Tell ‘em about the money, honey

Next Monday I’m going to a film premiere – get me.

The occasion is one of the IPA’s “Focus on Effectiveness” events which celebrate 30 years of the IPA Effectiveness Awards by premiering new films of some of the most inspiring case studies from its remarkable databank. You should go, and you can get tickets here.

The case in the spotlight on Monday evening is PG Tips and I’ll be chairing the panel discussion following the screening with Nigel Jones of Publicis, the original author of the paper back in his BMP/DDB days, and Ed Warren, the creative director from Mother, who works on the current Al and Monkey campaign.  The PG Tips film is not only a great excuse to revisit some brilliant PG Tips advertising of the last 30 years, it’s also an incredible testament to two things: the power of a likeable, flexible brand idea, and consistent investment in TV advertising. The film has some excellent lessons, particularly about how the adstock invested in clever, entertaining simians was adapted and reinvented to powerful effect.

So it is very timely to read that PG’s traditional rival, Tetley, is going for a similar feat of adstock reignition and bringing back the Tetley tea folk.

Excited at this advertising serendipity, I clicked on Campaign Live to see how MCBD has approached the task and I see that what they have given us is a great metaphor for the reviving effects of a good cup of tea as the Tetley tea folk are awoken from their ten year sepia sleep and brought back to glorious technicolour life by some spilled tea.  We see that familiar mix of 2D animation with live action, we hear the familiar voices “Stanley? Gaffer? Tina?” and already I can’t wait for the next one in the series. 

At Thinkbox we often present on the theme of how TV hardwires positive brand associations into your long term memory and the vital importance of emotion in decision making, but I was still struck by how a few seconds’ reminder of something loved and familiar can evoke such affectionate feelings in me. I wish Tetley every success with the new/classic campaign. It’s a great strategy and, with some clever writing that brings out both the fresh and familiar as the campaign progresses, there’s every reason for it to be highly profitable; but they will need to stick at it as PG Tips has for half a century.

It’s made me wonder what other greatly loved brand icons might be dusted off.  I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere in adland, they’re working on a campaign for the reintroduction of the Honey Monster…

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