Kim Penstone

It's the song that lasts

2004-10-19 09:53

Last week, I came clean about my short attention span, using this personality trait to explain my frustration with long-running advertising themes and characters, like Vodacom's Michael de Pinna and Professor Bankole Omotoso.

This week, however, I'm going to contradict myself (I'm a woman; I'm entitled to change my mind).

The reason is simple. A couple of weeks ago, Plascon released a new ad for Wall & All, featuring a collection of graceful and nimble snails, waltzing to the French refrains that some would recognise from the soundtrack of Amelie.

It's a charming ad. And I love snails and have done from an early age when I used to rescue them from neighbouring gardeners and their salt-wielding sons.

But I can't help but miss those ungraceful and less-than-nimble elephants, who used to douse their 'bathroom' walls in litres of muddy water, to the upbeat tune of "Splish, splash, I'm a takin' a bath!"

The pachyderms, however, have been splish-splashing on our screens for over six years and, given my previous opinion, you'd expect me to be applauding Plascon for making the almighty move from trunks to trails.

Six years is a long time. And if you think about it logically, the snail trails are probably a better marketing fit for Plascon - elephants, in my mind at least, are still IBM's domain, following the famous hatchlings in the desert, while snails shells remain unbranded.

In addition, it's unlikely that the average South African will ever have to clean up after a family of elephants, while snail trails are fairly commonplace.

And again, six years is a long time.

So why is it that I'm resisting the change? Quite simply, it's the music. No matter where I was, or what I was doing, that ad never failed to prompt me to burst into song.

And while my other half will tell you that my singing leaves a lot to be desired, it does have the desired effect of bringing a smile to my dial - and that's worth its weight in gold!

As for the snails, give me time. Perhaps I'm just frustrated that my limited French doesn't allow me to sing along with the new ad!

Vital statistics

  • "Snails" was conceptualised by advertising agency Net#work BBDO, and produced by Fresh Eye Films
  • "Elephants" was conceptualised by Leo Burnett (now Lobedu Leo Burnett)
  • No snails were harmed in the making of the "snails" commercial. The creatures were a combined result of motorised animatronics (mechanically built) snails and very sophisticated computer graphics

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  • Kim Penstone is editor of Marketingweb, a website wholly owned by Moneyweb that focuses on the media, marketing and advertising arena. For more articles of a similar nature, 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.


    Marketing Archie

    2019-05-22 20:27

    Marketing Archie

    2019-05-22 20:27

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