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Published on March 30th, 2011 | by Éilish Burke

9

Ad Nauseam – Never a copycat be

The thing about great work in any sphere is that it inevitably inspires a slew of poor imitators. Having not so long ago praised Jacob’s for good advertising work for their Christmas campaign I’m sorry to say they haven’t kept the standards up with their most recent one. Take a look yourself, though be warned; you may have to watch it from behind a cushion:

I can imagine what the client / agency meetings were like in the run up to this ads creation. I’m sure they were peppered with phrases like ‘a viral sensation’, ‘modernising the brand’, ‘advertising made for social media’, ‘creating a music video, not just an advertisement’ and the like. In short, Jacob’s are trying to pull off what Cadbury’s did with Glass & a Half Productions; create branded content that is enjoyed outside of its role as an advertisement. I’ll bet a few of the marketing execs even thought they could have had a chart hit on their hands – I mean it doesn’t take that much to get to number 1 these days, right? But far from knocking Adele off the top spot, the ad has failed to resonate with the public. 3,419 views on YouTube; I’d probably get more if I uploaded a video of me clipping my toenails.

The ad is so wide of the mark as to be in another country. In fact they have lost the essence of Jacob’s as an Irish brand here, as well as butchering a jingle which is beloved by most of the population. The song itself is so high in the awfulness stakes it would give Rebecca Black a run for her money and the whole concept of Mad Hatters Tea Party meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory well just….. snore. I mean it’s not like that hasn’t been done a million times before. I felt like I was watching the crap bits off the cutting room floor from Gwen Stefani’s What You Waiting For video. And that’s a compliment. As for the whole idea of each girl characters (try not to hurl, they’re called Kim, Mika and Coco) representing the various Jacob’s mallow biscuit brands, well if they weren’t licking their lips suggestively and doing strip-joint bum-drops I might have a small amount of time for them. But then I’d have to listen to what they were singing; lines like “Hit the spot / I’m a naughty girl / And it’s making me hot”. And continuing the bizzarely hypersexualised theme, the name of the ad is ‘Come Play With Us’, their Facebook page urges us to like them and ‘watch us shake our thing’. Wow, and I thought they were just trying to sell biscuits.

Not that you could forget about the biscuits though; they are in every single frame. What might have been conceptualised as ‘seemless product integration’ turns out as ludicrous Kimberley shaped hats. Yes people are open to sharing ads with their friends, but only if there is a subtlety to the commercial message therein. And if there’s one thing you can’t accuse this ad of it’s subtlety.

At less than 150 fans on their Facebook page after two weeks we can fairly say Jacob’s don’t have the social media success story on their hands that they had planned for. I bet they’re surprised. They shouldn’t be. ‘Come Play With Us’ is a lot of things but Cadbury’s Gorilla 2.0 it aint.

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About the Author

Éilish writes the Ad Nauseam series of posts for Culch.ie as well as some other bit and bobs. She used to work in adland and still likes to dissect the advertising she comes across, though these days mainly from the comfort of her couch and in the form of angry tirades while her flatmate rolls her eyes to heaven. She secretly harbours smug feelings that instead of saving and putting a deposit on a house she spent all her life savings on extravagant holidays and has therefore escaped a lifetime in negative equity. She co-runs a company called Amp Music Marketing. You can get in touch with her at eilishburke{at}gmail{dot}com or follow her on Twitter.



9 Responses to Ad Nauseam – Never a copycat be

  1. Neasa says:

    Ouch! Can’t say I disagree with any of your very valid points – though I did find it moderately entertaining – though as TV Ad more than a viral I would seek out and pass around. Has it been on TV at all or just seeded online?

  2. Kitty Cat says:

    Snap! I actually wrote about it myself yesterday over here, ditto on the Gwen Stefani thing. What in the name of feck were they thinking? Also I love how the Facebook page mostly contains comments from girls giving out about how lame the ad is.

  3. Bngr says:

    You can never tell really what’s gonna sell. Maybe it was too big a shfit from homely nostalgic to sex kitten. But then again, they did successfully foray into the luxury product with the chocolate kimberelys and elites etc.

  4. @Ness it was on TV for about a week I think. I actually only saw it once.
    @KittyCat Aha, that’s hilarious. If I hadn’t written my post at 12am last night you could accuse me of total plagiarism – ‘cept your post is better obvs.

  5. @Bngr Well there’s no hiding from the numbers. If it had caught on in the way I suspect they wanted (big burst TV seeding for a week to drive YouTube views) there’d be more than 3.5k views. There might have been a kernel of insight around this rebrand but the execution is just awful. I’m actually sorry to say that cos I do like what Jacob’s are doing elsewhere (Fig Rolls etc.) but this misses the mark.

  6. Sweary says:

    This is, without doubt, 100%, hand-on-heart, swear to God, the worst fucking ad I have ever seen.

    What is the message here? Biscuits turn girls into horny airheads? Just fuck off, Jacob’s; there’s plenty of free misogyny in the world already.

  7. Will Knott says:

    I’ll defend them slightly on their Facebook numbers. I can’t get to their page!

    I turned on secure settings within Facebook, and it seems to have broken a lot of things in Facebook. I have events failing to load and, I can’t access the advertised Jacob’s page.

    I suspect I’m not the only one.

    Personally I like the “idea” of making the biscuits into characters, but if they were related to their old ones it might be better. Kimberly used to be a (male) cowboy. Doing that would have changed the video a lot.

    (CoCo from memory is a lot pinker, but more or less the same, and Mika is an improvement simply be removing the potential racist tones (s)he had).

  8. Don’t remember the old characters Will. Even if 50% of FB users were affected by the same problem as you that would still just be 300 people interested enough by the ad to search it out. Guessing that at least 50 people from the Jacob’s marketing team plus advertising agency would have been the first ones to ‘like’ it that leaves about 200 unaligned members of the public. Pretty poor results…

  9. Don’t remember the old characters Will. Even if 50% of FB users were affected by the same problem as you that would still just be 300 people interested enough by the ad to search it out. Guessing that at least 50 people from the Jacob’s marketing team plus advertising agency would have been the first ones to ‘like’ it that leaves about 200 unaligned members of the public. Pretty poor results…

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