One of the knock on effects of the downturn, nee the credit crunch SOON TO BE PROPER ACTUAL RECESSION EVEN UNDER OFFICIAL DEFINITIONS is there is less frivolous money banging around in industry. Cutbacks come in more profligate and somewhat unproven areas. HELLO advertising, an industry puffed up with its own importance but a general lack of all that much in the way of concrete evidence that its work really improves sales. The Cadbury’s drumming ape after all did more to drive up sales of Phil Collins Greatest Hits that it did Cabdury’s*.

I saw this ad this morning and it told me where all the ad pounds are going.
Singing food stuff in a DEFRA advert for not importing food from outside the EU. It appears the upshot is that as ad prices go down and ad agencies scramble for work the benificiary is THE GOVERNMENT. Yes, its another Government bail-out. And yet thinking about it, the history of British ads is littered (literally) with the morphing of somewhat clunky old school public service announcements into hard hitting or clever ads. From the immensely successful AIDS: Don’t Die Of Ignorance, through to the recent moonwalking bear ads, the UK Government has a pretty good record of tossing out memorable ads. This could be because many of them are warning us, and come it various shades and bone cracks of pain, horror and misery. Which is what makes this DEFRA ad so refreshing, that it uses humour (and well judged humour at that) to tackle and issue that no-one ever really thinks about.

And while ads may not always drive up sales, they do have a much better record in raising awareness. What’s not memorable about singing cheese**.

*OK, I don’t have the Collins Greatest Hits figures.

**Mind you, who would want cheese from outside of Europe? Except aerosol cheese of course.