Tag Archives: FMCG

Dear M&S


Dear M&S Simply Food,

Thank you for sticking with it. You could have got bored. You could have been tempted to try to something new. But the memory structure. The art direction. The MUSIC. It’s brilliant.

Clothing – not so much.

But Food. Brilliant.

Thanks again



Dear Westjet


Dear Westjet,

Thank you for making me smile with your Christmas Miracle video.

OK, so some of the editing and voice-over are way too schmaltzy for me, and at over 5 mins the clip might be excessively long to maximise full viral potential, but the warm fuzzy feeling you’ve created helps me (and the 6m YouTubers who have seen it since launch 2 days ago) to get over that.

And whilst I’m on the topic of Xmas ads, 2013 has been a bumper crop. Some great, some not so good.

Personally, this ad doesn’t do it for me.

I do like the backing track and admire the connection with past John Lewis Christmas ads: Music style (acoustic covers of well-known tunes); Focus on the giver not the receiver and the climax to the product “reveal” (clock / scarf) at the end.

But it took me a while to “get it” – I think probably because it didn’t do enough to make me pay attention the first few times I saw it.

Lots of people, including my wife who described it as her “favourite advert EVER”, seem to love it (although on questioning, she didn’t get it at first either). So nice one John Lewis.

M&S: whevs. Although Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is certainly somewhat arresting. As is David Gandy, so my sofa (life) companion tells me.

Cadbury’s: I actively dislike this one. I know it’s supposed to be Joyful, but frenzied, manic and at times aggressive tearing off of wrapping paper on Christmas Day – as depicted here – fills me with total dread and I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that this is not a behaviour my children adopt in a fortnight’s time.

Tesco: Isn’t that basically what John Lewis did with Always a Woman a few years ago? Although they did it better.

But the one that has really caught my attention is the Sainsbury’s ad.

Technically it’s very similar to the Tesco ad in its home-videoy-ness. But it’s more humorous. It’s more real. And it’s more engaging.

But it’s that final scene when the Dad comes in through the door, returning from Afghanistan that really pulls on the heart-strings.

Mild blubbing – and a Sainsbury’s online order – ensued in our household.

Thanks again everyone and Happy Christmas.


Dear Sainsbury’s Basics

Dear Sainsbury’s Basics,

Thank you for giving me a laugh with the subversive on-pack copy on your Cream Cleaner:

IMG_3250In the absence of any product or packaging advantage – in fact in the presence of notable disadvantage – who can blame you for going down the road of subversive humour?


“Cleans, no added promises” doesn’t really convince in the same way as a big brand on-pack claims check list, but with nothing to lose, having a mild pop at the likes of Cif seems like a pretty sensible idea to me.

Thanks again



Dear Smyths

Smyths Logo

Dear Smyths,

Thank you for breaking the mould and doing something different.

Toy advertising – of which I am not a fan in principle, but have seen a fair amount of recently thanks to Channel 5’s Milkshake – is so samey, so formulaic and let’s face it, so nauseating, that when you popped onto our screen on Saturday morning with something that was different, I actually watched for the entire 60 seconds.


My instinctive response to 99% of toy adverts is a straight ‘no’, thereby maintaining my idealised vision of myself and our children as not the weak-minded types that resort or succumb to pester-power (which of course is not the case, but it helps to pull the wool over one’s own eyes from time to time).

But because you did something different, because you didn’t try to win me over with the sickening glaze of pink sparkles, glitter and girls with bunches bleating “Oh yeah! in American accents that my daughter loves but I hate, you’re now in my consideration set.

Well, I say that. On account of this ad, I’ll be more than likely visit your website at some point in mid-December. Which I guess is, for you, a result.

Thanks again


Dear Costa Coffee


Dear Costa Coffee,

Thank you for your Coffee Coolers. I laugh in the face of an un-air-conditioned office when you’re just across the road, churning out these gorgeous grown-up slush-puppies.

Costa coffee coolers

Now I’m guessing that the weather impacts on your sales and that generally your core business (cups of coffee) dips a little over the summer. So what a fantastic product to be able to offer your consumers when the sun is shining.

I can almost see your needs map right now with Coffee Coolers proudly occupying one corner of the map, with the rest of your product portfolio deployed against the axes in a highly satisfactory manner.

But where to next? Where’s the white space Costa? Time for a new, broader map?

And thank you for your head-bopping ad from last year.

Attention-grabbing and catchy.

Or in marketing-speak, differentiated and memorable.

And what’s not to love about synchronised head-bopping?

Thanks again


Dear Yoplait Perle de Lait

Perle de Lait

Dear Yoplait Perle de Lait,

Thank you for reminding me that making a memorable advert is just not enough…it’s got to be memorable for the right reasons, not the utterly baffling, bizarre and frankly ludicrous codswallop that stays with the viewer of your most recent ad:

Post-modern irony? Not sure to be honest.

Annoying? Oh yes.

Therefore memorable? Yes again.

Good for building what the brand stands for in the long term? Certainly not.

Thank you again.


Dear Sudocrem

Sudocrem LogoDear Sudocrem,

Thank you for being an iconic brand that’s on the move.

Too often category leading iconic brands rest on their laurels, failing to capitalise on and leverage their equity – they’re known for being good at one thing and that’s good enough for them.

But not you.

You’re not satisfied with being the category defining grey-pot-with-white-gunk-in-it-that’s-good-for-nappy-rash-and-some-other-stuff-too and I thank you for being a great example of a brand that’s not just sitting back, comfortable with business as usual.


I want to thank you for your new ad, the very clear takeout from which is that you’re no longer just a nappy rash brand, but now a brand for all sorts of everyday skin scrapes and scratches.

Aside from being a clever little parody of that famous scene from Jaws (a reference which I suspect might be sadly lost on many people), this ad states very clearly that you’re no longer just for babies’ bums.

Of course people have been using you for much more than nappy rash for many years (i.e. as an antiseptic healing cream) and indeed your packaging has said as much – Eczema, Surface Wounds, Minor Burns, Acne, Bed Sores etc.

But it’s great to see you embracing and making a virtue of these alternative usages and applications.

And it’s a notable change in direction from what you’ve been communicating in the very recent past, which firmly consolidated the perception of you in the Nappy Rash trench.

Secondly, I want to thank you for your recent innovation.


Sudocrem Mousses Logo




A bold but logical step into an adjacent category and of course leveraging all of Johnson & Johnson’s skincare expertise…I don’t know what ProDerm Technology is, but it sounds good, just what my kids need.

And thank you for taking on a triple innovation challenge

  1. Going into a new category (sun protection)
  2. With a new format (sunscreen mousse)
  3. Requiring consumers to adopt a new consumer behaviour (as in “Wayne, will you ask the nanny to mousse baby Klay, ‘cos I cannot reach from my sunlounger?”

I admire your courage and self-belief.

And thank you for your previous innovation – a skin care cream.

Sudocrem Skin Care Cream

sudocrem skincare for grown ups


Thank you for broadening your frame of reference, overtly going after a new target consumer and underlining that you’re about so much more than Nappy Rash.

If it had been me, I would have done the Mousses first and then the Skin Care Cream, but that may be being overly strategic and purist about things.

No doubt you had loads of adults using Sudocrem anyway, so it made sense to develop a product specifically for them, the chances of picking up new users and incremental volume significantly outweighing the inevitable cannibalisation effect.

And who doesn’t want incremental volume?

I do have a slight question mark in my mind about what sits at the heart of the brand at the masterbrand level – the big idea that ties it all together and sits above the Antiseptic Healing Cream, Mousses, Skin Care Cream sub-ranges, but I suspect that will come in due course and I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks again