Kim Penstone

Appletiser: Pure perfection

2004-11-09 08:17

The more I watch, and listen to, and write about advertising, the more I realise how easy it is to catch the average person's attention. It really is as simple as shouting "Sex!" out loud, in capital letters, then adding gently, in lowercase, "now that I have your attention..."

Granted, the "Sex!" these days does need to be bigger and better than it used to be, but the bottom line is that there are certain triggers that will always cause us mere mortals to lend an ear and an eye. What has changed, over the years, is the length of time we're willing to keep those ears and eyes open.

So the real trick, as any good agency will tell you, lies not in arresting attention, but rather in arresting and then keeping it. Because what's the point in catching someone's attention if they don't hang around long enough to catch the brand name?

Which is why I can't help but give the new Appletiser campaign 100%.

(Although I should admit, at this point, that I do perhaps have an ulterior motive in that I'm 100% relieved to see the back of the bubble-bathing babe who finds pure pleasure below the belt. Not that I'm opposed to pleasure below the belt, mind you, just that I'm worried that some poor bloke will accidentally choke on a lavender fizz ball while attempting to provide pure pleasure sans swim goggles. Suddenly the peaceful scene erupts into coughing and spluttering and splashing and swearing. Ads like this should come with warnings to not try this at home...)

But back to the new campaign.

I must have seen the new ad at least five times already, but I still insist on watching it to completion, even if I catch it halfway through. Each time I see it, I stop talking and start reading. And every time, I'm intrigued anew by the percentages assigned to the characters.

Perhaps it has something to do with the tranquillity of the ad. When everything else around us is shouting, this ad is whispering.

Perhaps it has something to do with its ability to engage the viewer. When most TV ads tell us what to think, this ad invites us to think for ourselves.

In my humble opinion, however, it's the use of text that really captures, and holds, our attention. In an age where imagery has eclipsed the written word, the simplicity of some well-thought-out text cuts straight through the advertising clutter.

The timing is perfect, the tone is perfect. And not only that, it's perfectly in tune with the message that the spot is trying to convey - everything else in life might be made up of a little bit of this, and some of that, but Appletiser is 100% pure - pure Appletiser, pure pleasure.

And in my book, that's pure perfection.

  • Kim Penstone, editor of Marketingweb, eats, sleeps, drinks and dreams advertising, so please excuse her if she's become a little cynical, or worse, a navel-gazing critic. If you think she needs a dose of reality, send her your comments now.

    Alternatively, if you'd like to read her more often, go to

    Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


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