A (Dulux) dog is not just for nostalgia

The last month or so has seen an explosion of tv ads that actually make me want to tune into X Factor. Not for the Leona Lewis and Shayne Ward wannabes, or even Gary’s good looks and charm, but for the three minute entertainment blocks peppered throughout the show.

The latest adverts from British Airways, John Lewis and Dulux bang the ‘we are brands with history’ drum loud and proud.  Consider their straplines: John Lewis: “Always there for the latest thing”; British Airways: “To Fly. To Serve”; Dulux: “Celebrating 50 years of our colourful friend.”

The sub-text: Not only are we a steady brand, reliable and ever-present, but we’ve been with you through thick and thin and here we still are, still part of the fabric of everyday British life.

Yet, the recent resurgence of the Dulux Dog (all say ‘ahh’), and the ‘step back in time’ creations from iconic British brands, BA and JL all have something else in common.


Even in times of recessionary uncertainty and change, they’re still leaving us with a warm and fuzzy feeling as (with their careful help) we remember the good old times.

Were they good? It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we are left with no doubt that they were there with us. And the ads, brimming with glossy sentimentality, make you smile and feel good – so perhaps the times were good after all.

Either way, we feel emotionally connected to these brands. They are as much a part of our history as a first holiday abroad, a first walkman, or a first painted wall – in your own first home.


And don’t get me started on the Yeo Valley ad, which demands a post all of its own such is its creative brilliance. All we need now is a VW ad to add to the mix.

The recession, it seems, is good for at least one thing. Whether brands are fighting harder for market share, or homing in on the thirst for nostalgia and dreams of ‘times gone by’, or whether recessionary times actually foster creativity, the current crop of big-brand ads are mini entertainment packages in themselves –  adding value to tv viewing by leaving you with that distinct warm and fuzzy feeling.

And a reason to watch X Factor.


4 responses to “A (Dulux) dog is not just for nostalgia

  1. Well, I followed your link and viewed about half of the ‘Yeo Valley’ advert – admittedly with the sound turned off. Just looks like a pop-video – what are they trying to sell?

    Mind you, I’m a person who mutes the sound and leaves my seat to do something useful during ad breaks – and with the number of commercial channels out there today, there are far too many ad breaks!

    Apart from the simply annoying (Go Compare, actors claiming that they are ‘injury lawyers for you’ and suchlike), the other other ones that grate are those with an opera diva screeching in the background, or huge, Busby Berkeley-esque production numbers.

    The thing is with adverts, they hardly ever influence my buying choices: When I spend money, I already know what I want, I know what I want to pay, so that’s what I do.

    Sad to think so many ad-agencies are beavering away, spending huge amounts, on things that I’ll hardly notice. Shame (not)!

  2. Brilliant post, almost agree with you on many points. Have to disagree on one thing though, there’s not a good reason on this planet for me to watch ‘X-Factor’ and the like!

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