When Ashes Cricket and hi-jack advertising collide


My intention for this blog from the start was to try and weave in something about cricket. An ode to the downfall of the Aussies, a bash at the pommie bashers. But finding a link between the Ashes and advertising was proving tricky until I came across this:

Ashes advertising

Then I thought, hmm this isn’t bad, I mean the corkscrew bottle opener does look like a bowler appealing to the umpire, but when you delve a bit further, it’s not a ‘tight’ piece of work. There are lots of elements that don’t quite work. Carlsberg makes beer not wine, so how often do you actually use one of those corkscrews/bottle openers when glugging back an ice-cold Carlsberg, given that it mainly comes in cans? 

I know I’m being picky, but for tactical ads to work at their best and for you to say ‘hmm well done, massive respect goes out to Mr Brand X’, with a wry, knowing smile, they’ve got to be on the money. 

See the one below, it works, there is no room to question the link or the role of Carlsberg. 


So then I thought, lets find some examples of true genius. Where a news item has been brilliantly hi-jacked by a brand. Where all you can do is sit back and marvel at its cleverness and slight of hand.  

How about this: 


If you’re not in the know, you won’t get it. And that’s the beauty of it. Arsenal had a run for an entire season without losing. Teams form are shown using the letters W: win, D: draw at obviously L for a Loss.  

I’ll leave it to you to work out why Arsenal is spelt wrong. Genius. 

Why is this brilliant? Well, because Nike are all about being inside sport, those who get it, those who understand every nuance of the game, this ad only works for the football fan. The net result, Nike will be viewed as knowing football like no other brand. 

(It’s not worth mentioning but I will anyway, that I was an Account Director for Nike at the time and myself and the production manager went round Highbury at the end of the season handing out car stickers.) The Gooners loved it.  We ran out of car stickers quickly so we went to the pub. Nice.

This is too…


Just after the Sun revealed Sven Goran Erickson was playing away with Ulrika Johnson, they released this as part of their ‘you know who’ campaign. This campaign was all about tapping into a moment of time effortlessly. When these ads work they can be so powerful, but the brand has to be intrinsically linked to the topic, Schweppes got away with it because their whole campaign was about commenting on popular culture, a brand for those who have an inside track, who are a little bit sharper than the average punter. 

This is another lovely one, made when the congestion charge was introduced in London. Again its brilliance is the ad allows you to invest time in it, you have to think about what it’s saying. Working out the point of it, is part of the reward, rather than a clumsy headline which tells you what to think. 


And finally this piece of genius from the creative department of Specsavers, who along with their agency consistently turn out brilliant pieces of work across every facet of culture and genre because they have a brilliant simple campaignable strategy. Added to that, rather than put it in a newspaper and wait 24 hours to print, this was tweeted the following morning after the game and re-tweeted 13,000 times in the space of an hour. For you to get maximum traction with a topical ad, you’ve got to be nimble and execute before the moment has gone. 


And to finish on a cricketing note,  it’s not just creative departments that come up with clever ads of the moment, that then become eminently shareable. Gwyn of Bayview Stores in Pembrokeshire uses his roadside blackboard daily to announce new offers and deals at their store….. https://www.facebook.com/BayViewStores, the one below has been shared 100,000 times. 

Australian cricket balls

Nice one Gwyn, definitely tighter than the Carlsberg ad.


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