It started with Ferrero Rocher and the ambassador. A badly dubbed ad so famed for its mediocrity that it became a kitsch classic.
More recently, there is the improbably named Cillit Bang. The first time I saw it, I thought it was the start of a teaser campaign that would eventually pay itself off in a spectacular way. But it didn't. What you see is what you get.
The decade between these two ads has been littered with similar examples of the Euro-ad, which roll out everywhere from Warsaw to Walsall via a short stop off at the studio to partially address those annoying language differences. If only the EU would adopt a common form of verbal communication, a language equivalent of the Euro, even this annoying detour would be a thing of the past (although I doubt we Brits would subscribe to it).
But why do some companies seem happy to turn out this drivel? Whilst I've never been privy to the workings of a large multinational's marketing department, I suspect
that a desperate race to grab market share in a new category (or sub-category) is to blame.
New product is developed and tested in a particular market. Does well. Decision is made to roll out to other countries. No time to develop ads for these markets, so a heavyweight media schedule is booked whilst a quick dub is done on the original ad. Job done.
I can see the business sense in it, of course, but it just seems so well, wrong. And it's not a failing of just TV advertisers. Too often, the call comes in: We've got to get a mailpack / insert out there next week / tomorrow. Quality isn't an issue, and quality isn't a word you'd usually associate with the hastily-produced resulting communication.
Creating work that works wonders for sales and a brand always takes time to think about, explore, and craft. And if it's not going to work, what's the point in doing it?