28 November 2012 - 11:00am | posted by | 37 comments

The Marketing Weak Award: Go Outdoors - Walking The Dog

It's that time of the week again where The Drum highlights an advert for its sheer uselessness, only for you to watch it and wish you hadn't afterwards. This week's advert, from Go Outdoors is likely to make you want to do just that for a breath of fresh air to recover afterwards from the stink.

Nothing says discount better than a Frisbee that has "10%" printed on it. Terrible music and an awful voiceover combine with uninspiring footage in a bid to draw attention to a special offer that encourages punters to test the advertised company's proposition that it has the best prices available.

Comments

28 Nov 2012 - 12:01
StuMarlow's picture

Uselessness? So have you seen GO Outdoors' ROI for this campaign then? Yeah, sure it's pure vom as far as creativity goes, but they aren't the UK's biggest Outdoor Gear Retailer for nothing.

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30 Jan 2013 - 15:18
David Abbott's picture

It's interesting how people who are clearly incapable of creating compelling, engaging and persuasive ads always point to the ROI - as if creativity and effectiveness are mutually exclusive. This is a dog turd of ad by any standards and the ROI (Really Obvious Incompetence?) is no excuse.

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28 Nov 2012 - 12:26
nigel_charlesworth's picture

Good point on ROI, and remember GO Outdoors is targeting a wide audience and segments. OK, they won't appeal to niche groups like snow boarders or extreme sports bods, but this ad will tick the boxes of the biggest segment. Crap as it is. The other argument is that there is no excuse for producing lame, uninspiring adverts.

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28 Nov 2012 - 12:29
adrianbentley's picture

Is it gonna win any creative awards? Rhetorical question! Did it get me in-store and parting with 70 notes for a 'bargain' Berghaus? Actually, yes. Maybe not so useless then.

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28 Nov 2012 - 13:13
martindunne's picture

Surely this campaign must have had budgetary constriaints in the production phase. It has a pretty strong message but a poor execution - The ROI may be high, but how much higher could it have been if executed to a higher standard. That said, everyone loves a frisbee, don't they?

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28 Nov 2012 - 13:20
jonathan_hirst's picture

Perhaps instead of denigrating advertising campaigns because they're not the most creative in the world, the ROI should be the priority - know the brief first and then judge the campaign...

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28 Nov 2012 - 13:55
J_Price's picture

There's already some good comments above that state exactly what I was thinking. It's always interesting to know what brief and budget, as well as constraints the creative and production teams (or individuals) had to work with before being overly critical. Horses for courses, and in this field this horse may be better placed to win.

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28 Nov 2012 - 14:00
Danny Herbert's picture

Really enjoying this feature because it allows for some good luvvie-baiting by all, it seems! There's nothing really terrible about this ad except the over-cheesy performances. I watched it once and didn't die, plus I can see what it's selling and that it's aimed at dog walkers like me (and, I guess, 95% of GO's audience). If I'm honest it's nowhere near as good as last week's ad for Natures Valley. Last night the new, somewhat self-indulgent, thinks-people-talk-about-advertising-when-they-don't Go Compare spot was on TV and I distinctly remember wishing the NV ad was on in its place. Like watching George Clooney as Batman and wishing it was Val Kilmer instead.

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28 Nov 2012 - 14:04
katiecohen's picture

Do you know, I fail to see the point in this column aside from providing an outlet for slagging off client-approved work (often as highlighted above, which actually does WORK for the client in achieving ROI). Oh, and just generally riling folk without any good reason.

Did anyone inform Go Outdoors about their "win" - or the agency who produced the work? Or for any of the previous "winners" either? How are they chosen - purely on opinion? What's anticipated to come from this award - embarrassment? Fear that your ad will appear here next, even if it's what the client wanted and is actually performing really well for them?

This isn't a news item, it's a blog at best - and perhaps one that should be signed up to separately from the actual Drum enewsletter too, seeing as I had no inclination to have this nonsense sent into my inbox and it turns out you can't unsubscribe from it as a single category. How's that for model practice of online comms!

Poor show, The Drum. If you're going to do this, at least have the decency to do it properly.

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28 Nov 2012 - 14:06
nigel_charlesworth's picture

Yes, let's not disappear up our own you know what on this one. If the client's happy and the target audience are suitably engaged, then job done. My only other thought is that GO aren't entirely sure what the audience is - so best fire the blunderbus.

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28 Nov 2012 - 14:37
Ogilvy's picture

So we're only judging the creative merits of the ad?

So what? Isn't that the point of the column.

It's a column about shitty ads. If I wanted to know the ROI of a campaign I'd read an effectiveness award.

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29 Nov 2012 - 10:03
The Word Monkey's picture

I think the problem here is the use of the word 'uselessness' in the article. That seems to be what has got everyone droning on about ROI. As Ogilvy pointed out earlier, debating/slating the creativity of an ad can be completely separate to judging its effectiveness. The execution is pretty bad, and there's no harm in pointing that out and debating it.

Whether this ad is effective or not is a different story altogether, and something we can't judge without seeing the figures.

Maybe calling it the Turkey of the week, rather than slating its uselessness, would keep the account folks happy.

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28 Nov 2012 - 15:04
rbgoo31149's picture

Interesting comments, and yes we are focused on ROI. If you are talking cheesy with a bit of cheese on top for good measure, I'm surprised our previous ads for product specific offers have not made it into this column well before this ad. This ad is a departure for us and no it's not award winning, could probably have been better, however my wife saw the John Lewis ad a couple of nights ago and couldn't understand what all the fuss was about (£6 million quid to achieve a response like that from a target customer!). Would anyone hazard a guess at the cost of our ad? Mr Charlesworth your are right in some respects, however ITV 1 which is the channel in which this ad was aired, pretty much deserves a blunderbus approach (which.........is working!). Thanks for the comments - must do better next time, however, keep watching the ROI.

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28 Nov 2012 - 15:53
NickEggleton's picture

First reaction - not the weakest ad I've ever seen (or had the misfortune of a poor client to produce for).

Yes, poor music choice, overly stereotypical actors, poor V.O., overall v poor execution, but this is evidently a media opportunity ruling a 'creative' production. I'd hazard a guess a 'creative' agency didn't produce this. it looks like a 'commercial production company'. E.g. a bit like how commecial radio uses 'freelance' writers / voiceovers to produce much of the rubbish they do. If it was agency - they should have done better - even with the constraints of budget.

Wonder how much of overall spend was put into creative / production.

Second reaction - Felt a littleold school ASDA / Tesco - supermarket - EDLP - which essentially it is. Propositions were clear and repeated. So - short-term ROI may be good, but would require frequency.

Haven't seen any other work to put into context. A lot of their competitors work is much worse. Would be interested in the long-term effect on brand perception.

I'd be prouder of this as an agency or client for getting on TV and selling stuff to new audiences than blowing £6m on the John lewis crap that sells to an existing audience and is portfolio work for ego led creatives / ambitious suits.

So. Assuming rbgoo31149 actually works at Go.

Go 6/10 The idea wasn't too bad. Execution is everything.

The Drum 2/10 The idea is ok (laughing at crap work), but the execution is awful. Pick on an ad theat doesn't deliver.

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28 Nov 2012 - 16:09
Ogilvy's picture

Probably worth pointing out the John Lewis ads recently won an IPA effectiveness award precisely for delivering a very high ROI. So it was hardly "blowing £6m".

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28 Nov 2012 - 16:15
Ogilvy's picture

Actually on further inspection the last John Lewis xmas ad had an ROI of £9 profit for every £1 spent.

Which is superb.

Maybe you should be "proud" of that if you'd done it.

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28 Nov 2012 - 16:19
chich's picture

Delivering a 10% discount is never easy. Discount Ads are what they are...

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28 Nov 2012 - 16:19
boroboroboro's picture

Good for you rbgoo! For what it's worth, I've been in radio advertising over 30 years and have won 22 national and international 'gongs' for creativity during that time. However, I have never lost sight of the fact that it is the advertisers investment and more importantly the anticipated RETURN on their investment that allows me to come in and swan around at work in a 'creative' enviroment every day. I'm now a director at one of the UK's foremost radio specialist creative agencies and we deal largely within the motor retail sector. I imagine that quite a bit of the work we produce here could be held up by 'Marketing Weak' as "advertising offal", but our clients have been coming back and also recommending us for the last 12 years because of that all important ROI. Only thing I would say I do find a tad confusing about the Go! ad, is the fact that the couple are allowed to take their dog into the store, despite the fact that it doesn't appear to be a registered guid dog!

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28 Nov 2012 - 16:32
andic19628's picture

QUOTE: "That's really good to hear. I like Go Outdoors and didn't know they welcomed dogs in their stores!"

http://www.dogsey.com/showthread.php?t=135151

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28 Nov 2012 - 16:59
Sweat_Pea's picture

This ad has a clear message, albeit done in a simple "no frills" way - Yes the music is poor and the voice has much to be desired but it is advertising an unbeatable discount fair and square. It is cheesy and the production values are low but I bet it didn't cost that much to create!

I also think ROI is a debatable subject. How could John Lewis possibly determine that ROI so soon? Their sales are already flying, if this ad did deliver at £9 profit for every £1 spent this ad (working on the back of fag packet moment here) has generated approx £150,000,000 in *additional* sales between the start of the campaign and when the IPA report was compiled (assuming 40% margin and not including the cost of airtime!)

By the way from what I understand ANY dog can go into a Go outdoors...

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28 Nov 2012 - 17:11
martindunne's picture

@katiecohen this column enables and encourages debate around some ads that seem to divide attention - I think this has provoked a great response and am glad to read it. I for one look forward to The Marketing Weak award to see if people have similar thoughts to myself. The guys from Go Outdoors have answered many questions and put a few people in their places with their response. At the end, of the day as long as they are happy and proud of their ad and its performance then it makes very little difference what is said about it... how many people, like me, have watched it because of this column and thought - bloody hell that's a strong proposition, next time I'll definitely consider going there rather than a competitor. Ok their execution isn't great but as I said in my previous post, the message is strong and sometimes that is enough.

This ad is certainly not the worst I have seen. This ‘award' does highlight some ads that are just terrible, like the Ford B-Max from a few weeks back – the ‘our car has no pillar between the front and back doors, don't worry about performance, efficiency or comfort because you can dive straight through it from a high board... can you do that in your Vauxhall? I don't think so!!' was a particular highlight.

Over the past couple of years there have been some terrible ads and having a forum like this to discuss them is long overdue! Thanks The Drum, keep up the good work!

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28 Nov 2012 - 17:11
marksimsdesign's picture

For me it does its job. No it's not the most exciting or thrilling advert in the world, and the voice over guys voice is very annoying, BUT, if I were in the market for a new bit of camping equipment etc it would make me consider looking at Go Outdoors.

Job done in my opinion.

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28 Nov 2012 - 17:29
katiecohen's picture

The thing is - it's not presented as a "forum" - it's shoved down subscribers' throats like something to be celebrated - like a playground bully hanging a weaker kid from a flagpole to let the other kids laugh at them.

Comments are welcome on all Drum articles and I agree with open debate being inspiring, yes - but I just think it's a poor show, and very poor taste, for what I feel should be an unbiased industry publication to make a mockery of selected adverts, based on their own opinion and no justification other than that.

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28 Nov 2012 - 18:24
martindunne's picture

@katiecohen if people put out poor work then why shouldn't they be shown up for it - I think the case in point here has proved that the nominated ad has actually been a success for the client and that they are happy with it. They have had their say and done a good job in expressing their views and put a few people's points to bed.

The only people that should be bothered by columns like this are those who have no confidence in their own work or are happy to put out poorly produced work with no fear of negative feedback.

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28 Nov 2012 - 18:43
katiecohen's picture

What "bothers" me is that this is in the News section, not the Opinion area.

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28 Nov 2012 - 18:04
Ogilvy's picture

Isn't that what editorial is for? So you can have an opinion based on your own opinion?

Can we stop pretending there's something wrong with criticising work? We've all done it.

Campaign does a column called Private view which critiques ads too. Maybe you should complain about that?

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28 Nov 2012 - 18:17
katiecohen's picture

I believe that Private View is written by named individuals, not nameless, and is put forward as an opinion - not supposedly portraying the opinion of the whole publication, ie "THE DRUM presents". And the difference is that it does actively critique - not just say something is rubbish as if it's been actively put to a committee to decide this, or analysed in any way.

I don't think there's anything wrong with criticising work - not constructive criticism, certainly. But there's something wrong when an industry publication goes out of its way to highlight "terrible" ads.

This should be a blog on The Drum, not an "award". My complaint lies with the presentation and the context, not merely with the content.

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28 Nov 2012 - 22:26
Ogilvy's picture

We need a committee now to decide if an ad is bad?

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30 Nov 2012 - 08:49
mark_astle's picture

So when the Drum post an ad as news and we all slag it off it's ok, but when the Drum has the temerity to point out that an ad's a bit shit, that's not ok? The ad's a bit shit. Maybe if it was a bit less shit, it would have got an even better ROI.

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30 Nov 2012 - 09:21
katiecohen's picture

@mark_astle Yes, that's what I mean.

And in response to earlier comments, do "we" need a committee? If by "we" you mean The Drum, yes.

What's difficult about that concept?

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30 Nov 2012 - 09:22
katiecohen's picture

That's a rhetorical question - for which the answer should be "nothing."

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30 Nov 2012 - 11:25
Ogilvy's picture

No, The Drum doesn't need a committee to decide an ad is poor. It's a piece of editorial and it's entitled to it's opinion, as am I. I think the ad is an absolute turd, and I don't need to run it past some hypothetical committee to be entitled to say so - neither does The Drum.

Incidentally, I don't know if you ever read Campaign but you'll find the "active critique" as you put it is actually shorter and less detailed than the one offered here.

* This post was approved by The Drum Comments Section Approval Committee.

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30 Nov 2012 - 11:40
katiecohen's picture

If it's a piece of Editorial, it should be under Opinion, not News.

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30 Nov 2012 - 11:43
boroboroboro's picture

Gadzooks! This is all getting very tetchy and incredibly petty dont'cha think?

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30 Nov 2012 - 11:47
katiecohen's picture

Aye, tell me about it. I'm not meaning to be tetchy - I just think that facts are facts, and opinion is opinion. And there's a line - and it should be that simple, regardless of publication and what it's covering.

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30 Nov 2012 - 11:57
gerry.farrell@leith.co.uk's picture

Do some work, you lot!

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30 Nov 2012 - 13:35
jasonstone's picture

@gerry.farrell@l... Yeah - listen to Gerry. After all, you don't want to get in hot water for intemperate online comments... oh.

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