Friday, April 21, 2006

Half baked Elvis

Kingsmill’s' Elvis ad campaign, created by JWT, is taking the blame for the disastrous sales at Associated British Food.

The campaign featured Elvis Presley, OK, so he was best known for his love of deep-fried peanut butter sandwiches, founding the first Kingsmill Bakery during his one and only visit to the UK, followed by the strapline "By appointment of the King".

Really, they weren't half bad and they were a sight better than the ads featuring comediennes Mel & Sue.

However, George Weston, ABF chief executive, laid the blame at the door of the ads as he tried to explain to the City how sales of Kingmills had... well crumbled.

"We're going to repair the damage that's been done," Weston said, adding that its "consumer marketing not being sharp enough".

Weston can, of course, point to the fact he already fired the agency concerned. JWT parted company with ABF, which appointed M&C Saatchi in February without a pitch.

For a company apparently in need of creative ideas, maybe a pitch would have been appropriate? That's possibly just crazy talk.

The appointment of M&C extended the agency's existing relationship with ABF, with which it works with in Australia on the ABF subsidiary George Weston Foods (main bread brand Mighty White, handled by M&C's Sydney office).

Personally I didn't think JWT's ads, which broke in October 2004, were that bad. The use of the King was a good idea. and I really couldn't agree less with an unnamed commentator in The Times who said using Elvis was the equivalent of "Buddy Holly fronting an airline commercial, or Marvin Gaye a campaign to remember Father’s Day".

The problem for Kingsmill, like anyone else making bread in factories, is what they put in it. It seems to last forever, which doesn’t really isn't right. Bread isn't supposed to do that and consumers more than ever are making healthier choices.

Part of those healthy choices means going organic or buying food fresh. Personally I buy bread from the famous local Turkish Cypriot bakery Yasar Halim. It tends to last about two days, which is sort of what nature intended.

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