ITV’s Ad of the Year is its very own ad for Thinkbox – surely some mistake?

Well it’s a bit embarrassing isn’t it, there ITV goes with its annual tribute to advertisers and agencies and the winning ad, chosen by a panel of 8,000 viewers apparently, is the ‘Harvey the dog’ campaign from The Red Brick Road for ITV’s own marketing body Thinkbox.

There must have been a few angst-ridden conversations at ITV Towers about this one, basically the rule about these things is that you don’t enter your own awards, just as you don’t allow staff to win the raffle and a Caribbean cruise.

Whatever the ‘voters’ say.

Own goals aside, the number two ad was Barclaycard’s ‘roller coaster’ from BBH (not great in my view but at least the budget was well spent) followed by the former ITV Digital monkey and Johnny Vegas, now performing for Mother and PG Tips (can’t abide either the monkey or Vegas) and then Adam & Eve’s ‘more than a woman’ high on sentiment opus for John Lewis.

This could easily have turned out to have been the cheesiest ad of all time but the agency pulls it off perfectly, with scarcely a dry eye in the house and the hitherto rather functional department store chain newly ensconced as the UK’s favourite brand, among the middle classes anyway.

As for the show itself it was interesting that they chose a bunch of rather chavvy soap actors to front it plus an extraordinary person called Keith Lemon, a ‘business mogul and lothario’ apparently.

Does this mean he’s like Alan Sugar without the lothario bit?

But it least it had the fragrant Claire Beale from Campaign to add the voice of reason from time to time, plus a raised eyebrow at the choice of the winner.

Actually these shows should be a bit cheap and cheerful (OK, vulgar) because that’s what ITV at it’s most successful is. It was interesting that it was sponsored by DFS, the massive furniture chain that has built its business on TV advertising (and thousands of crappy commercials).

DFS, the sponsor of ‘ITV Christmas,’ recently moved its media account from Newcastle’s Robson Brown into Publicis Groupe’s Starcom, toppling Robson Brown into a very brief administration.

I bet that caused a few kerfuffles at ITV in the run-up to the programme too.

Anyway here’s the John Lewis ad that should have won.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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