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I predict that this ad will eventually be deemed an experiment that didn’t work.

Whilst it’s always tempting to push the creative envelope, and to explore new and original executions of a long running campaign, there are some things that are best left alone.

Incredibly powerful brand properties being one of those things.

You don’t frig with the Andrex Puppy. Metaphorically speaking.

No-one in this business likes the idea of advertising as wallpaper. But, when it’s done well and when it’s done for the right reasons, wallpaper advertising can be extremely effective.

I bet no-one involved with this CGI, “Nintendogs” bastardisation of one of the greatest wallpaper campaigns of all time is old enough to remember this from Asda Chief Executive Allan Leighton back in 1998.

The most important thing about advertising is that it is consistent and supports the brand. That’s why I’m a bit of a cynic about an advertising world that gets so wrapped up in producing creative advertising rather than asking whether the ad underpins the values of the product. Ours is wallpaper and I love it!

Here’s the full interview with Mr Leighton.

“Asda Price” and the Andrex Puppy. Two examples of effective wallpaper advertising at its best.

Allan Leighton wouldn’t frig with his slogan, and you can bet that he wouldn’t frig with no puppy either. Metaphorically speaking.

If you ask me whether this animated ad “underpins the values of the product”, the answer is a resounding no. Andrex advertising should make you feel warm towards the brand. This one leaves me stone cold.

As is my wont when writing about advertising these days, I’ve also had a look at what Andrex is up to in digital spaces.

Not only has the Andrex puppy gone all games platform on us, he (she?) has also gone all Twitter and Facebook on us too.

Oh yes he/she/it has.

It is the ultimate misguided cliché that Twitter is all about people posting what they had for breakfast. But here we have a person pretending to be a dog and tweeting about what it had for breakfast. Who cares if you’re still enjoying – sorry, pretending to enjoy – the bag of doggy biscuits you were given yesterday?

Well, at the time of writing, 1,546 people care enough about this kind of inane, canine banality to have followed @AndrexPuppy.

And, bugger me, the same puppy has 212,831 fans on Facebook.

I’m generally enthusiastic and supportive when brands do interesting things in social spaces.

But someone is going to have to explain to me why this isn’t really sad and pointless. The Facebook wall is home to apparently serious conversations between grown men and women and a pretend advertising dog. I jacked my built-in tongue-in-cheek meter up to maximum sensitivity but I detect no irony in any of the conversations.

The puppy talks about its morning in the park and, exhibiting best community management practice, ends its post with a question. “Can you run fast?” Forty people reply, 39 of them in earnest. The fact that there is only one dissenting voice of reason in the thread makes me wonder whether Andrex hasn’t hired Derren Brown to manage its social presence and remotely hypnotise otherwise rational people into posting gooey nonsense.

The (lone) voice of reason.

I’m going to cut Andrex a deal.

Given that pet owners are a notoriously different breed (pun intended), with irrational gooey tendencies,  I’ll keep an open mind on its social efforts. For now.

But I’d be very surprised if the Nintendogs approach to its TV advertising survives its first tracking study debrief.

(Disclosure : I am a devoted three-time dog owner. I love my dog’s company. I love play-fighting with him. And he gets me out of the house. But I will never talk to a pretend dog on Facebook.)

3 Responses to “Andrex “Nintendogs”. Fit to wipe your arse?”

  1. I’m not going to begin to add to your verdict on this bastardisation of the long-running, many thousand of puppies that were presumably never hurt or killed in the making of decades of campaigns. On a much more base point though – when I first read about this new strategy my first thought, beyond my ad-man preconceptions was – have they got the budget to pull off a CGI Labrador puppy? The answer to that is clearly a resounding no. I’m not saying that incredible skill and work hasn’t gone into that puppy, but even the greatest animation houses have difficulty pulling off mature, realistic animal lifeforms. And even then, mimicking an already established personality to maintain feelings of warmth from millions? I grew up with Labradors and that puppy does not look like one – other than its colour. Its movement is not natural and it is way, way behind what films have achieved in the last 15 years. I would put it in the same camp as the CGI monkeys in Jurassic Park (1993). The only way this could ever have worked is if the puppy, even with fantasy behaviour, had been a physically convincing Labrador puppy. And it isn’t. Not even slightly.

    • philadams1 says:

      Thanks Dave. I heartily endorse everything you say. I wonder whether the look of the ad is due to not enough budget or a deliberate desire to mimic Nintendogs. Either way it’s missing most of the usual Andrex tricks.

  2. bookmole says:

    Agree with you and Dave Harrison – bad advert done badly. I hope it doesn’t last.

    I hate to admit this, but I liked the Andrex puppy – I still remember the ad where it pulled all the toilet paper off the roll, leaving the lad sitting there calling for Mum! I cannot image that this CGI puppy will ever make an ad that memorable.

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