Cringe-worthy boy-band actually makes for a half decent ad!


I’m a little bit late with this post, but I wanted to comment briefly on the recent Yeo Valley Campaign that launched a couple of weeks back.

For the second year in a row Yeo Valley “released” an epic musical number in the first break of the first live X-factor. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it featured a group of slightly too attractive “farmers” singing a Westlife style boy-band (the Churned) ballad (Forever) with a West-Country backdrop. This is the sequel to last year’s “rapping farmers” and whilst personally I don’t love it quite as much, I do think that this is a great example of sustainable advertising (see a couple of posts ago for more on this)

As an example of “sustainable communications” it is particularly nice in that it demonstrates that you can invest in and improve a consumer’s experience of their media without having to sponsor or ad-fund content.

I believe that this advert augments the enjoyment of people watching the X-factor because it clearly understands and plays to the specific frame of mind that those viewers find themselves in at that point. Cheesy manufactured boy-bands are the essence of X-factor and are the guilty pleasure of all who watch, so spending 2 minutes watching some bare chested boys do a tribute/parody to that is exactly what the doctor ordered for the commercial break. This relevant, informative and entertaining content delivered in such a timely fashion is a perfect example of the sustainable communications that I long to see more of.

Other things that they have done right –

1) there are not too many ratings behind this spot – they are primarily focusing on the X-factor and similar programming to ensure a tight fit with and maximum relevance for their core audience. This means they don’t have to worry about out-staying their welcome and starting to irritate and can focus on entertaining the audience that will appreciate it the most

2)They have made sure that a tangible product message is still core to the idea – (that Yeo Valley is made from milk that is sustainably farmed by West Country farmers who care about the countryside) – They have even included the lyrics in a karaoke style version of the ad that has followed more recently to make the message unmissable – Basically they have given me an actual reason to choose the product rather than to just “like” the TV ad

On an aside, I find it interesting that Yeo Valley have managed to create more noise than even Muller’s epic “Wunderful stuff” campaign that launched on the same day, in the same show and with a much more expensive ad and vastly larger advertising budget. The Muller stuff just seems to fall flat for me. It has all the theoretical ingredients for a viral hit, but viewers haven’t really fallen in love with it in the same way.

I think the difference is that Muller looks like it was made for the maximum entertainment of people who work in advertising, they’ve ticked lots of boxes of perceived retro cultural icons that are “cool” whereas the Yeo Valley work is all about appealing to my Mum (and is most definitely not cool.)

Yeo Valley have always made sure that even if their ad isn’t a massive cultural phenomenon it still communicates a reason to buy. Muller’s £20m campaign relies wholly on capturing our imagination and consumers “loving” the ad (and therefore by implication Muller) in the way that Cadburys managed with “Gorilla”, but if that fails, then what is my reason to buy their yoghurt?

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