Pirelli Tyres Young and Rubicam

There was a Pirelli poster some time ago of Carl Lewis at the starting blocks in a pair of high-heeled shoes, bearing the line "Power is nothing without control". It was a nice poster, but it could have been for any car tyre. Actually, if you tune into the Grand Prix, say, you will realise that brands of car tyre are very different from one another.

There was also a TV commercial featuring Carl Lewis, which again did nothing to underline that. There were lots of special effects, but you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was an ad for a sports shoe.

This new commercial had a huge budget, and took about six weeks to shoot, but it's really exactly the same commercial as the last one, except that it uses a female athlete instead. Her name is Marie-Jose Perec, and she's a double Olympic gold winner, but who has heard of her? Carl Lewis, on the other hand, is an icon of our times. And whereas the line "Power is nothing without control" made sense on the Carl Lewis poster, it doesn't make sense next to the idea of having Pirelli tread on the soles of Marie- Jose Perec's feet. It would help her take corners, but it wouldn't help her run in a straight line, or away from avalanches, as she does in the ad.

It all strikes me as a monumental waste of money. You can't even see the athlete on show particularly well, and it's nowhere near as clever or shocking as the previous ad. Just as, when the film Jaws was such a success, someone suggested making a Jaws 2, they have basically made the first ad again, but a good deal less effectively. It's just big advertising for the sake of big advertising.

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