Would this creative idea have happened in London?

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Monteith's cider: "Sorry about the twigs, folks."

For its size New Zealand has produced a lot of excellent creative work over the years.

I asked a Kiwi art director why this was so. He said agencies there work closely with client decision makers.

Does that happen in London? Maybe it did a few decades ago, but in my experience, it’s increasingly rare these days.

Anyway, I’ve just seen yet another great idea from New Zealand, this one for Monteith’s Cider.

The cider maker wanted to distinguish its product from rivals. So it asked agency Colenso BBDO to reassure drinkers that Monteith’s Cider is made only from fresh fruit, not concentrated fruit syrup.

Now that’s a pretty straightforward brief, isn’t it. Much simpler than the ones most of us copywriters and art directors get these days.

Agencies would normally just do some ads, possibly very arresting and engaging ones.

But Colenso BBDO went further.

Or rather it went back to the farm where the cider apples are grown.

The agency persuaded Montieth’s to collect handfuls of twigs from the apple trees. They then put these in the cider packs.

So when customers opened their packs they were surprised to find the twigs.

People started calling up the cider maker to ask or complain about the twigs.

The story got into the media (with a little help, one suspects, from the agency).

And Montieth’s had to explain itself.

So it ran charming apologies in the press and on posters headed, “Sorry about the twigs, folks”.

The words “NOT FROM CONCENTRATE” shouted from every ad.

In addition the company put labels on its cider packs saying, “Because we use real pears and apples in our cider, you may find real twigs in this box.”.

Now isn’t that a great way to get people talking about your product, and remembering your USP?

Imagine the work that went into making Monteith’s twig campaign happen. All the liaising between agency and client, and the packers and the pack designers and the farm manager and so forth.

And then, if you work in or with a London agency, imagine trying to make it happen for your/client’s brand.

Would an idea like that make it beyond the agency creative department?

“Nice idea guys, but impractical.”

Or what if it reached the client’s marketing director – what then?

(Sucking teeth) “Extra work for the packers…health and safety issues. Sorry, try again”

Or suppose it got as far as the client’s lawyers.

“Customers could prick themselves on a twig then sue us – forget it.”

Or do I underestimate London agencies and their clients?

Let me know what you think, below.

You can watch a short video about the Monteith’s Cider campaign at BEST ADS on TV.


1 reply
  1. Al
    Al says:

    Surprised we can still buy stuff in glass bottles really, amazingly easy to turn them into weapons of mass destruction.

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