Agency: Fallon London
Campaign Work, Thursday, 29 September 2011 12:00AM
Hello! We're a team new to the industry that's been asked to tell those who have been in the business for years what we think. Ridiculous? Maybe. Career damaging? Perhaps. But here goes.
ASOS has been on the fingertips of the youth for a few years now, so what better place to market itself than online? In response to this, the urban tour takes us to the birthplace of fashion: the street. Once there, among other things, we're treated to some impressive dance moves (especially Lil Buck's) and a great soundtrack, yet we can't help feeling it might be better if it didn't seem like it was trying so hard. Sometimes the problem with being so self- consciously cool is that it leaves the viewer feeling a bit cold. Still, at least it kept us interested for most of the video and the interactive aspect is a good way to direct sales. So, a close attempt that just misses the mark. That said, it has certainly grown on us since first viewing, as has the brand.
Even Morgane, in a momentary lapse of French sophistication, once quaffed a pint of Carling down le pub (though probably won't again). In this film, the brand has basically decided to sell itself with no unique selling point and treat us to a sequence of over-used nonsensical refreshing cues that look more like a mood film than an ad. We assume it is trying to approach a new market, but will anyone be fooled to think Carling is glamorous? And although the work may be well-shot and leaves us thirsty, we certainly aren't thirsty for Carling or any more Carling ads like this that already feel outdated.
Nowadays, department stores are really improving the way they sell themselves on TV, and Debenhams is no exception. In this spot, we see some famous faces such as Julien Macdonald popping up. Admittedly, that's a loose definition of "famous" that includes Welsh knitwear designers, but it leaves everyone watching full of confidence that they are buying straight off the catwalk rather than from a sweatshop. It's a safe, simple ad that may be forgotten by tomorrow, but the brand will be remembered.
With a voiceover no-one can call forgettable, Moneysupermarket.com is back with its second ad from Mother. In the newest edition to the family, we meet Mike, who feels so epic that he can face up to a silverback gorilla and tell him who's boss. The campaign as a whole is a good take on the feeling you get after getting a great deal. It's good to stick with a human truth rather than ad dribble and, though still not epic, we are sure there is better to come. In fact, we're already second-guessing what it might be: guitar battle-off with Slash? An arctic race on a polar bear?
Bartle Bogle Hegarty was on to a winner with its "fuel for big days" ad last month. It's back again with a recreation of its ASOS ad to promote new Weetabix Chocolate Spoonsize. In it, a young girl eats a bowl and proceeds to prove to her friends that she and her toy bears are the next Britain's Got Talent finalists. It is a fun execution that leaves us pondering what is in the cereal - absinthe? Nitrous oxide? Sadly, though, it seems to lack the charm of BBH's previous ad, but we're certain that it will do the job with mums and children.
And, finally, some press and outdoor ads from a clothing brand. Don't ask us who, though. Oh, it's Jigsaw. We have been told the work celebrates the excitement and liberation of owning a look no-one else has. So there you go. Really, it's another fashion shot for what could be any fashion brand. Hopefully, Jigsaw's app and online activity are better.
Hopefully, we haven't placed ourselves on too many people's blacklists and we look forward to our work being critiqued in the weeks, months and years to come.
Half the ads this week revolve around the world of fashion and, although I've only been in the industry a few weeks, I appear to already be displaying a stereotypical planner trait: over-analysing the subject matter! As a result, this review has digressed into a meditation upon clothes, what they mean and how that works best in advertising.
Let's begin with Debenhams, where all the designers stroking their creations and women frolicking in autumn leaves make me doubt its ability to deliver on the endline: "Life made fabulous." The designers' activities are glaringly superficial, just highlighting the fact that the clothes are manufactured in factories; and the women's scenes are fake. Not fake in that high-fashion way, which shows an impossible dream we still can't help but want to enter. No, just tired cliches of autumn fun, the worst offender being the leaf frolicking. I have never frolicked in leaves, I have never known anyone to frolic in leaves, yet it has endured as a stock image of autumn fun.
Where Debenhams fails to link life and clothes, ASOS succeeds. The assumption seems to be that, in selling clothes to men, it would be altogether best not to focus too much on the actual clothes. The result is an intriguing microsite filled with lots of films about people doing fascinating things around the world. I can click on the people to find out more about them, I can click on the clothes to buy them. Click, music, click, art, click, dance. The focus shifts from the garments; this is about the people wearing them. After all, clothes in and of themselves are not interesting - it is the hopes, ideas and messages they might represent on our behalf when we wear them that matter. Real people will always be better at helping us imagine these things than leaf-frolicking and garment-stroking.
From the depth that real people provide in ASOS to the superficiality of models in the work for Jigsaw. Now I remember why no-one is making interesting films about cultural stuff to sell women's clothes. I have an innate knowledge that the girls in the ad are stylish. I do not know why or how I know this; I can only assume that 22 years of being female means you are exposed to so much of this sort of thing that the brain automatically sifts for all the subtle and complex visual cues that tell us good or bad, cool or not. I suppose this is why there's probably no need for anything as enriching as the ASOS microsite to get women to buy clothes. Although it would be nice if someone did something more innovative. Even if not strictly necessary, I would appreciate it. I think it'd make the world a bit of a more interesting place.
I'll now stop my over-thinking of the relationship between people and clothes and move on to Moneysupermarket.com. Now this is an ad for a price comparison site, so it will either be entertaining, boring or highly irritating. Fortunately, I don't yet find it irritating (though repeated exposure may prove otherwise) but, for me, it is kind of dull. I just don't find it very funny, but it is entirely possible that others will.
I think the same is probably true of Weetabix Chocolate Spoonsize: you can either enjoy, be annoyed or fast-forward. For me, dancing teddy bears are always entertaining somehow. I can't decide whether they're comical or sinister, but it kept me vaguely entertained for about a minute.
Finally, Carling is evidently trying very hard to be cool with this baffling assault upon the eyes. But, unfortunately, it isn't puzzling in an intriguing "watch it again" way, just in a nondescript annoying way. Sometimes it's best not to over-analyse.
This article was first published on Campaign Work