campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 October 2010 12:00AM
A man goes into a pet shop and says: "I want to buy a dog." The owner says: "We only got one dog, he's out the back." The man goes out the back, a dog looks up and says to him: "Hello." The man gasps: "You can talk?" The dog says: "Yes. In fact, I've made quite a career out of it. When I was young, I offered my services to the CIA. They sent me to Vietnam and, because no-one expects a dog to talk, I was able to overhear a lot of the Vietcong's plans. Then, later, they sent me to Afghanistan. I was able to eavesdrop on the Taliban. But when I came back home, I couldn't handle civilian life. So I dropped out. Which is why I'm living in this pet shop."
The man goes back and says to the owner: "How much do you want for that amazing talking dog?" The owner says: "Twenty dollars." The man says: "How come you only want 20 dollars for a talking dog?" The owner says: "He's fulla shit. He makes all that stuff up."
See, what happened was the shop owner missed the point. I think we do that a lot in advertising. Which is why, before we do anying, I think it's important to ask: what's the point? I wasn't involved in any of the examples here. But if I had been, and I was being briefed, these are the questions I'd be asking about what the point is.
The Tetley (4) commercial features 50 seconds of a cup of tea spilling; eventually, a single drop brings the Tea Folk back to life.
It's very nicely shot but, if the Tea Folk are being revived because people loved them, personally I'd get to the point sooner.
The Nokia (1) N8 commercial features beautiful, tiny animation less than 1cm tall. Given they went to all the trouble to get in the Guinness World Records for making the "smallest stop-motion animation character in a film", personally I'd have made more of the point that this is a phone, but it can take pictures most cameras can't.
The Penguin (2) app isn't really advertising. It allows anyone with an iPhone to flick through Stephen Fry's autobiography, selecting different categories. Personally, I can't see the point. But then, as I'm the only person in advertising who hasn't got an iPhone, I'm not the target market.
The Microsoft (6) website isn't really advertising either. It's a destination for fans of Gorillaz. It's nicely done and, if you're into Gorillaz, there's lots of information. But, again, I'm not the target market. So without seeing the brief, I can't really judge what the point is.
The Philips (5) print ads are for a clothes-steamer. They ran during London Fashion Week so the audience will know that steaming makes clothes look better. The problem with steaming is it takes too long. These elegant ads show Philips has the answer. Point well made.
The EDF Energy (3) commercial features The Waltons switching their appliances off at night. The message is they have a remote control to do it more conveniently, which saves a lot of palaver. Fair enough, I get the point.
In all of these cases, I haven't read the brief. So I've had to guess what the point is, just like the general public has to. We all know that 90 per cent of advertising doesn't work. Because, 90 per cent of the time, the consumer doesn't get the point. Which is why, before we pick up a felt-tip or turn on the laptop, we have to ask ourselves: what's the point of what we're about to do?
If we don't know what the point is, what choice have the punters got?
CLIENT - David Barker, director of communications, Breakthrough Breast Cancer
For too many years, I've avidly poured over this section of Campaign wondering when a voluntary sector commentator would be invited to put their head above the parapet and give a view on the latest creative work on offer to the world at large. But before we begin, I invite you to throw aside any worthy thoughts of cuddly charity chap and take a moment to reflect on what is (in my opinion, anyway) one of the most crowded and competitive marketplaces in the world where creativity counts (and, more importantly, can help to save lives).
Creating cut-through and standout is part of everyday charity life. It does this not with the healthy budgets that global brands enjoy but by showing us that some of the best creative work is done in times of lean, not in times of plenty. As a result, I have seen at first hand how the sector has, on a number of occasions, led the field in the delivery of world-beating creative that works. Let's see how this week's brand offerings fare ...
So, the Tetley (4) Tea Folk are finally awoken from their ten-year slumber. About time. The strong air of anticipation created by the offering from MCBD certainly draws you in and left me wondering what delights will follow in the sequel to this ad. Full marks also for the impressive integrated digital effort. Sydney and the Gaffer may have been snoozing for the past ten years but they have quickly grasped the endless opportunities offered by effective integration across digital platforms. Whether Sydney and his chums will be enough to move me from my cup of PG Tips is yet to be seen.
I'd love to see what Aardman Animations would make of Sydney and his cohorts. The creators of Wallace and Gromit have recently joined forces with Nokia (1) to deliver a Guinness World Record for the "smallest stop-motion animation character in a film". Not sure if I'm supposed to be impressed or excited by this, even if it was shot on a Nokia N8 phone. Despite that, the film they have produced is certainly a work of the normal Aardman wonder. Just a shame that the product is overshadowed by it.
MyFry from Penguin (2) is a new iPhone app to help me interactively explore Stephen Fry's autobiography. I love a good iPhone app (women: check out the new iBreastCheck app) and was initially delighted that a digital offering had made it on to the reviewing list. It fell spectacularly at the first hurdle with an overly long- winded and dull sales pitch, and a whopping £7.99 fee. I'd stick with Angry Birds.
Not being a big fan of Gorillaz, I found their partnership with Microsoft (6) for the launch of Internet Explorer 9 hard to grasp. One assumes they have decided to use the army of Gorillaz fans to help them test the new beta version of the browser for bugs before general release. The seven (yes, seven) minute video tries its hardest to preach the delights of Internet Explorer 9 but the offer of free stuff if you download the new browser thankfully outweighs what is otherwise rather laborious and long-winded viewing.
Iris wins the prize for a near-perfect print execution for Philips (5) Steam & Go, launched during London Fashion Week. The simplicity and neat art direction deliver a strong message in an innovative fashion (no pun intended). A relevant URL and integrated online thought would have given this work the perfect ten.
And, finally, I love a good old bit of nostalgia. Done right, it can deliver tremendous cut-through and the Euro RSCG take on The Waltons for EDF Energy (3) both got me reminiscing and almost excited about the EcoManager product it is trying to flog.
Client: Daniel Goodall, senior marketing manager, Nokia
Brief: Celebrate the N8's camera capabilities by bringing to life Prof
Fletcher's CellScope technology
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Creatives: Mark McCall, Richard Dorey
Director: Sumo Science
Production company: Aardman Animations
Client: Anna Rafferty, digital managing director, Penguin Books
Brief: Offer a distinct reading experience on a mobile/ handheld device
Art director: Ron Siemerink
Designer: Stefanie Posavec
Developers: Joe Nash, James Mitchell
Exposure: PR, iTunes App Store
3. EDF Energy
Client: Cameron Hughes, head of brand, EDF Energy
Brief: Launch an integrated campaign to promote EDF Energy's new
innovative product EcoManager
Agency: Euro RSCG
Writer: Dominic Gettins
Art director: Jamie Colonna
Production company: n/s
Exposure: National TV
Project: Tea Folk
Client: Anand Gandesha, marketing manager, Tetley
Brief: Celebrate the return of the Tea Folk
Writer: Richard Stoney
Art director: David Hobbs
Director: Tom Tagholm
Production company: Independent
Exposure: TV, outdoor, online, DM
Project: Steam & Go
Client: Nicky Csellak-Claeys, senior global marketing director, Philips
Brief: Launch the super-quick garment steamer to style-conscious
consumers at international fashion weeks
Writers/art directors: Phil Kitching, Tim Clegg
Photographer: Ollie Elliot
Exposure: Posters, ambient
Client: Paul Davies, director of marketing communications, Microsoft UK
Brief: Launch Internet Explorer 9
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk