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.

ADIDAS

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

Typographer: n/s

Photographers: Getty Images and Hans Pieterse

Exposure: Global posters

HOME OFFICE

Project: Secretcctv.co.uk

Clients: Lauren Ryner, senior publicity manager; Duncan Fulton,

publicity manager

Brief: Get the message across that vehicle crime is unnecessary and that

it is possible to outsmart the criminals

Agency: Profero

Writer: Chris Baylis

Art director: Jon Biggs

Director: Ed Robinson

Production company: The Viral Factory

Exposure: Viral e-mail

FIVE

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

Agency: TBWA\London

Writer: Trevor Beattie

Art director: Bil Bungay

Typographer: n/s

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

everyone

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writer: Duncan Timms

Art director: Will Bates

Director: Mark Denton

Production company: Therapy Films

Exposure: London-region TV

FIAT

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

WEETABIX

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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