They made it sticky: Ferrero Rocher
Just admit it — you've done it, too.
If you are of an age to have witnessed the glories of the original Ferrero Rocher TV ad, it's almost inevitable: at least once, you have slipped into your best faux-European accent and quoted the hallowed words:
Weeth zees shocolates, you are really spoiling us!
Ferrero's Ambassador's Party advert first exploded onto our screens in 1993. Overnight, it gained notoriety for its clunky dialogue and comically inaccurate dubbing. It was the new byword for advertising cheese.
The advert was produced in-house by Ferrero, and many thought the Italian chocolatiers were serving their foil-encased fancies with a side-order of parody. As Ferrero are famously tight-lipped about the ad, we'll never know for sure.
For our money, it seems likely that they were playing it straight, and had simply misjudged the mood of the day. After all, Ambassador's Party would have looked perfectly at home in the canon of mid-1970s adverts. Unfortunately, by the 1990s, things had moved on. The elegant, sophisticated world that the creators evoked was no longer taken so seriously. Irony was the new kid in town. It's not hard to imagine James Bond appearing at the Ambassador's party, but by 1993 even Bond was winking at the camera.
All of which goes to show two interesting things.
Firstly, just how hard it is for marketers to hit the spot perfectly. Even with the resources of a huge corporation behind them, the Ferrero team managed a complete miss.
Secondly, it neatly illustrates how a campaign can succeed for reasons you never expected. With its imperfect execution and aforementioned bad timing, you might have expected the Ferrero Rocher ads to quietly sink without trace. Instead of which, they have become both iconic and fondly remembered.
We should all have such a miscalculation.