A new year with added resolution

Last year was hardly a vintage one for television advertising, with Heineken, Heinz and Superdrug abandoning the small screen and few memorable campaigns emerging. However, with a glut of accounts awarded late in 2005, the industry eagerly awaits the next wave of work to emulate the success of Honda’s “The Power of Dreams” (Wieden & Kennedy), Sony’s “Balls” (Fallon) and Stella Artois’ “Ice-skating Priests” (Lowe London).

Many are keen to see the new British Airways campaign take off. After a high-profile pitch that saw M&C Saatchi axed (MW October 13), Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s debut work is likely to be built around its winning “Upgrade to BA” strategy. Saatchi & Saatchi executive creative director Kate Stanners expects the idea to pay off. “It has a clever transactional feel,” she says. “Coming from BBH, it will be simple but elegant.”

Saatchi & Saatchi is preparing campaigns for Tetley’s bitter, Carlsberg lager and Dewar’s whisky, so Stanners is keeping an eye on Bacardi after Young & Rubicam won the global business in December. Fallon is expected to cede the UK account to Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. She explains: “Bacardi advertising has been better after a few bland campaigns. Alcohol is difficult because it needs global ideas that also work for many cultures that view drinking in certain ways.”

More Than also switched agencies late in 2005, with winner Fallon expected to kill off the insurance company’s canine icon Lucky. Steve Vranakis, creative director at Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest, which was beaten in the final pitch, says: “We would have kept the dog; maybe Fallon went in with a cat. But its Sony bouncing balls ad was beautiful. The financial sector doesn’t always feature the best work, so this could be an opportunity to do something good.”

Planners have their own views on the TV ads that will prove successful. They await the post-Peter Kay John Smith’s work from TBWA/London, and further glitzy campaigns from Marks & Spencer, following Rainey Kelly’s “Showbusiness” Christmas spot and the retailer’s successful fashion campaign featuring former model Twiggy. But they also urge Camelot to devise fresh work to replace the current “Think Lucky” campaign ahead of its bid for the new National Lottery licence. Another ad of interest will be Pot Noodle, which is held by HHCL United, but is being reviewed. Previous campaigns for Pot Noodle include the controversial “Slag of all snacks” and “Horn” executions.

Coca-Cola will build on its new “Coke side of life” strategy, but Tesco is expected to retain “Every Little Helps” after moving from Lowe London to Sir Frank Lowe’s new agency. Stanners says: “The line works at a consumer level by making life easier for shoppers, while employees realise everything they do adds value.”

But not everyone is convinced about the value of straplines. FutureBrand executive director of brand strategy Jasmine Montgomery says: “Most straplines are about what a company should be doing, but isn’t. It’s hoped they will have a halo effect. But agencies should investigate alternatives, such as sonic branding or visual icons.”

Last year was seen as a weak one for TV advertising. Some agencies were busy jostling for a foothold in new media channels and took their eye off the ball. But Stanners adds: “I’m hopeful TV ads will move into a golden age, becoming more extraordinary and iconic. We should use the skills we have developed in TV over 50 years to be successful in other places.”

Ian McCawley

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