Mixed bag of advertising that fails to build relationships

After last week’s incredulous blog post about eBay leaping onto Patrick Swayze’s demise, and the general state of advertising (Go Compare, anyone?), I’ve actually been paying a little more attention just in case there’s anything good in between the main events.

Barclays seems to have caught a great advertising team – two ads for two different products were clever and eye-catching. I liked the latest ads for some car marque, which seemed to offer three different cars depending on your budget but I can’t remember which brand; likewise the “chasing her metaphors” piggy bank ad again, amusing ad but can’t recall the brand. I loved the army ad detailing a strike on an insurgent gun, but on reflection felt underwhelmed when this turned out to be the chap’s career highlight (the army chap, not the insurgent chap). I really liked the Cadbury’s Fair Trade ad. Actually, it was a mixed bag. I’m very glad I can avoid it all with a PVR’s ffwd button.

None of it however has been designed to develop a relationship. Even the Cadbury’s one, which presumably is part of a series designed to give me a rounded sense of the brand new brand onion, felt stuck on – unrelated to the Gorilla or those other ones that didn’t work. I’d love to see advertising that deliberately led off-screen, not just to the shop but to a place where a relationship can flower.

I can’t remember the last time an ad told me to visit the website in a clear, beneficial way. Oh, apart from all those second-string insurance aggregator sites of course, which do so so risibly it’s more a distraction than marketing (“let’s grab the consumer’s attention, at any cost” we imagine the account guy saying, shortsightedly – smacking of desperation on the part of both client and agency). I’d love to work with an ad agency that had the confidence to work with a digital specialist to create a genuine journey. Meerkats and Army aside, they just don’t cross-refer – and the beauty of the modern customer journey is that it can and should be fluid, media savvy and engaging, not ephemeral, boorish and – in some cases thankfully – entirely negligent of brand recall.