Go to work on an egg: how would today's marketers reimagine this classic ad campaign?

The Reimagining Advertising campaign, created in partnership with GumGum, is asking a panel of ten marketers how they would reimagine seminal ads from the pre-digital age to find out how today’s leading advertising thinkers would reinvent them with the current digital tools at their disposal.

In the first in the series, Paddy Power CMO Gav Thomson; Xaxis CEO Caspar Schlickum; retail marketer Dom Burch, founder and managing director of What Crisis previously senior director, marketing innovation and new revenue, Asda; and Ben Plomion, SVP Marketing, GumGum reimagine Go To Work on an Egg.

A 60s Classic

When the British Egg Marketing Board launched its ‘Go to Work on an Egg' ads, few could imagine the iconic status the campaign would achieve. The 1-minute spots featured a curmudgeonly Tony Hancock – beloved comedian and star of the popular show “Hancock’s Half Hour” – at the breakfast table, confronting an egg. Actress Patricia Hayes encourages him to give it a try.

Fay Weldon of Ogilvy & Mather is widely credited for writing the slogan ‘Go to work on an egg,’ although she insists it was her crack creative team that penned the line.

According to the British Egg Marketing Board, the campaign, first launched in the 1960s, was so successful that soon Brits were eating five per week.

How would our panelists reimagine these iconic ads?

Your Job on Eggstacy: Gav Thompson, CMO, Paddy Power

There are a few reasons why this campaign was so successful in 1965. First, it focused on work, which is a common experience. Second, it was one of the first to feature a well-known personality. And third, the line, “go to work on an egg” was a really clever play on words.

To refresh this ad for 2016, I’d keep those elements, but update them. I’d use the comedian Harry Hill as Tony Hancock’s replacement. He has the magnetism to pull it off, and as an added benefit, he’s a bit of an egghead (read: bald). And as for the line, I’d go with a provocative, slightly naughty one, such as: “Would your job be more fun if you were on eggstacy?”

Staying with the work theme, I’d target people in work moments, using work-oriented channels, such as LinkedIn. And I’d target them during times when they’re most likely to eat an egg.

That’s how I’d start the campaign. To get engagement, I’d invite people submit Tweets or Vines describing their experiences of taking eggstacy whilst at work. I imagine we’d get some pretty creative Vines.

Go further, on the eggs themselves, I’d have ‘alternate-reality’ barcodes that people can scan with their mobile device, and instantly receive the most recent, or most popular Vines or posts on doing eggstacy whilst at work.

Go to Work on a Seg: Dom Burch, MD, What Crisis

People want to be entertained and advertising works best when it’s entertaining and effectively inserted into the zeitgeist via social media. This is the approach I’d take.

To update this ad, I’d recruit Lee Mack, Sally Bretton and Katie Wix – stars of the hit sitcom, Not Going Out – to create a 30-minute commercial that feels very much like an episode of the show.

The storyline is as follows: Lee and Sally make a bet over who can get healthier faster. Lee’s strategy is to land a job at a local health food store, which he commutes to via his Segway hover board (aka his Seg). While there he gorges on goji berries, organic walnuts and lots of other healthy (albeit high caloric) foods.

Meanwhile, Sally walks to work wearing her Fitbit and eats only low-calorie foods like salads and fish. Lee tries to sabotage Sally’s efforts by encouraging her to eat eggs. Sally, doing some research, discovers they have many health benefits and are low calorie. In fact, she tries to get him to eat eggs as well, but he doesn’t trust her. After a month, Sally leaves Lee in the dust.

The “Go to Work on a Seg” video would live on YouTube, and be linked to an abundance of healthful information on eggs, tips on dieting and recipes. Once we have the core concept and nice footage, we can break it down into little Vines, and Instagram videos that act as teasers that draw people to the YouTube video.

A chicken on every device: Caspar Schlickum, CEO, Xaxis

Xaxis is a programmatic company, and so the first thing to come to mind is data. The first trick is to turn a very broad audience into data to build discrete segments, which can be done through the campaign assets themselves. For instance, a campaign website can have tabs for Singletons, Breakfast for the Hungry Guy, Family Dinner, Bakers, among others.

That way, consumers reveal their interests and demographics by the tab they click. Building on that, we can layer in additional data, such as time of day, so that ads feature eggs for breakfast (scrambled), lunch (egg salad) or dinner (Spanish torta) as appropriate.

Better still, the Egg Board can synchronize TV advertising with digital campaigns, so that when a general “Go to Work on an Egg” TV advert is aired, it’s amplified by a digital campaign. Using programmatic, the campaign can purchase every available mobile display or video impression offering links to recipes and how-to videos.

We know that a large portion of people pick-up their devices during ad breaks, so this gives us an effective way to pick up what would other be lost GRPs.

In terms of messaging, I recommend celebrating the chicken and the happy, wholesome lives they lead. People want to know their food comes from a good place. This lends itself to native and social media advertising strategies.

Make your day eggstraordinary: Ben Plomion, SVP Marketing, GumGum

For this ad, I see making a strong link between everything that’s good about mornings and eggs. Mornings are all about fresh starts, new possibilities and feeling rested. It’s the foundation of the day.

For this campaign, I’d build a strong association between eggs and the best that morning has to offer: sunrises, coffee, workouts, peaceful-looking beds. I’d update the tagline to: “Make your day eggstraordinary.”

We live in visual world with more than two billion images shared across the Internet every day. It’s possible now to leverage these images by targeting ads based the subject matter of an image. For instance, technology can now identify – on a considerable scale – images of people who are exercising and sunrises.

We can also overlay ads onto those images, which is useful in building the kind of association I’m talking about. For this campaign, I’d overlay egg ads with images of mornings, as well as images that deal with weight control or other health concerns.

The ads themselves would feature images of eggs prepared with healthy fruits and vegetables, and would link to recipes with calorie counts, and videos with tips for making eggs healthfully and quickly.

We could even partner with Weight Watchers or FitBit to sponsor a “Get Eggstraordinary” challenge for people who want to get into shape and live a healthier lifestyle. People can share their own recipes and tips on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on.

This content was supported by GumGum but all content is editorially independent.

Justin Pearse

All by Justin