By STEVE HENRY, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 01 December 1995 12:00AM
The Macallan. I’m sorry. I can’t take this stuff seriously. This brand used to have small, witty ads in Private Eye -- in effect they had their own distinctive tone of voice. Now... they haven’t.
The Macallan. I’m sorry. I can’t take this stuff seriously. This brand
used to have small, witty ads in Private Eye -- in effect they had their
own distinctive tone of voice. Now... they haven’t.
Vladivar. A fairly abrupt change in tone here, too. Presumably they ran
out of bloody puns. And these posters are weird -- in fact the headline
is genuinely outrageous, suggesting that consuming a bottle of vodka
equates to nothing more than good, clean fun.
I’m all for creative freedom, and I look forward to nipples-before-nine-
o’clock, but aren’t there ethical issues here? Moreover, will the
campaign work, even with its inherent shock value? I don’t know. I
personally wonder if anybody, ever, found the Goodies funny. I feel
slightly warmer towards the two choppers (although I’m not that excited
about them. It’s not like I’m a dog with... er... two choppers). There’s
a third poster with John Noakes in it; presumably he’s saying something
like ‘Get that vodka down yer, Shep’.
The underlying message seems to be -- ‘Remember those things you didn’t
like in the 70s? Well, Vladivar’s like them.’ Puzzling.
Lemsip. Yellow mushroom clouds demonstrate the atomic power of new
Lemsip Power+. Which is topical, at any rate. Presumably it’s a joint
promotion with the French tourist board. Or perhaps the agency’s French
partners co-wrote the ad. It’s undoubtedly an effective piece of
communication, but the whole thing makes me feel slightly uneasy. It
could be a logical extension of Solpadeine’s weapons imagery - pain-
killers as double-barrelled shotguns - but what can we expect next? The
napalm power of Hall’s Mentholyptus? Cue Robert Duvall: ‘I love the
smell of Benylin in the morning.’
Halfway through and I’ve done the whisky, vodka and Lemsip Plus. Things
are starting to look a bit blurred. I’m not sure about tackling a seven-
seater driving over a lake, but here goes.
Ford Galaxy. I always think MPVs are nature’s way of telling you it’s
time to get a vasectomy. This ad promotes the category very seductively,
although the idea of pretending the car is a plane seems a tad familiar.
I’ve definitely seen ‘train masquerading as plane’ and I dimly remember
seeing ‘ferry masquerading as plane’. We’ll probably see ‘lawn mower
masquerading as plane’ when summer next comes around. Having said that,
the ad stands out by being immaculately executed - a real class act.
McCains. Some face-distorting effects borrowed from the Mask enliven
what would otherwise be a stereotypical ad. Mum has to deliver the
product bunny, at one point speaking into the oven. The special effects
will help enormously.
And finally Campbell’s Meatballs. In which our hero, Malcolm Meatball-
head, faces the existential crisis of cannibalism. This ad is surreal.
Because, apart from anything else, what’s stuck on Malcolm’s head looks
a bit unappetising to me. But there are some nice touches - like the
weird voice dubbed on to Mum. And my favourite scene is where we see
Meatball-head pedalling a bicycle. I’d love to have been there when they
shot that - watching an actor with a round, brown object on his head
attempting to bicycle in a straight line.
This is undoubtedly brave advertising. But, obviously, advertising is
only part of any marketing mix. Unfortunately, I’m not privy to the non-
advertising work for any of these clients, but if advertising is going
to spearhead your multi-media mix, it has to be brilliant - and
translatable into other media.
I’ve been a bit grumpy about some of the work this week, so can I just
list some other current campaigns that I like? The AT&T films; the
Bristol and West TV ads; the Miller beer stuff; the Radio 1 press ads.
They all share one thing - a distinctive tone of voice which could work
in virtually any medium.
I thank you.
Project: McCains Southern Fries
Client: Eric Jagger, senior marketing manager
Brief: The chips with a different taste
Writer: Rick Kiesewetter
Art director: John Dean
Special effects: Alastair Hearsum
Director: Pete Truckel
Production company: Big Bang Productions
Exposure: National TV
Project: Ford Galaxy
Client: Brian Wade, advertising manager
Brief: Launch the Ford Galaxy
Agency: Young and Rubicam
Writer: Dave Henderson
Art director: Sam Hurford
Director: Daniel Barber
Production company: Rose Hackney Barber
Exposure: National TV
Whyte and Mackay
Client: Ronnie Leggett, brands marketing controller
Brief: Relaunch Vladivar as the vodka of choice for the hedonist
Writer: Gary Brooks
Art director: Phil Lord
Photographers: Stock and John Ross
Typographer: Phil Lord
Exposure: National posters
Project: The Macallan
Client: Robin Lambie, marketing manager
Brief: Position the Macallan as the finest malt whisky in the world
Writer: Rich Lee
Art director: Shaun Stoker
Typographer: Shaun Stoker
Exposure: National press and posters
Reckitt and Colman
Project: Lemsip Power+
Client: Justin Lord, head of UK marketing
Brief: Communicate the new benefits of the Power+ brand
Writer: James Sinclair
Art director: Ed Morris
Director: Richard Dean
Production company: Park Village
Exposure: National TV
Project: Campbell’s Meatballs
Client: Gerard McAleese, marketing manager
Brief: Promote Campbell’s Meatballs
Agency: Saatchi and Saatchi
Writer: Eugene Ruane
Art director: Casey Grady
Director: Morgan Hutchins
Production company: Morgan Hutchins Films
Exposure: National TV
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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