Mythbuster: Stick with what works

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter of DDB get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the idea that creativity equals novelty.

DDB recently celebrated a special birthday – it is 20 years since the Felix cat food TV campaign first appeared on UK TV. Since then, it has run consistently across the UK and Europe, with hundreds of executions, across multiple media, launching new products and with the famous black and white cat appearing on everything from posters to tea-towels.

Felix has only ever had one campaign. Few campaigns anywhere in the world have run continuously for so long. Like the advertising jingle, the long-running campaign now seems an anachronism. This is bizarre, really, since client briefs rarely ask for campaign ideas that will need changing quite soon.

So why are long-running campaigns becoming an endangered species? On the surface, it seems to result from managers acting responsibly – a result of wanting to keep brands fresh and avoid ‘wear-out’. Indeed, the ‘disruption’ orthodoxy claims that brands need to be in a state of ‘continuous revolution’ to survive.