PRIVATE VIEW: Steve Henry, the creative director at HHCL/Red Cell
campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 29 August 2003 12:00AM
Let us heed the wise words of the critic Christopher Ricks when speaking of Bob Dylan. "It's not good to want to give offence," he said, "but it's good to be willing to give offence."
Some people who do this column vent their spleen in most impressive fashion. Others err on the side of generosity. In the past, I've probably been kinder rather than more critical (although on one occasion, I can remember writing that a poster for Budweiser was "fucking crap". The guy who produced it never forgot - although we did make up over a beer while judging the Clios several years later).
Why am I kind, rather than harsh? Because I know what it's like to produce work. To get through months of briefing, development, meetings, research, debriefs, pre-production, production and post-production - until the point where, eventually, teams of editors, sound engineers and post-production johnnies wipe the sweat from each other's brows.
All that, for some bloke with a chip on his shoulder to say "it's rubbish" in Private View.
No - you've got to be generous.
Transport for London. This is fucking crap. Absolute, unmitigated ... okay, no, it isn't. It's a charming, feel-good, well-put-together ... puzzle. Who paid for this - and why? I can't help feeling that I'm paying for it, and I'm still not sure why.
At least it's not quite as pointless as those BBC ads that tell me summer's here. Nip down the tube, take a long, deep breath, and tell me you couldn't figure that one out for yourself.
I mean, I'm very proud to live in London, and all that. But getting around is crap, and property prices are so high, you can't afford enough land to graze a small flying insect. I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones. My bee eats because I'm a landowner.
Fiat Punto. Spirited work from the brand with spirito all through it. Cheeky, funny, empathetic, well-directed, bold.
Adidas gives us a few supposedly provocative thoughts in the arena of football. I didn't really believe the one about Beckham knowing as much about physics as Einstein or Newton. I mean, Ernie Einstein (Plymouth Wanderers, back four) and Norman Newton (Hull, between the sticks) were crap at science when they were at school. I think Ernie had a traumatic near-death experience with a ripple tank, but I can't speak for Norman.
I did like the ad about owning the 91st minute, because I love a good comeback story.
Five. A nice, visible, cheeky pair of ads, with a sticky-back-plastic vibe to them. I'm not sure I want to watch the programme, but I never got the appeal of Blue Peter anyway. If you told me the producer was a hairy-legged crop-wielding martinet who deflowered innocent virgins from up North, I might be interested.
Although I don't know - I get too much of that at home, anyway.
Home Office. It's a great idea to experiment with viral films, but I'm not convinced by this end product. In order for your films to be passed around virally, they need to be outstandingly sexy/funny/odd. These films are nice, but I don't think nice cuts it in the viral world.
Weetabix. This comes from that agency that has pinched Al Young from our place. So I'm tempted to say that the work misses "Spirito di Punto" by only the smallest typographical margin.
But, to be honest, they're very funny. It's not how I'd do it, because the brief is one of the oldest in history, but it's well-branded entertainment.
And, of course, advertising can do so much more than that. It's just a shame I've run out of space to tell you how.
Project: Football '03 "I am"
Client: Ulrich Becker, managing director
Brief: Play to win
Agency: 180 Amsterdam
Writers: Giles Montgomery and Luca Grelli
Art directors: Andy Fackrell and Ollie Watson
Photographers: Getty Images and Hans Pieterse
Exposure: Global posters
Clients: Lauren Ryner, senior publicity manager; Duncan Fulton,
Brief: Get the message across that vehicle crime is unnecessary and that
it is possible to outsmart the criminals
Writer: Chris Baylis
Art director: Jon Biggs
Director: Ed Robinson
Production company: The Viral Factory
Exposure: Viral e-mail
Project: Autumn schedule launch
Client: David Pullan, director of marketing
Brief: Launch The Curse of Blue Peter, the first in a series of Curse
of ... documentaries that challenge the conventional wisdom of some of
Britain's most established institutions
Writer: Trevor Beattie
Art director: Bil Bungay
Exposure: National outdoor posters
TRANSPORT FOR LONDON
Project: Tube campaign
Client: Nigel Marson, head of group marketing communications
Brief: Demonstrate that the tube unlocks London's rich potential for
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Duncan Timms
Art director: Will Bates
Director: Mark Denton
Production company: Therapy Films
Exposure: London-region TV
Project: Cat nap
Client: Franck Ropert, marketing director
Brief: Launch the new Fiat Punto within the "spirito di Punto" campaign
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers: Angus Macadam and Paul Jordan
Art directors: Angus Macadam and Paul Jordan
Director: Steve Reeves
Production company: Another Film Company
Exposure: National TV
Project: Weetabix Mini Crunch
Client: Tony Corp, marketing controller
Brief: Generate trial from new consumers and encourage increased
purchase from existing buyers
Agency: Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB
Writer: Bryn Attewell
Art director: Mark Robinson
Director: Lucy Blakstad
Production company: The Brave Film Company
Exposure: National TV
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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