Magazine article Marketing

Eurostar Arrives at United's Pitch before the Rest

Magazine article Marketing

Eurostar Arrives at United's Pitch before the Rest

Article excerpt

Every once in a while you see an ad that makes you smile, draws your attention to the product and makes you want to buy it. This is a rare and unusual combination which normally eludes the advertising industry and only happens a couple of times a year. It is a bonus when the copyline fits the subject perfectly and adds an element of knowing self-mockery.

Not everyone is an uncritical fan of Eric Cantona, certainly not distraught Queens Park Rangers fans condemned to relegation by one of his alarming goals in the third minute of extra time last season. But Eric the performer in the Eurostar ad is pure magic.

Maybe you wouldn't want to sit beside him all the way to Paris, but it is a nice thought that it could actually happen. And it is almost certainly safe. He probably doesn't do scissor kicks on trains. But to the appropriateness of the subject and the product, is added the parody of Eric's Monty Pythonesque philosophy about gulls following trawlers.

Does a bird that is free sing more sweetly than one in a cage, ponders Eric, in an attempt to distract claustrophobic viewers from the realities of the cage under the Channel. But it doesn't matter, because you smile and book a trip.

The real cleverness of the Eurostar ad is the decision to ride on the back of one of the most illustrious segments of one of the great brands in Britain today, Manchester United, despite Sunday's thrashing by Newcastle. Hardly a day passes without a news story about Granada and ManU launching a football channel, or Granada, Whitbread, Mark McCormack's IMG, or VCI, the video company chaired by Michael Grade, all lining up to launch takeover bids for ManU. …

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