Magazine article Marketing

Agencies Call on Past to Breathe New Life into Ads

Magazine article Marketing

Agencies Call on Past to Breathe New Life into Ads

Article excerpt

Agencies call on past to breathe new life into ads

Notice something odd about new campaigns this year? Yes, you've seen most of them before. Old is in as client after client rummages around in the cupboard marked "tried and trusted" and pulls out six, seven and even 30-year-old campaign ideas.

Abbey National, after a six year gap, has exhumed the Abbey Habit. Rowntree's "latest" campaign digs out the old faithful trucker, dropped seven years ago. And Rowntree, again, is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Milky Bar Kid -- now surely developing a slight paunch and greying around the temples -- by re-running the original 1961 campaign.

Could it be that straitened times mean marketers are delving deep for the assets in their locker -- the evergreen themes we know, love and remember -- to squeeze that little bit extra from their ad pound?

Admen saw it coming. Back in November 1989 WCRS chief executive Robin Wight predicted, in a keynote address to the Marketing Society annual conference, that such "advertising archaeology" would be the theme of the recession-hit 90s (Marketing, November 23 1990). Clients and agencies must "breathe life into old ideas" to retain a share of the consumer's mind as costs rise and spare cash dwindles. "You have to use your brain when your purse isn't quite so full," concluded Wight.

Prophetic. Indeed, new Abbey agency Barker Ralston won the business in January with a pitch document excitingly called Building on the Strengths of the Past. …

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