Private View: Jon Williams and Paul Rees
Campaign Work, Friday, 01 July 2011 10:00AM
Grey's Jon Williams and Q editor Paul Rees assess ads for Kronenbourg 1664, Credit Suisse, Kaiser Chiefs, HP, Sky and Europcar.
Chief digital officer,
So this week is the slow dawn of realisation. The big hangover. Literal and metaphorical. Some of you have crawled back from La Croisette, nursing a sclerotic liver and a deep sense of regret. Some of you will just have dissected the winners from afar. The lucky few will have had to pay excess baggage due to the inordinately heavy Lion in your suitcase (they make great door stops, by the way). All of you will have witnessed the inexorable march away from what we used to define as creative towards something new. Something broader. Something more inclusive. Something more social.
I think there are three different sorts of "creativity" that we need to sketch with these days. There's creative creative, we all know that one ... you got a whole department full of it. But there's also creative technology: platforms, APIs, people who can sketch in code. And then there's business creativity; new models, new ways of creating value, people who can sketch with a balance sheet. The sweet spot is somewhere between the three. How can we honestly partner our clients if we don't understand that the fabric of business has fundamentally altered? Will any of this lot create value? And will any make it to Cannes next year?
The Kaiser Chiefs do and will. The launch of The Future Is Medieval is absolutely on the money. Select ten tracks from 20, design your own cover art, buy it for £7.50, sell your version for £1 a go from your own web page. It's a brand new business model in a sector that is struggling. It's simple to use, well crafted, social enabled and strategically well ahead of the pack. Monetised mass personalisation. It's even spawned a race between the real Chris Moyles and a fake Chris Moyles to see whose album selection is the most popular. I reckon this could get metal next year. And make money for the band and their fans.
Kronenbourg 1664 moves its "slow the pace" campaign along from the iconic Lemmy to ... erm ... Suggs. Baggy Trousers is performed in a stripped-down laissez-faire arrangement accompanied by mid-range throwing lager. I love the film, but whether it chimes with the masses on a Friday night when the money changes hands, and the pace is anything but slow, remains to be seen. I'm sure Kronenbourg will be in Cannes next year, but it will be in a plastic glass.
Credit Suisse is "helping Roger relax", with a beautiful film. Which is nice. Luckily, the yada told me Roger is a tennis ace. Personally, if I had the riches of Croesus stashed in a Swiss bank account, I wouldn't have any fucking problem relaxing. But I don't. And the current economic climate scares the shit out of me. I don't know who this is talking to. It's not me. I'm sure this will be screened in France, but not on the all-important Saturday night at the Palais.
Sky is doing a spot of knob-waving about its 20 quid a month everything package. Quite literally, as it happens, with a naked Emperor cavorting round in his "new clothes". The film looks like it was shot in some ersatz Versailles and that's as close as it will ever get to Cannes.
Europcar dramatises the extra hour you gain when they drop your hire car off for you, with a fat bloke dancing. An extra hour could have been a massive territory; it could have gone a million different ways. It challenges the category norms. Instead, it's a cliche. And it will never cruise down La Croisette.
I was getting quite drawn into Plan B showing me how he builds a tune in glorious surround sound. Then the HP product brand bit punched me in the face. So dissonant with the rest of the film. So not going to influence buying habits ... or juries.
I've run out of time. The stakes have been raised. You've got a year to go ...
The advent of Sky+, let us be entirely frank, may have been celebrated for many reasons, but none so more vociferously than for it removing at a stroke our need to sit through several minutes of ads each hour. For while we may have - albeit briefly - thrilled to Guinness' thundering sea horses or trilled to Cadbury's drumming gorilla, such moments have been few and increasingly far between among oceans of consumerist swill. Still more so since, with the ongoing proliferation of media and attendant shortening of audience attention spans, advertisers increasingly feel the need to shout ever louder to be heard above the din.
Quite the build up for this week's ads line-up, I'm sure you'll agree. But then, speaking as one who would rather remove his own intestines with a dessert spoon than listen to, say, Sean Pertwee's sonorous tones extolling the virtues of Anadin or the Royal Mail one more time, I feel it only right and proper to place my cards on the table before wading in. That done, let's go ...
Jobbing Leeds indie rockers the Kaiser Chiefs are perhaps unlikely revolutionary zealots, but the release of their new album, The Future Is Medieval, marks a step forward for the embattled music industry. The band's online campaign presents fans with 20 new tracks - from which they are invited to compile a personalised ten-track record, and further to choose their own artwork. All of which can be downloaded for a not-unreasonable £7.50 - with a £1 commission offered every time this bespoke record is sold on. Naysayers may - and indeed have - suggested that you'd need at least 20 Kaiser Chiefs tracks from which to find ten decent ones, and making any choice on the scant 30-second streams of the tracks offered is impractical, but it's a campaign that at the very least feels both fresh and engaging.
"Fresh" would not be a word applicable to the veteran British pop treasures Madness these days, or to Kronenbourg 1664 for that matter, but the latest instalment of the latter's "slow the pace" creative finds the former reworking their hardy old perennial Baggy Trousers to pleasing effect in the sort of rustic bar setting no longer familiar to anyone. Not as good as the previous incarnation, wherein Motorhead's Lemmy recast both himself and his song Ace Of Spades as blues monoliths, but provoking of a warm inner glow, all the same.
Which is more than can be said of the offering from Credit Suisse. In it, robotic tennis great Roger Federer lounges in a supremely self-satisfied fashion by the sun-dappled pool of an ostentatious Mediterranean villa to a soundtrack of cocktail lounge jazz, as the words "motivation" and "dedication" float across the screen. "Smug git" doesn't follow them, but it should. And when Federer drops into the water, one is left with a profound urge to launch an electrical implement in after him.
Similarly unfulfilling is the Sky Emperor's New Clothes TV ad: the concept of using fairy stories (here a corpulent dandy in the titular role) to drum home the crazy value of a monthly Sky subscription is wearing perilously thin. And John Hurt appears to be delivering his voiceover from the depths of a coma.
The Europcar ad also uses both a big man and a hoary old staple - to whit: the very sight of a chubby man dancing is intrinsically funny - to hawk its services. The effect is likely to appeal solely to those who lost control of their bladders watching the later episodes of Last Of The Summer Wine (ie. quite a lot of people, actually).
All of which makes one thank whatever powers there may be for HP's new cinema ad. Shifting the latest audio technology available on their new PCs may be as promising a proposal as root canal work, but the creative here is cunningly simple: take (yet another) well-fed man - the besuited pop star Plan B, on this occasion - and have him talk through the construction of his hit single She Said, armed solely with a recording studio backdrop and a crack band. The result is inspired.
This article was first published on Campaign Work
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