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“Foster’s for breakfast”, in my student days, was shorthand for a certain type of holiday. A type of holiday whose opening ceremony would be a few early morning pints of the Amber Nectar in the airport lounge. The breakfast of champions.

Well Foster’s has replaced the early morning pints with Mid Morning Moments, a series of webisodes starring Steve Coogan as waning (waned?) radio presenter, Alan Partridge.

The first webisode has enjoyed over half a million views on YouTube at the time of writing, but the viewing figures have gradually fallen away for the subsequent clips – down to 220,000 for episode 6.

That’s still pretty respectable and the content, written by Armando Iannucci and brilliantly performed as ever, is good. Partridge’s star has fallen even further from when we last saw him. He’s now presenting for North Norfolk Digital Radio.

Today we’re talking condiments…

And there’s one priceless moment in the first episode when he mistakenly reads from a confidential internal memo, thinking it’s a promotional message for the station.

Sustaining and maintaining our core listenership in an increasingly fragmented marketplace.

So the content is good, great in places, and this online-only video campaign integrates with the Foster’s sponsorship of original comedy on Channel 4. But I can’t help that there’s more in this for Steve Coogan than there is for Foster’s. The films were produced by his Baby Cow production company, which holds the rights for later television broadcast. And, whilst Heineken UK (owner of the Foster’s brand in the UK) apparently has a share of the “back end” of any such TV deal, there’s something in my water telling me that this isn’t going to “work” for Fosters.

Brands generally want one of (or both of) two things from a sponsorship/ad-funded relationship like this: awareness and kudos.

Now Foster’s doesn’t have an awareness problem. It could perhaps do with being more front of mind but I suspect that this activity is more about “emotional connection with the brand”, moving people up the consideration ladder or some such thing. Kudos basically.

But kudos is getting harder to come by for brands which pay to be associated with stuff that somebody else has done or made.

Witness the top ranking comment under Episode 1 on YouTube…

Which shows again that great content is the second most important thing a brand can have if it’s looking to make a splash online; the second most important thing behind a great product.

By contrast with Foster’s, Steve Coogan’s mate Rob Brydon is involved in a campaign that almost certainly will work.

Brydon plays the producer, the tea lady and the star (Bruce Bowls) of a spoof breakfast TV show in a newish ad campaign for Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.

Bruce Bowls is a “crunchy nut”, in that he’s nuts about Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.

Many agencies and clients would walk past and away from such simple and well branded idea in search of something more intellectually satisfying. Kudos to this lot (Kellogg’s and Leo Burnett) for not looking this particular gift-horse in the mouth.

And Brydon’s nut, complete with Dale-Winton-esque orange skin tone, is very nicely done. It’s a performance that has the hyperbole needed in a 30 second commercial, but also some nuance and subtlety. His camp programme producer is very funny too.

There’s an adaptation of the ad running on radio which also works very well.

Crunchy Nut Cornflakes is one of those “oh yeah” brands.

“Oh yeah, haven’t had that for a while. Must remember to pick one up next time I’m down the shops.”

“Oh yeah” brands respond well to advertising. They don’t need several hundred thousand fans on Facebook, and they don’t need a bunch of clever digital bells and whistles (heresy I know).

This Crunchy Nut campaign will work, however “working” is defined.

Whilst Foster’s might once have been the breakfast of champions, Crunchy Nut Cornflakes is definitely the champion of breakfast show based brand campaigns.

How’s that for kudos?

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