Good Ad Bad Ad
Greg Delaney, chairman and creative director of Delaney Fletcher Bozell, is our referee for two ads aimed at football fans
Monday 08 September 1997
This focuses on a Derby football game between Arsenal and Spurs - and I didn't become interested in this just because I happen to be a Spurs fan.
People are taking a great interest in the game: it cuts to a fan watching it on TV, and you can see how engrossed he is because you can see his tea spilling in slow motion while he's watching. What he's actually seeing is Ian Wright going through one Spurs player after another, and we cut to various other people who are equally engrossed.
Then, just as it looks like Ian Wright is about to score, we hear an announcer say "miss" over the public address system, and Ian Wright duly trips over and doesn't score. But then the announcer completes the sentence, which is: "Miss Ramsbottom - will you please report to the main gate immediately."
We then see that the score is 2-2, and we cut to see Arsenal and Spurs on the announcer's scorecard. The implication is that he was going to win the pools if he got one more score draw, and this is it. We then have the end-line: " - you could win a million. Get a result."
This is part of a whole campaign in which people intervene in a football game in some way to make it a score draw, and so increase their chances of winning. It's fun, and actually captures part of the joy of participating in the football pools - the interest in the outcome of a game for its own sake, and also the interest in whether it's going to give you that score draw. This device of a member of the public who can in some way affect the outcome of a game of football isn't realistic, obviously, but it's a lovely piece of advertising hyperbole, and it makes you laugh. It's a good idea, beautifully realisedn
I am a football fan, and therefore I should be the target for this kind of ad. I guess it is both trying to get new subscribers and to confirm that people like me, who already have Sky, have made the right choice.
Intercut with footage of football and some well-known players we have the actor Sean Bean telling us, in a very heavy-handed way, what football means - telling me what football means to me. He makes statements like: "It's ecstasy, anguish, joy and despair" and "It's a feeling that can't be explained." That last line is particularly interesting, because the whole ad is actually trying to explain the feeling, and failing.
Although it might be quite important to me whether or not my team wins, and I may well go through some of the emotions that are described in such minute detail in the ad, I slightly resent having the pompous iteration of all of the different emotions that football is supposed to engender in the fan lifted out for me to consider. It seems to be addressing fanatics, who are interested in football to the exclusion of everything else and who must be in a tiny minority, rather than the fans who simply go to games to follow their teams.
The tone of voice harangues and lectures me about the importance of football in my life, but it actually starts to make me think that if I agree with what this ad is telling me, I must have a rather impoverished life. Sean Bean is a very fine actor, but the portentousness of his delivery is counter- productive. At the end the ad says: "We know how you feel about it, because we feel the same way," but by that point I'm convinced they don't know how I feel. The Littlewoods ad demonstrates a lot of what this ad is talking about, but that one works because it's demonstrating and not talkingn
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