PRIVATE VIEW: Dave Alexander is the joint creative director at Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB
campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 29 November 2002 12:00AM
The hardest word to say in advertising isn't "mnemonic", it's "no".
"No" means meetings will be delayed. "No" means you're working the weekend.
"No" means you're doing it again.
"Yes" means everyone can go home, "yes" means lunch, "yes" keeps everyone happy. And in these straitened times the pressure to say "yes" is enormous.
Which might explain the London Pride posters. They're big and colourful, they have two endlines and are shot in a way we haven't seen for a while.
But isn't the notion that people will go to extraordinary lengths for a pint wearing a bit thin? I think the answer is "yes".
The BBC has a new service called Freeview that's free, but costs £99.
Which, according to Steven Berkoff, means that TV is evolving. Although not into anything we haven't seen before. Ever since John Cleese walked into a pub and complained to the barman that the BBC wasn't worth the cost of his TV licence we've had the same stars reading the same lines in the cosy but supercilious tone. This time they peel off their faces, Mission Impossible-style, to reveal someone else underneath. I'll admit this is a diverting, mildly grotesque technique, so much so that it seemed to swamp, rather than augment, the story.
A comment that can also be levelled at CheeStrings Attack-a-Snak, mainly because the idea doesn't come out of the product. And when the product is unique, why wouldn't it? For all its charm - and it is very nicely acted - this ad obscures a product that looks genuinely different. A sort of Fisher Price version of those duck pancakes you get in Chinese restaurants.
The client might have wanted to see more of it, but did the agency say "no" when it should have said "yes"?
The Metro ads confuse me. I think they are trying to tell us that Londoners find their home city dirty, antisocial and crime-ridden, but it's a message that's too obvious to be worth mentioning, so maybe they aren't. The impenetrable endline doesn't help either: where readers are read.
Positioning Metro as a paper that crusades on behalf of the capital could be spot on. But I'm not sure that's what these ads are doing.
Pretty Polly used to do simple, sassy ads that had confidence and style.
Now they're telling us that "some people aren't perfectly matched, whereas Pretty Polly undies are". The point is clearly made but whereas in the past there was glamour, now there's the artlessness found in every other ad on the telly.
The Brylcreem commercial is the one ad this week that works well. Mainly because it's the least ambitious. It isn't trying to be profound, or change the way kids eat, or how Londoners think, or how I view television. It's just a well executed, easy-to-follow idea that doesn't demand too much of its Beckham-clone audience.
The joke's a bit lame, a guy escapes from Bad Barnet, a town full of people with dreadful hairstyles, but plenty will disagree. (It's also the first ad I've seen for some time that would actually benefit from an extra ten seconds, to allow the gag time to build.)
The client might have wanted something a bit more cerebral, something with a bit more "thinking". The agency did well to say no.
Project: CheeStrings Attack-a-Snak
Client: Jane Hammond, marketing manager
Brief: Communicate the CheeStrings' slightly anarchic but fun heritage
and demonstrate Attack-a-Snak is not only cool with plenty of street
cred but offers a great alternative to conventional snacks
Agency: Quiet Storm
Writer: Becky Clarke
Art director: Trevor Robinson
Director: Kevin Chicken
Production company: Quiet Storm Films
Exposure: National TV
Client: David Spencer, marketing manager
Brief: Dramatise the excellence of London Pride and the extraordinary
lengths people will go to to get it
Agency: Doner Cardwell Hawkins
Writers: Paul Cardwell and John Long
Art directors: Pat Thomas and Nick Scott
Typographer: Nick Scott
Photographer: Robert Dowling
Exposure: Posters and press
Project: BBC Digital
Client: Charlotte Finlay, senior marketing manager, Digital
Brief: Inform people of both the breadth of content on the new BBC
digital channels and how it is possible to receive them
Writer: Simon Riley
Art director: Tim Brown
Director: Tim Pope
Production company: BBC Broadcast
Exposure: National TV
Project: Lingerie and hosiery
Client: Sue Clague, managing director, Sara Lee Courtaulds legwear
Brief: Dramatise Pretty Polly's co-ordinated lingerie and hosiery
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Malcolm Duffy
Art director: Paul Briginshaw
Director: Trevor Melvin
Production company: Paul Weiland Film Company
Exposure: National TV
Client: Paul Fraser, group product manager
Brief: Brylcreem launch
Writer: Andy Brittain
Art director: Yu Kung
Director: Mark Denton
Production company: Blink
Exposure: National TV and cinema
Project: Metro Urban Life
Client: Karen Wall, head of marketing
Brief: Make Urban Life famous among agencies/clients
Agency: Barrett Cernis
Writer: Jonathan Eley
Art director: Ray Barrett
Typographers: Unreal and Ray Barrett
Photographer: Max Forsythe
Exposure: Special edition Metro distributed in agencies
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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