Knorr's Marco Pierre White spot could be so much more creative and inspiring

Celebrity-chef-led campaign has potential but is too formulaic to engage, says Sam Walker.

Unless you know what to look for, you might not have realised that months of scriptwriting and rewriting must have gone into this Knorr seasoning pot ad featuring Marco Pierre White.

It’s a script that could have been written by a computer, or a research group, with every word agonised over – over and over again.

Marco says: "The secret to a delicious pasta is in the seasoning.

That’s why I used mixed herbs Flavour Pots from Knorr: a seasoning paste with herbs." You see, say it, then say it again. It’s about seasoning and herbs. Say it, and repeat it again.

And with the visuals there’s not one wasted shot. In fact, here’s the entire shot list: star chef, tomato, star chef, herbs, product, smelling the product, product on a spoon, placing the product, tasting the product, smile, product in food, star chef, packshot.

It’s perfect and efficient – and, with this execution, at only 20 seconds, even more efficient from a media-buying, cost-effectiveness point of view.

Genuinely engaging

Realistically, there is no need for a creative on something like this. The client and the planner, or the account man, can write the script, research it, change the word that the target audience doesn’t like, book the celebrity and production company and – hey pesto (see what I’ve done there) – you’ve got yourself one of those ads that no one likes, but so many brands are keen to make.

Imagine how much more effective it would be if Knorr created something genuinely engaging

Now, I’m sure this ad will be defended as being effective and achieve the uplift in sales required by the computer to release the budget.

But imagine how much more effective it would be if Knorr created something genuinely engaging, that people actually wanted to watch.

Wouldn’t the public connect more closely with the brand? Wouldn’t the agency enjoy working on it more? Wouldn’t the client? (Come on, now, and be honest: who would choose to make totally formulaic advertising?) And most importantly, wouldn’t it sell more Knorr Flavour Pots if it stood out more?

Honest feedback

It’s possible that the people who made the ad are reading this and thinking that I’m unhelpfully deconstructing something they’ve spent months (if not years) creating, in no doubt difficult circumstances.

But this is a plea above and beyond this particular ad, which will hopefully translate as helpful feedback at their end.

Most advertising can be so much better, so much more creative, surprising and inspiring. Wouldn’t it be more effective and wouldn’t we all enjoy it more?

Incidentally, and for the record, I love Knorr stock cubes. My tip: beef stock poured over slow-roasted lamb, with rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and cooked on shallots. And the secret ingredient – Marmite.

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