternative theory. Having said though, I still think it's a bad ad.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Social Media Director (Global) - London Bridge/Southwark

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Social Media Director (Gl...

Personal and Legal Assistant – Media and Entertainment

£28,000 - £31,000: Sauce Recruitment: A Global media business based in West Lo...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice