Campaign Work, Thursday, 20 September 2012 08:00AM
If you take every fourth letter in the opening paragraph of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, it spells out the phrase: "Dolphins killed God." This isn't true, of course, but it is funny. What else can you think of that isn't true but is funny? I'm sorry. I've been reading too many children's books and working too hard. My brain hurts and it doesn't seem to be making any sense at all.
So what an ill-fated moment for Private View to land on my shoes and demand some close attention. I endeavour to press on bravely, opening up my mind to the work. In this ephemeral state of being, I will see which work sparks some creative kindling in my head, spinning me off further into the ether, and which work will bring me down to earth like a cold Spam sandwich.
I've just watched the ad for Sky Broadband, which carries the promise of unlimited broadband and features an actor I suppose I should recognise. I think there's a sex joke in there too. It's reminiscent of one or all of the Orange Gold Spots, and so I instantly feel a kinship. Not a bad thing. Not necessarily a good thing. My mind wanders a little ...
I guess if Elvis was still alive today, he'd be dead by now.
Next is a charming ad for Kerrygold that features someone carrying a cow rather a long way. I'm not entirely sure I understand it, but not understanding something doesn't always preclude liking it. In fact, I think this ad is rather nice. So my mind drifts back to when I was seven ... and I was convinced that the world's problems would be sorted out if all the hungry people in the world simply ate all the poor people.
Now to the Ikea ad. A woman goes on a magical journey into the Ikea catalogue. The colour and vibrancy of this film have set my brain spinning, and I settle in to enjoy the trip ...
Should I save a seat for Jesus at a dinner party? Could a yeti ever impersonate a police officer? Has anyone ever bought a German shepherd on eBay and literally received a shepherd from Germany? Just how many overturned Saudi court cases have resulted in someone having their hand sewn back on? What would happen if, after 15 years, I discovered that my imaginary friend was real all along? Turns out, I like this ad.
And then I'm suddenly sad. Zoopla stops my thoughts in their tracks. Two (CGI) houses are talking to each other with unlikely voiceovers, and one advises the other that things would be better if she were to advertise herself on Zoopla. Are these guys crazy? Houses can't talk.
Then comes a commercial for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, where a little animated representation of a child is in hospital feeling sad. It's kind of exactly what I didn't expect from Big Ron and, for that reason alone, my thoughts gather pace ...
Do squirrels ever eat blancmange? How many octopi would it take to kill Jim Bergerac? Is octopi even the plural? I had a friend who throughout his childhood was taught to "Booooo" as his family drove past McDonald's, but I reckon it would be fine if he let out a little cheer after this ad.
And finally on to Philips, where it has created an online audio journey, which I guess harks back to its product delivery. I was excited by this stuff initially; the clinical yet sensual look and feel, and my mind drifted to conkers floating absent-mindedly above a terracotta chimp ... but it took a bit too long to find anything I really wanted to play with on the site and I came crashing back down to earth. I was left with only two questions in my head. Why is Darth Vader so attractive? And when will France change its name?
Finally, you're thinking. The End.
Times are a bit lean in the ad industry at the moment. So lean, I don't have my own Campaign online subscription and had to spend an hour trying to hack into Jon Burley's account to look at this work (I tried every filthy word I could think of for his password, and it ended up being "subscribe", the vicious bastard). I could feel a certain leanness of nice ideas when I was looking through the work, but there's just enough meat to chew on for a Private View.
Sky Broadband shows Hollywood hardman Willis in a dressing gown demanding broadband that doesn't pixelate him and his baldy head (not to be confused with those grubby Japanese web films that seem to pixelate hard Willis, whatever broadband provider you use). The idea seemed to be "We've got Bruce Willis for the day. Use the bastard and don't worry about the script", and comes off a bit like a diluted Orange Gold Spot. As ads with Hollywood hardmen go, you can believe in better, as the excellent Acer spot with Kiefer Sutherland proves. Shame for Sky that both ads came out at the same time.
Kerrygold has a bloke with a cow on his back. The Butterman. I'd previously seen a still of this ad and found it intriguing: I'm breathlessly excited by butter, and by men carrying cows. The ad itself felt caught between two stools - on one stool, an effort to be charmingly and authentically Oirish, while, on the other stool, an obvious desire to be a little left-field - and I therefore didn't feel the full blast of either. Who knows? Maybe it'll provide the perfect blend of provenance and humour to cut through and shift yellow block fat. Mmmm, yellow block fat. I'm getting excited again ...
Next is Ikea's "bright, shiny colours". It's a sort of vibrant pop promo tour of the Ikea catalogue, done in a camp Flashdance style.
I quite liked it, and its catchy tune, and its leading lady happily squeezed into tight Lycra. It made me want to dance through a catalogue and join in. Any catalogue - I'm not fussy when I'm wearing Lycra. However, it does feel that it would work equally well for any brand lacking an idea or purpose - something patently not true of the innovative flat-pack superbrand.
Zoopla's "talking houses" has three minimally animated houses talking us through the Zoopla proposition. The end.
Ronald McDonald House Charities. Now, there's a bit of a furore about this film. I'm not going to get into the furore - no way. I won't get into a furore with anyone. Furores are too flash for me and always driven by idiots, and I'll just stick to my battered old Fiat. All I will say is that both films were equally charming and altogether better than my efforts on the same brief a few moons back.
Lastly, the Philips Fidelio site called "the sound of creation". After I'd waded through a couple of those now mandatory Cannes entry films, I eventually limped wearily on to the site. It's like a well-shot Fisher Price musical mix-and-match thingamybob. Nine different images, sounds and tunes you can mess about with to create your own musical masterpiece. I quite enjoyed it, if truth be told - if you mix the paint gloop with the sandpaper and the bubblegum pop, you get the soundtrack of a regretful lavatory visit. Well, that was the sound of my creation, anyway. A tad atonal and Yoko Ono-ish for me but, then again, I'm a fan of the speedy dumbass satisfaction of something like Songify. In all, it was mildly pleasant and kept me not working for a few minutes, like having a Silk Cut outside the office.
Now there's an idea. I'll get my coat.
This article was first published on Campaign Work