Ambushing

The World Cup

I thought I’d continue a theme this week. Something I talked about a couple of weeks ago; ambush marketing and The World Cup.

"Plonk a tenuous football and /or Brazil connection and/or some clunky percussive salsa music into every ad (but not enough to rouse the lawyers). Then hope for the best."

It’ll be the first time I’ve ever re-visited a topic on this blog. I’d like to think that’s because once I’ve written about something, that’s it - nothing else needs to be said. That’s rubbish of course. In fact the reverse is probably true, there’s a need for: clarification, correction and apologies.

I’m inspired to write about The World Cup again, because in adland, you can’t move for bloody football right now.

It seems to me, the laziest brands are reverting to the following strategy for their ads;

"Plonk a tenuous football and /or Brazil connection and/or some clunky percussive salsa music into every ad (but not enough to rouse the lawyers). Then hope for the best."

It turns out Pringles is the worst culprit...actually sorry it’s pronounced ‘Pringoooals’ for the next few weeks apparently, how silly of me.

Nice to see that Pringoooals have ‘gone the whole hog’ in with tired clichés, making Crouchy do the robot again. I think that would’ve been a platitude at the last World Cup, let alone this one.

Perhaps I’m being harsh, some of the ads ambushing The World Cup have been half decent. For example I quite like this one from Curry’s.

What I like most about it, is that it's not the Pringoooals ad. Second to that, Curry's have actually tied the tournament in with their product offering, in a relevant and entertaining way.

Oddly enough, Curry's has taken a bit of flack for that ad. People argue that the tenor perpetuates gender stereotypes. I’m not really convinced. Sure, it presupposes that only blokes like football, while women like gardening. And I know lots of women who like football too. But more men like football than women, and it would be disingenuous to suggest otherwise. It’s just maths really, and you cant argue with maths...so long as it's not wrong - which it isn’t...in this instance. Sorry to get all technical.

While I'm prepared to defend Curry's against allegations of sexism. I wouldn't do the same for this ad. Sadly I think it does 'cross the sexicon’ (which is a reference to the Rubicon, sorry).

Just to be clear, ambushing the World Cup is still a perfectly justifiable thing to do. I just think it needs to be done well, like with everything I suppose.

I've said before and I'll say again, I'm not against nudey-ladies, at least not as often as I'd like. But this ad does seem a little like something Godfrey Bloom, or Peter Stringfellow would write on a wet Tuesday afternoon.

All those Brazilian bottoms are very nice to look at of course, but do they really need to flash'em about to sell Pot Noodle? I really don’t understand the connection between Pot Noodle, and a bloke who wants to be a towel on Ipanema beach, with the result that gorgeous women sit on his face.

If they simply must crowbar the World Cup into their ads, surely something along the lines of ‘a great snack for half time’ would be more effective, and guaranteed to not offend anyone. Because this ad really does offend apparently, so much so that Unilever have withdrawn it.

Just to be clear, ambushing the World Cup is still a perfectly justifiable thing to do. I just think it needs to be done well, like with everything I suppose.

The only question left, is whether it's worth ambushing the World Cup in the first place. Rory Sutherland mentioned in The Drum last week that there's a huge segment of the population that don't give a toss about the World Cup and where appropriate, brands should target that demographic, rather than pandering to the soccerphiles. I think he's right (unsurprisingly).

It reminds me of a story I read about the John Lewis partnership. You see, almost every retailer plays background music – its proven to improve sales. However it’s guaranteed to annoy some people, it annoys me - particularly at Christmas. At some stage John Lewis decided to ignore the herd mentality and never play background music. By doing that, they differentiated themselves. They’re not after the whole market, just their fair share. And say one-in-four people find background music irksome, then how does that 25% of the market sound? I think brands should remember John Lewis, when deciding to clumsily ambush the World Cup.

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