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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Oh dear! Tom McPhail gives me a spanking - and rightly, too, but there's a lesson for you

If you follow finance in this country you'll almost certainly run across the name Tom McPhail.

He is the leading spokesman for Hargreaves Lansdown, a firm I dash off the odd paragraph for, and is constantly being quoted in the media, probably because it's easy to understand what he says.

After my last piece about corporate advertising he took me to task with such hilarious accuracy that I thought I should quote him.

The first part is too flattering so I've edited it a bit. But the point he makes is bang on.

Generally speaking, your output is so near to gospel as to be unquestioned ...

However, the final line of your recent blog had me spitting tea across my wipeclean laptop.


Is Drayton seriously holding up Nationwide as some beacon of enlightenment in this stygian miasma of corporate guff through which we stumble?

Who do you find fronting Nationwide's website, television and poster campaign?

None other than Vikki Pollard, the nauseating and unnecessary creation of Matt Lucas. Maybe I'm getting old but any organisation that thinks it can endear itself to me by using the epitome of crass, ignorant selfish and superficial youth as its 'brand ambassador' is most certainly not going to enjoy the benefit of lending out my hard-earned cash at the usurious rates of interest which now seem customary in these post credit crunch days.

I don't really care how clever the ads are, they couldn't have deterred me more effectively if they had simply given over their website landing page to a high definition close up of Ed Balls and Gordon Brown indulging in a bout of gentle petting.

He is right, and I am wrong. Nationwide were running excellent ads poking fun at the banks. Now they have strayed on to the lush but poisonous pastures of creative masturbation.

The ads obscure the message.

I sit at my antique computer, chastened and corrected.

The man who summed up the problem was the late Bill Bernbach, voted greatest adman of the 20th century, who said:

"All this talk of creativity worries me. I fear lest we keep the creativity and lose the sell."

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