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AD WATCH: A TBWA\Hong Kong CD’s most/least favourite ads

AD WATCH features marketing industry figures providing their opinions on what they think is some of the most inspiring and disappointing work they’ve seen. As long as it’s not their own!

On this edition:

Mikey Batt

Creative director

TBWAHong Kong


HOT: John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners – ‘Excitable Edgar’ ✰✰✰✰

While I don’t think it quite reaches the heights of its previous Christmas blockbusters, this year’s John Lewis holiday treat still manages to rise above its festive counterparts through beautiful storytelling and immaculate craft.

In a joint effort with sister company, Waitrose, John Lewis gives a new twist to its tried and tested “thoughtful gifting” proposition with the story of Edgar – an excitable dragon – who, despite his best intentions, manages to repeatedly disrupt his town’s festivities through his own over-eagerness. Just as everyone seems to be turning against poor Edgar, his buddy Ava lifts the mood with a thoughtful gift that helps the town warm to his fiery ticks.

It’s a story that celebrates acceptance and overcoming our differences. A timely message delivered at a divisive time for many people in the UK. It may not set the world alight like previous efforts, but I’m sure #ExcitableEdgar will still prove to be another huge hit for John Lewis.


NOT: Walkers Crisps – ‘All Mariah Carey wants this Christmas’  ✰

It doesn’t get much more Christmassy than Mariah Carey belting out Christmas anthems at full pitch in the middle of an immaculate winter wonderland. It suddenly gets a lot less Christmassy when we find her fighting over a packet of crisps with one of her subordinates.

For the £9 million it reportedly cost to secure Carey’s services, I’m not sure the gag holding this spot together is fresh enough, nor executed with enough daring, to warrant such a hefty investment. I’m also not sure whether this piece of fiction deviates far from what a regular day in the life of Mariah Carey would look like.

But the biggest issue? Check out the pathetic nibble at the end. I’ve never seen someone so repulsed by a crisp. How can you possibly convince people to eat your product if your spokesperson can’t even swallow one for £9 million?

All in all, as with the majority of this year’s Christmas ads, I’m not that mad at it, just disappointed.


This article was produced for the December/January Futurist issue of Marketing Magazine Hong Kong. For more features and other magazine-exclusive content from this and upcoming issues, you can subscribe to receive your free monthly print copy here or you can read the digital version in its entirety here.

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