As I am going through the whole decade in a review type format, I will make my summary of 2009 relatively brief! Here goes:
Most Improved Advertiser of the Year
Who would have thought it, a couple of times this year we really were loving it. The use of Poem was brave and showed a pleasing willingness to try create ideas. Their other work has been good this year too, a marked improvement over the past few years. Long may it continue.
Runners Up - Compare the Market, Ford
Best Advert of the Year
Compare the Meerket - Market
Runners Up - McDonalds - Poem, Cadbury's - Eyebrows
Worst Advert of the Year
Go Compare - Tenor
Runners Up - Pot Noodle - High School Musical (How can you not make a parody of HSM funny?!!), Just for Men - Touch of Grey
Whilst being loathe to reveal two categories in one, the reason Go Compare's ad falls so low in my estimation is quite simple; all over it is written the words "I want a Meerkat". It is so steeped in trying to be something else that it fails to be anything itself. So as the ad has been born out of battle, it's only fair to judge it in battle.
Meerkat was brave and bold, Tenor is safe but acting like it's bold.
Meerkat was first out the blocks, it was a courageous step by the client to get away from the lifeless dull hard sell work that surrounds insurance and particularly comparison sites. By time Tenor came out they weren't taking any brave steps at all.
Meerkat was clever and funny, Tenor is just irritating and brash. See the many thousands of Facebook fans for Aleksandr Orlov, and the tiny number for Gio Comparo (dear god why). VCCP actually created something with an idea that gave people a reason to interact with it online, the bloody Tenor was flat in comparison. The Compare the Meerkat team also do a brilliant job of making the world of Aleksandr an interactive one, the characters and language are kept running skillfully.
Meerkat was well planned and magnificently answered the (reported) brief whilst also being good work, Tenor felt like it had very little thought behind it other than "Why haven't we got a Meerkat?!!"
Meerkat has been followed by interesting work that keeps the idea going well, Tenor has been followed by the same ad with a different background setting.
I'm not a huge fan of MoneySupermarket's stupid Dragon ad, nor Confused.com's 'real life' stories; but at least they attempt to do their own thing.
It's easy to judge ads from within our world of adland, but to make the point: As my wife saw me type Go Compare as worst ad of the year she cheered. Meerkat on the other hand is a brilliant classic-in-waiting campaign that proves you can make creative work that sells. Definitely the ad of the year.