PRIVATE VIEW: Gerry Moira, the executive creative director of Publicis

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 13 December 2002 12:00AM

Welcome to the Private View graveyard slot. It's Christmas and half the potential readership of this column is pitching as if their very lives depended upon it and the other half is pissed. Many of you, of course, are both. Either way, it's safe to assume that only a handful of ad folk and maybe the odd office cleaner have got this far through the magazine.

Which means I can pretty much say what I like. So ... er ... bumhole!

Of course, such licence means less at Christmas than at any other time.

Criticising seasonal retail commercials has much the same skill/daring ratio as shooting cows. They just sort of stand there year after year, swathed in the same mix of tinsel, fairy lights, fake snow, unspeakable celebrities and unbeatable prices. It has always been this way and no amount of mordant apercus from the sniggering classes will make any difference.

Waitrose takes us on a burglar's creep of a nice rural house stuffed with yuletide comestibles at reasonable prices. It doesn't look quite as handsome as the same client's magazine work but the wicked Mr Pickett's Midnight Hour is a welcome respite from Jingle Bells.

Marks & Spencer has taken over from Woolworth's as the seasonal employment alternative to panto. Actually, the casting director has done a pretty good job here with most of the thousand or so celebrities used in this ad coming in well above the Biggins line. It would be invidious to single out one performance from this enormous cast, but Denise van Outen as the Christmas Fairy steals the show for me. She can sit on top of my Norwegian Pine any year.

Speaking of which, the old sex/chocolate chimera raises its ugly head and leers at camera on behalf of Thorntons. A series of vignettes reveals a succession of pleased women, their faces suffused with an unmistakeable post-coital glow, the "just-fucked" look of the truly sated. Of course, I could have misread the signs and they've all just enjoyed a particularly satisfying poo, but I think not. No, only two things can deliver this level of debilitating pleasure. Either Leon Jaume has snuck in under the fence or someone's left the lid off the Thorntons. Nicely filmed, great track, shame about the compulsory eating shot. I mean, how else do they expect people to ingest this product?

Now, there's always the possibility that one of these little minxes was faking it. This theme is taken up by Sekonda in a series of posters listing our phoney responses to cliche gifts. It's a generic thought of course but the robust art-direction mirrors the no-nonsense nature of these good-value timepieces.

Amazon depicts the horrors of Christmas shopping to promote its free* delivery service. This is an eminently sensible approach and the photography has a loose reportage feel about it that is pleasing to the eye. I'm not quite so convinced by the strapline, "Amazon.co.uk and you're done" though.

People like me who enjoy shopping as a contact sport need to be reassured that we won't actually get "done" on line.

Of all the people who saw the Blur "runaway milk carton" promo and thought "we could do that", Carphone Warehouse was the first to air. This parody of the National Canine Defence League's "A dog is not just for Christmas" is painstakingly accurate and painfully funny in a Theatre of Cruelty sort of way.

Meretricious everybody!

THORNTONS

Project: "Effect" Christmas TV

Client: Richard Burgess, head of brand communication

Brief: Position Thorntons as the perfect present for women this

Christmas

Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy

Writer: Jeremy Carr

Art director: Jeremy Carr

Director: Peter Thwaites

Production company: Gorgeous

Exposure: National TV

AMAZON

Project: Amazon Christmas shopping 2002

Clients: Abi Frisby, retail marketing manager; Solomon Degia, retail

marketing manager

Brief: Amazon.co.uk is a far more convenient and stress-free way to shop

at the holidays

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam

Writer: Jenna Hall

Art director: Jayanta Jenkins

Photography: Edzard Piltz

Exposure: National and local press and outdoor - six-sheet posters,

escalator panels, tube cards and cross tracks

WAITROSE

Project: Christmas house

Clients: Amanda Bindon, head of marketing; Maggie Hodgetts, head of

design

Brief: Waitrose has honestly priced, quality food this Christmas

Agency: Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB

Writer: Chris O'Shea

Art director: Ken Hoggins

Director: Stuart Douglas

Production company: @radical.media

Exposure: National terrestrial TV

SEKONDA XS

Project: Sekonda XS

Client: Julian Pollock, managing director

Brief: Encourage people to give Sekonda XS watches as gifts this

Christmas

Agency: Campbell Doyle Dye

Writer: Sean Doyle

Art director: Dave Dye

Typographer: Dave Wakefield

Photographer: Steve Rees

Exposure: National posters

MARKS & SPENCER

Project: Marks & Spencer Christmas TV

Client: Jude Bridge, head of external marketing

Brief: Make Marks & Spencer the high-street destination this Christmas

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Writer: Pip Bishop

Art director: Chris Hodgkiss

Director: Jeff Stark

Production company: Stark Films

Exposure: National TV

CARPHONE WAREHOUSE

Project: A phone is for life

Client: Tristia Clarke, head of marketing

Brief: Remind people it matters where you buy your phone from this

Christmas

Agency: Clemmow Hornby Inge

Writer: Charles Inge

Art director: Charles Inge

Directors: Mark Charach (live action); Russell Brooke (animation)

Production companies: HLA (live action); Passion Pictures (animation)

Exposure: ITV North, C4

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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