The old adage says that you shouldn't stop advertising in a recession; in fact, some say you should try to advertise more. Perhaps we can now add the importance of harnessing increasingly unusual advocates. Indeed, it's hard to imagine a less likely ambassador for a butter brand than the man who shot to fame fronting the Sex Pistols.
But surprise is what those clever ad types are all about. You wouldn't expect to find a no-nonsense character like John Lydon (as Mr Rotten is known to his Mum) endorsing butter while poncing around a farmyard in a tweed suit. After all, this is the bloke behind Public Image Limited. What next, Iggy Pop peddling insurance? Oh hang on, that's happening too - the former Stooges front man is now harnessing his rebellious rock appeal to influence youngsters to choose swiftcover.com.
The choice of Lydon may make little sense on the surface, but Country Life's owner Dairy Crest isn't complaining. The ads' success marks a vital turnaround for the parent company, which issued a profit warning in November and laid off staff, after being hit by soaring milk prices.
The £5m campaign represented Lydon's first appearance in a TV ad, but one shouldn't use that as grounds to question his integrity. His rebellious streak is so strong that he didn't even complete the final of I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.
‘People know I only do things that I want to or that I believe in and I have to do it my way,' he said when the Country Life ad launched late last year. ‘I've never done anything like this before and never thought I would, but this Country Life ad was made for me and I couldn't resist the opportunity.' Nothing to do with the fee then (it has not been made clear how much he urned).
The ad, created by WPP agency Grey London, was a major departure for Lydon, who launched the sarcastic anthem God Save the Queen 32 years ago to coincide with the monarch's Silver Jubilee.
‘It's not about Great Britain, it's about Great Butter,' runs the Country Life slogan. MT's suggests: ‘Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's a Sex Pistol'.
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Country Life boosted by Rotten luck
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