Raise A Toastie To Another Great Warburtons Ad


Mad About the Bread


“Why do Hollywood stars keep advertising Warburtons?” asked the Telegraph last week. Obviously, the money’s good, but there are much bigger-budget brands out there who’d love to get the likes of Samuel L Jackson and Robert De Niro in their ads and don’t. No, there has to be something else to Warburtons’ ability to attract top talent, and it might be something rather simple: the ads are really good.

For the last several years, Warburtons have stuck to a simple and hugely effective strategy. They make one blockbuster ad every year or two, they hire names so famous they’re guaranteed national coverage, and they get them to play wonderful over-the-top versions of themselves in ads which entertain the audience every time. For a megastar, it must be an enjoyable day’s work – certainly the celebrities look as though they’re having a brilliant time.

Normally, each Warburtons ad kicks off with the Hollywood star talking to Jonathan Warburton, head of the company (Warburtons is still a family business). This one’s different, though, playing with the audience’s expectations and cheekily undermining them. Samuel L Jackson, we’re told, is playing Jonathan Warburton very much in the style of Jackson’s bad-ass action roles from Pulp Fiction to The Avengers. A lot of the comedy in the ad comes from the incongruity of Jackson kicking down boardroom doors and taking on social media critics in larger-than-life Hollywood style, all while pretending to be the soft-spoken Warburton (who does show up at the end of the ad).

It’s a cocktail of cultural references and distinctive assets designed to entertain viewers and get talked about, and it’s achieved both. The ad scores a strong 4.5-Stars on the Test Your Ad database – not the very top score a Warburtons ad has achieved but fully in line with the results that have made them the leading bread advertiser. It also gets Exceptional scores in short-term Spike Rating and in Brand Fluency – people know exactly who it’s for. Since the ad rages against imitation Toastie loaves, that’s an important thing to get right.

The ad is from new agency Joyful & Triumphant, but the team behind it are the same people who’ve made the previous Warburtons ads using this same very successful strategy. One of the most important lessons the brand has absorbed is that great ads have a long lifespan – it’s better to occasionally make an excellent ad and run it for longer than it is to continually produce mediocre ones. That blockbusters-only philosophy has served Warburtons in good stead. The response to this latest ad shows the strategy still works and the ads are still beloved by viewers. No wonder superstars want a slice.

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