Ad of the Week with Oresti Patricios – Golden Plunger Makes a Splash

Once again, humour rises to the top of the pile for my nomination for ‘Ad of the Week’. Yellow Pages and agency 360eight have launched a new campaign with a splash, and here’s hoping for more in the same vein.

The ad tells of the rise to fame of a “rock star” of French plumbing, a character named Henri Delatissier, who, we are told, passed the French Plumbers’ Bar Exam at the age of 7, replumbed an entire wing of the Palace of Versailles at the age of 10, and received his first ‘Plongeur d’Or’ (Golden Plunger) on the eve of his 16th birthday. Henri is portrayed as a celebrity among plumbers, a demigod of piping.

It’s all wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, right down to Henri sharing a fist-punch with a Karl Lagerfeld lookalike. The voice-over sounds like it’s straight out of a youtubedocumentary, and the camerawork emulates the M-TV style:  fake TV footage intercut with moving shots, interspersed with slo-mo, hand-held camera and snappy freezes to match the rock music soundtrack. The spot was produced by Velocity, directed by Anton Visser and the creative director was Wallace Seggie, with copywriting by Marcelle du Plessis and art direction by Candice Lind. And sorry, ladies, but I can’t tell you who the actor was!

Towards the end, the voice-over intones: “Today, this ‘enfant terrible’ of Parisian plumbing dominates online search results, and at 24, is the most sought-after ‘plombier’ in all of France.”

Cut to a shot of a South African man with a gushing leak that he’s trying to stop. And here’s the punchline: “But you’re not in France, and neither is your burst pipe.”

This highlights a problem with Google and internet search in general. If you’ve ever tried to search for a local service provider, be it a plumber, bicycle repair shop or bookkeeping firm, you have no doubt come up against one of Google’s main limitations. Even if you put your suburb or town in the search box, you’re going to get a whole lot more results than you need, and most of them will not be for the business you’re looking for, but rather a whole slew of business directories. And these are often out of date, or don’t have a quick way for you to get the contact details.

The Yellow Pages was once a huge tome that came with your phone book (remember those?) but the modern internet has yellowpages-3threatened its existence. Instead of rolling over, the B2C company has fought back, with a website that is designed to give targeted results. It has two search boxes, one for the service you are looking for, and one for the area, from which you get a list of relevant results – or you can select a map to get an idea of which is closer to you. The site is simple and uncluttered, and optimised to load on the slowest connection. There is also an option for users to provide reviews of service providers. Although these still seem to be few, if it catches on it could be a good resource for helping one make an informed choice, and keeping suppliers honest.

The message of this ad is simple: Google won’t necessarily give you the results you need, but will give you “local, reliable results”. It’s a clear message, delivered in a clever and humorous way; and a great launch for this campaign.

Ad of the Week is published on MarkLives every Wednesday. See past selections here.
Oresti Patricios is the CEO of brand and reputation analysis company Ornico.



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