The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Sorry Fallon, I’m Not [Totally] Flattery Operated!
April 3, 2008, 7:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Masturbate for Peace Photo: Trincheta 

It would seem Fallon London were so distressed that I was the only person on the planet who thought their “Gorilla” spot for Cadbury’s was one of the most indulgent ads ever made [and I have counter arguments to every positive thing that’s been said about it – so there, ha!] that they’ve decided to try and win me over by using Queen as the soundtrack to the follow up.

Sorry guys. You’ve failed.

No doubt I’ll be in the minority again as adland fall over themselves to praise this “inspired by Pixar’s Cars” spot, but I don’t care – to me it demonstrates a client with blind faith in their agency and an agency [knowingly or not] abusing that trust.

What I’ll find especially interesting is if people who slagged off WCRS’s motorcycle safety ad celebrate this ‘entertainment without substance’ execution, because whilst the ‘Can You See It’ commercial had its flaws, to me it had more insight and motivating message than “Gorilla” and “Trucks” put together.

Screwdrivers Think Chocolate     

Is entertainment in advertising important?

Of course it is – it’s fucking vital – but we’re not in Hollywood, nor are we in art galleries, so unless the communication has an inherent reason why people should consider/care about the product/brand [preferably in a way that is different from the competition yet still relevant and resonant to the consumer] then all you’re doing is communication masturbation – which we all know pleases no one other than yourself 😉

Without doubt this would of been an incredibly hard brief because without doubt, everything you can say about Cadbury’s Dairy Milk has probably been shouted about already – however if Fallon/Cadbury’s hadn’t started our with the sole aim to create a television commercial, maybe something just as interesting but a hell of a lot more relevant could of come out the other side.

Look, over the years I’ve been involved in a number of campaigns that have been labelled mindless entertainment [ie: Tango / Virgin / Mini / SONY / even the recent Schweppes spot] however, even if in the [hopefully] unlikely event the core idea was not necessarily the most original, no one could ever point the finger of indulgence at us – so while I think Fallon are great, especially the UK office – this sort of commercial drives me mad because not only do I find water cooler type strategies painfully one dimensional, I hate how it further undermines the value of my industry … an industry I still believe has incredible purpose and value despite so many networks doing their best to keep it from developing.

41 Comments so far
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i’ve already made my opinion known about this spot over on angus’ blog, and i completely agree with you rob.

and what upsets me even more is that not only is it a shit ad, it’s a shit film, shit music clip, shit piece of art. anything that you try and make it (other than an ad) it fails at as well, so i’m confused about exactly what they’re aiming at.

granted, using confusion can be an interesting concept. and if that’s their aim, i’m willing to wait and see what else is coming, but even as ‘confusion’ it’s bloody miserable.

in fact the only good thing about the pile of crud is the song. which isn’t their material, and their appropriation of it is piss-poor.

if it was part of the APSOTW i’d give it a D (only saved from an F by the song) and tell them to stop wasting money.

actually, maybe i would suggest a re-edit where the trucks run over joss stone from the flake ad and then you could have a crazy mash-up of back chocolate ads and be done with it.*

*not that i mean any direct harm to ms stone. promise.

anyway, that’s the last time i say something about this pile of shite. in fact, i gave up chocolate years ago, so i don’t even know why i fucking care.

Comment by lauren

well said campbell. the people who like this are star fuckers or wannabe “artistes”, if they ran their own company i bet theyd have a different point of view.

and the soundtrack is fucking shit 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

couldn’t agree more with everything that has been said. even Andy in regards to the song! hehe!


Comment by Age

Well according to ‘MM’ over on Mr M’s blog, I’m talking a crock of shit – but then I did say I’d be in the minority didn’t I?


Mind you compared to the sycophantic shit over on Scamp’s blog, this is fairly mild – but it does demonstrate to me how far the UK ad scene has gone off track.

It no longer is about communication that infiltrates and motivates the masses, it’s now an internal competition for wannabe Hollywood execs.

If ever an HHCL was needed in the UK, it is now.

Comment by Rob

Your previous comment does put this ad in perspective, but more than that its about the client having absolute faith in their agency and this spot!

Comment by bhaskar

You have to earn the right to keep a clients faith – this might just see Fallon having to work abit harder for next time.

Comment by Rob

Oh Purlease lets have some freaking common sense Campbell et al…. Nobody likes brand wank but hell I’m up for a brand blow job any day of the fucking week. I will now proceed to tear and the rest of the sycophantic loiterers on here a new bum hole.

Unlike the rest of the planning community I said Gorrilla was a crack pipe of an ad long before people concluded it wasn’t a threat to planning, and I’m now calling this current execution self indulgent. But still a lot better then the usual Choco ads. So we agree about this ad. The first one not.

First off you can park your water cooler rhetoric because in terms of communication efficacy Gorrilla has proved itself and delivered on the sales uplift. If we’re not into that then all planners should go home tout de fucking suite.

Secondly I think Gorrilla is a post modern ad that addresses the communications challenge of the day. I’ve argued elsewhere that as we wind down on the interruptive model of engagement that we face possibly the most exciting times ever in advertising. I think there is room for a lot more experimental/innovative work given that most of what the ad industry pumps out is utter patronizing shit anyway. I think we should embrace work like Gorrilla which both punches its weight and gets people talking AND buying in a way that is more reflective of our complex media landscape and even more complex bleeding lives.

The second ad is shit and I couldn’t agree more. Scamp is so fellating Fallon on that ad that I’m surprised he isn’t competing with me after I tried hitting on that awesome blonde chick/planner they have working there at the APG awards. Helga or whatever. Awesome!!

Much love from the Jing


Comment by Charles Frith

Actually I fucking hate this execution and not just because it coincidentally launched and the only strategic thing I can see about it is that like Gorrilla its a male skewed ad to appeal to a brand that is over reliant on diminishing female business.

Anyway I bet you don’t even like chocolate like I do, as you’re on the diet coke and haven’t probably ‘indulged’ yourself in ages right ? 😉

Comment by Charles Frith

charles, i’m interested in your introduction of the term post-modern relating to these ads.

seeing as advertising and mass-media itself heralded the beginning of the post-modern movement, i’m wondering what actually consitutes post-modernism within advertising? the basic premise and format of modern advertising is still the same here, so is it enough for it to be a slightly hinky take on commercial narrative? if we are moving into a post-modern phase of advertising, i’d like to see more deconstruction of the standard than these do, thanks.

Comment by lauren

Bored Charles? 🙂

I still don’t like Gorilla …

I have a bunch of answers to all the ‘results’ being claimed by Fallon [And discussed them at length with the Chairman, Laurence Green] however what I hate even more is how adland is seemingly losing its grip on it’s role in business, seemingly deciding to completely walk away from any cred and just go into its own ego bubble.

Does that mean mean rational response communication is the way to go? Of course not and I’ve listed a bunch of ads that I’ve directly been involved in that proves this isn’t the case – however it does mean you need to have a seed of relevance to the brand/consumer and I think the reason Gorilla got away with it because …

[1] it was a relatively new approach [I say ‘relatively’ because French advertising has been mental for decades]

[2] the execution represented an element of emotional escape which chocolate does offer for some people

… however this ‘trucks’ ad is wank and I literally want to kill the people who think its great. Like literally want to kill. But hey, what would I have to do if people always agreed with what I had to say, hahaha. Good job I seem to be such an annoying little fuck. [copyright Andy]

I believe Andy’s comment [bar the Queen slag off] is bang on, if it was your company would you really run it and as much as I embrace new thinking and communication styles, it would be a resounding no – though I am sure Fallon and Cadbury’s will find a way to prove it works, if only because to admit it didn’t would affect both companies negatively.

And they say research is valuable 🙂

Comment by Rob

That comment has allowed me to forgive you for your Asian Yang gullability Lauren 🙂

Comment by Rob

Lauren. As you know post modern applies to everything that escapes the modernist view of the world and your definition of advertising ‘heralding’ the post modernist world is way off otherwise we’d be looking at post war circa 1949.

Other than that my dear its self referential (to the max I’d argue), hyper real and a leap from the modernist vision of interruptive communication and messaging. It’s also humorous.

Comment by Charles Frith

…back to HOT Fallon planners anyway…

Well she looked like a Helga. Definitely Russki/Slav brains and beauty thing going on. I nearly whipped out my female Schutzstaffel uniform before telling her to slap me up a bit.

Too FOXY for her own good… That was the night I lost my iPhone anyway after buying it 48 hours earlier. Lost my concentration I guess.

Comment by Charles Frith

It is at least better than that fucking awful flake ad with with Joss “I’m American me” Stone.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Went a bit early as a nay sayer on Gorilla, to the extent of getting featured in Campaign and quoted (anon) in the Cadbury/Fallon case history doc they produced.

Bang goes my chance of ever getting a job there then!

So I’m holding back this time, just to check what I should be thinking and to make sure I give the right answer. But it seems I’ll be on safer ground this time, saying I don’t really like it!

Although, I think it’s all relative. As you say, Flake is far worse than either. I guess my problem has always been more the fawning, unquestioning praise – It’s Fallon, it’s Juan, it’s big budget, it’s different, it’s viral (and it’s TV) = it MUST be great.

Truth: they’re both OK. And if you have money to burn…I guess it’s your money.

I know Gorilla is now getting a sheen of effectiveness around it. But I’m still not convinced. It’s fair to say that m
Many people did like the EXECUTION (it’s a free world). And there’s some Youtube action going on (how much planted, I don’t know). But we shouldn’t forget that Cadbury sales were down nearly 30% post the salmonela scare. Plus you had Trident and the relauch of Wispa. So is a 6 to 9% increase really so great.

A cynic (ho ho) might say it would have happened anyway. And that you might have expected more even if you’d done nothing 😉

Anyway, I still cry Emperors New Clothes! It’s why fairy tales still have so much to teach us.

Comment by Jon Howard

I kind of disagree with Rob C in that I like the idea behind this campaign. It seems a bit pointless until you start to think of it in terms of a male flake break.

To me it makes sense and works, its just that Gorilla works many times better than this.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Everyone hates Rob.

Fuck my boss agrees with him, OK I hate it too. Seriously, what’s the idea of this ad then Rob Mortimer, except to boost Fallon’s profits.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Well, its clearly an ‘positive and energetic’ break from daily life. Not saying its a work of genius or that its a new idea (hell, its an old idea switched genders) and certainly not saying I think its great.

But I think that just like some people are praising this ad because of its Juan/Fallon connection; I think some people are being over critical.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Opinions are like arseholes, we all have them – just some are prettier than others – and the fact some people [not the ones on hear I add] can say ‘trucks’ is good because Fallon/Juan did it makes me sick.

Hello Jon, lovely to have you pop by and I’m with you, it’s Emperor’s New Clothes and we’re shouting “He’s Naked”.

And Mr M, for once Billy has a good point – just what is the underlying idea of the Dairy Milk campaign.

Don’t get me wrong, it shouldn’t be executionally like Gorilla [that would be immitation rather than immigration] but to me, there is no connection between the 2 ads and even less with [1] the brand and [2] the consumers.

But we are all entitled to our opinion, even that MM on your blog 🙂

Comment by Rob

The big link is the emotional connection (which Gorilla has and this lacks, hence why one is so much better/less poor).

Its almost like emotional aspiration, I want to be as happy as that Gorilla, I want that moment of joy.

You as a fellow musician must know that feeling you get playing music. And regardless of if the idea is good (I was one of the few not to say Gorilla was the best ad of 2007) that moment and idea is what resonated with me.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

charles, i disagree in so many ways. but that’s not the point – i am honestly really interested that you used post modernism as a way of arguing for this work – it rarely fucking happens and in terms of advertising’s place in modern/contemporary culture, it should actually feature more (although admittedly, it may mean more wank and rhetoric, rather than less).

Comment by lauren

sorry rob – i’m using your blog as a discussion board again. 🙂

Comment by lauren

Mr M … step away from the keyboard, have a shower then come back and look at what you’ve written.

OK I’m being a fuckwit because I do understand what you’re saying – especially with the ‘music’ link – and I even understand how Gorilla links into what you’re saying [I even said it in one of my comments above] however I firmly believe that without a stronger core idea, all this does is allow Fallon to put out any ol’ tat that links to a ‘moment of unabashed happiness’ and everyone will have to agree it’s on strategy.

What next, that feeling of having a piss when you’ve been stuck in a traffic jam for 8 hours?

And people slagged off my Schweppes ad, pah! 🙂

Lauren – kick Frith, kick him – he’s in fiesty mode today!

Comment by Rob

Isn’t that the point of it Lauren?

You have a long way to go to beat the time my blog was used as a dating agency for Billy 😉

Comment by Rob

I agree its not a great core idea; and that Fallon are almost misusing the idea to produce stuff they like.

But you were suggesting there was no idea, which is very different to a bad or flawed idea. Regardless of if I like it or not, there is still an idea behind it.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I still think there’s no real idea, I think there’s an insight [ie: “In these lives of pressure, we all seek little moments of innocent happiness’] – but not a real communication idea.

I’ve become fucking Andy???!!!!

Comment by Rob

Well, half of him 😉

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Look Lauren..Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time I’m having a ball, don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m having a good time),I don’t want to stop at all, I’m a rocket ship on my way to Mars, On a collision course,I am a satellite I’m out of control I am a sex machine ready to reload. Like an atom bomb about to
Oh oh oh oh oh explode I’m burning through the skies Yeah! Two hundred degrees That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit I’m trav’ling at the speed of light I wanna make a supersonic woman out of you. Don’t stop me don’t stop me don’t stop me
Hey hey hey! Don’t stop me don’t stop me
Ooh ooh ooh (I like it) Don’t stop me have a good time good time Don’t stop me don’t stop me
Ooh ooh Alright I’m burning through the skies Yeah! Two hundred degrees That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit I’m trav’ling at the speed of light I wanna make a supersonic woman of you
Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball don’t stop me now If you wanna have a good time Just give me a call Don’t stop me now (‘Cause I’m having a good time) Don’t stop me now (Yes I’m having a good time) I don’t wanna stop at all

Comment by Charles Frith

hmmm.. well, it seemed to have worked, so maybe i should try that too 😉

Comment by lauren

uh… that was in reference to using your blog as a dating agency. not in relation to that bollocks from charles.

charles – Stop right now thank you very much I need somebody with a human touch. Hey you always on the run, gotta slow it down baby, gotta have some fun.

so there.

Comment by lauren

*loads double barreled shotgun*

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I always knew we could rely on Frith for a Queen 😉

Comment by Rob

Did I miss anything?

Comment by John

If the insight that is being discussed is the basis for these 2 commercials then isn’t that as generic as they come?
The fact everyone is talking about the execution rather than the thinking behind it tends to indicate it is.
Also creating a commercial thats sole purpose is to take viewers on an “emotional holiday” (because it represents the consumer emotional benefit) is not as new as many in advertising would like to proclaim.
As Robert mentioned, many French brand commercials have followed this strategy for years and Mother did one of the best examples with their brilliant ITV Digital campaign because each ad was a moment of mindless fun for viewers yet it still was somehow relevant to the product as well as wrapped around a real core idea. (Always Entertaining)
I don’t like slagging off agencies like my esteemed partners and Fallon London are doing some spectacular work but this trucks commercial just doesn’t do it for me and it could be because it does not feature a central character that I can relate to due to the simple fact a truck is not a genetic relative to mankind, but I’m probably overthinking this comparison issue. 🙂

Comment by George

Halibut Fisher gave it two thumbs up.

Comment by John

look at george in slightly miffed shock.

good call on itv digital and the generic insight shit because it shows how planners mean fuckall without creatives who can turn their bland wank into something great though this spot isnt the best example of that

Comment by andy@cynic

Way to go George, welcome to where the rest of us reside 🙂

[And fucking good points too you bugger, ha!]

Comment by Robert

Erm. One ad is robust the other is pants. ‘Gorilla’ helped boost sales of Cadbury Dairy Milk by nine per cent thus suggesting that Gorrilla did the job.

As for the french doing post modern advertising first. I’m SHOCKED… Baudrillard anybody.

Comment by Charles Frith

I think we’re all agreeing that Gorilla is waaaaaaaaay better than trucks, it’s just some of us still think Gorilla is alot more hype [albeit based on a lovely exeution] than substance.

But hey, what would life be if we all agreed? You’d be fucked for a start Charles 🙂

Hey, did you get my SMS about the potential ‘goss’?

Comment by Rob

Charles – sales rose by 9% but the causality is totally debateable and even if it wasn’t, the fact that so many people don’t “get” the ads suggests, as I believe, that it’s just a factor of media spend and not creativity.

I’m reminded of the whole sponsorship debate – it doesn’t really work to any degree of optimality if you just slap a product over an event – the sponsor needs to be inherent to the infrastructure of the event and the connection between it and the event has to be constantly obvious to the potential customer.

Even if a drumming gorilla elicits joy in your mind (and that’s a leap too far anyway since most of us aren’t gorillas and can’t really empathise), that joy relates to the ad and not the product. That’s all the more apparent in the new ad when the joy of the content is seemingly less obvious to people.

If you don’t associate the joy with the product, then what’s the point?

Comment by John

When you have the market share dominance that Cadbury’s have – put together with the marketing expenditure that they invested in this campaign – a goat doing a shit of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk would probably get a sales uplift of 9%.

I’m with you Dodd’s, but then we both have ample experience of what it’s like to be unpopular!

Comment by Robert

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