Nestled amongst this week's jaw-droppingly awful collection of festive frivolity lies an oasis of common sense in Weetabix's latest ad, 'The Rigby Stakes'.
Now, there is quite a lot that troubles me about it: the 90 seconds is a bit of an indulgence; I'm sure 'man outruns horse' has been done before; the core message is far from revolutionary; and I am left with a weird sense of having one foot in the 30s and one foot in the modern day. Despite this I can't help thinking this is going to work a treat for the brand.
The strength of the ad is as much in what it isn't, as what it is. For example, it isn't trying to tell me to eat Weetabix at 10pm or with freshly pressed elderberry juice in some thinly veiled attempt at inciting behavioral change.
Nor is it attempting to hold a mirror up to my family in the nauseating, 'can-I-be-your-friend-we've-got-so-much-in-common' way that so many packaged-goods brands seem intent on doing.
It isn't inviting me to go online and design my very own Weetabix 2.0, nor is it so 'emotio-n-ally insightful' that I have no idea whether I'm being asked to pour milk on them or build a shrine to them.
Instead, 'The Rigby Stakes' offers good, old-fashioned advertising and engaging branded content with an insightful product benefit that is central to the storytelling. Then, of course, there's the talking horse. What's not to like?
Weetabix has bravely resisted the urge to jump on the now well-trodden nostalgia bandwagon, showing urchins through the years happily munching its wheatie offerings.
It has also shunned the recession-driven flight to rational product justification that seems to have afflicted so many of the nation's favourites (a hint for you: true does not equal interesting).
For a welcome change, Kettering's finest has recognised that meeting the need to fuel up your family, with an added subversive, competitive edge, is as right today as it always has been.
It has seen that, by representing the product in the engaging, even escapist way that Weetabix has historically done so well, the brand can cut straight through to mum or dad's hearts and heads as they pound the supermarket aisles.
Any issues I might have with this ad belong firmly in Soho, not in Southampton. This work will do precisely what it was designed to do - it will help Weetabix to maintain a premium versus own-label advantage and keep the brand at the front of shoppers' minds, stamping the brand firmly into the hearts of a fresh generation of cereal-hoovers.
As a piece of communication, then, 'The Rigby Stakes' is not so much chan-ging the rules as reminding us why they were there in the first place.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk