The Bulldog of Brand Building




It’s been a while since we’ve seen the nodding bulldog Churchill, mascot of Churchill Insurance. His last appearance – back in 2019 – saw the dopey dog made over into a mellow mutt, complete with a new CGI look. This attracted a bit of tabloid scorn but the ad – with Churchill skateboarding round a shopping centre with an ambient music soundtrack – was an emotional winner with viewers, and a fine example of how to refresh a well-loved Fluent Device.

Whether the delay before a return visit was planned or pandemic-induced, Churchill is back and the approach is just as idiosyncratic as before. To a laidback soundtrack from Africa Express, Churchill glides down a bumpy fairground slide… and that’s it. Just like the skateboard soundtrack, the approach is designed to give the viewer a moment of peace and something gently unusual amidst the usual media barrage.

It’s a low-key approach which could easily backfire and leave no impression on an audience. But once again, the ad is a success with viewers, scoring a very strong 4.4-Stars. The combination of soothing and surreal is clearly a winner. The ad also gets an exceptional Spike score, predicting strong short-term potential.

Ironically for an ad starring such a long-running character, its only weaker spot is Brand Fluency, where it gets only a modest rating. This is probably down to the break between the first “new look” Churchill ad and the second, and if future ads arrive more quickly it should resolve itself well. The approach works – more ads in this vein will help make the new, chill Churchill an advertising fixture not just a novelty.

View our Test Your Ad report here.