TBWA rethinks John Smith’s ads after poor performance

TBWA/London has gone back to the drawing board for its latest work for John Smith’s Bitter after the campaign it devised – the first since comic Peter Kay cut ties with the brand – fared badly in research.

It is understood the agency and Scottish & Newcastle – the owner of the John Smith’s brand – are in talks about the future of the campaign. Insiders say discussions are continuing over whether to revert to the “No Nonsense” theme or focus more on the “benefits strategy” of the brand.

One insider reveals: “The Peter Kay ad is a difficult act to follow.” He says new work – without the Lancashire comedian – should have aired on television before Christmas but performed badly in research. Kay indicated he wished to part company with the brewer early last year and his contract, which expired in November, has not been renewed.

He starred in a series of ads that proved popular both with the critics and with consumers. Ads showed Kay in a diving competition; taking the role of an insensitive wedding DJ who reveals a dark family secret; and starring with Engelbert Humperdinck in a Las Vegas nightclub.

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