PRIVATE VIEW

By GERRY MOIRA, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 15 December 1995 12:00AM

They say it’s a decade, but I reckon it’s more like ten years since ol’ John Hegarty first sat down and made the first Levi’s commercial with his bare hands. Legend has it that in those days, Big John would take a mess o’ film and a big old hunk o’ vinyl and start a’ whittlin’ and a’ whettlin’, a mouldin’ and a’ meldin’, a’ fussin’ and a’ cussin’ (that’s enough, Ned), until he had himself a piece of advertising prettier than a baby deer, with a sales kick like Doc Webster’s mule. Come awards night, Big John would be busier than a one-legged man in an arse-kickin’ contest - even the record companies wanted to shake his hand. Nowadays, of course, it’s all different. Now they’ve got these machines to make Levi’s ads and the machines are taking over.

They say it’s a decade, but I reckon it’s more like ten years since ol’

John Hegarty first sat down and made the first Levi’s commercial with

his bare hands. Legend has it that in those days, Big John would take a

mess o’ film and a big old hunk o’ vinyl and start a’ whittlin’ and a’

whettlin’, a mouldin’ and a’ meldin’, a’ fussin’ and a’ cussin’ (that’s

enough, Ned), until he had himself a piece of advertising prettier than

a baby deer, with a sales kick like Doc Webster’s mule. Come awards

night, Big John would be busier than a one-legged man in an arse-kickin’

contest - even the record companies wanted to shake his hand. Nowadays,

of course, it’s all different. Now they’ve got these machines to make

Levi’s ads and the machines are taking over.



The 16-year-old modelchik, Kristina Semenovskaia, stars in this latest

50s sci-fi saga of parental control versus teenage sexual awakening. But

the real stars are the special effects; the gidgets ’n’ gadgets, the

Harrys ’n’ Flames, the woofers ’n’ tweeters, the... (stop it Ned!). All

of which conspire to rob this film of the tension and focus of, say, the

same directors’ ‘creek’ film of last year. The music doesn’t really get

a chance to get going and Kristina’s new bra beats the pants off Levi’s

old jeans. Mebbe it’s time for Big John to get his hands dirty again.

Mebbe it ain’t.



This is the season for breathy French voiceovers to whisper things like

‘Ca Ca! Pour homme’ at the end of fragrance commercials. Refreshingly,

Hugo Boss has eschewed this route and opted for total candour. ‘There’s

no reason to buy it unless you like the smell,’ the young hero of its

new cinema commercial says. Unfortunately, there’s also a TV version

with lines like: ‘It’s not just going, it’s going my way.’ Let’s get

some big sticks and hurt these people, whadya say?



Why is it that even good comedians fancy themselves as singers? In the

80s, Dennis Leary used to close his act with a perfectly dreadful

‘protest’ song (sort of Dylan meets John Denver) called Asshole. This

same song has been re-written by GGT, with a view to saving lives this

Christmas in Holsten’s very own anti-drink/drive commercial. Actually,

it’s quite effective, in a surreal sort of way. Although I must say, the

eponymous arsehole looks quite clubbable, the sort of chap you wouldn’t

mind having a few beers with, in fact.



Casting is also the key issue in the Sainsbury’s Christmas ad. That

tired ad-biz workhorse, John Cleese, gets an even more fatigued string

of old jokes with which to thread together a range of Christmas

convenience foods. ‘This year, Christmas falls on December 25th,’ is his

opener. It’s downhill thereafter.



In a similarly festive vein, Shellys has taken the magic of the nativity

story and trampled it underfoot with nasty, cheap, size 9, imitation

Patrick Cox shoes. I look forward to its Easter sale!



Which leaves me with about 100 words to review the brave new Martini

campaign. Are you too ugly to drink it? Comme tout le Londres, I was

marvelling at Trevenal’s creative spunk while it was still wriggling its

way up Westbay’s corporate fallopians. Of course, the idea is fab, but

the two executions are perhaps a tad too Ab Fab. Maybe the presenter -



Patsy Stone meets Katie Boyle meets Unity Mitford - carries too much of

the story. But I quibble, a great idea is a great idea. And this one’s a

monster. May your hogs n’ae whimper alone this Christmas.



Westbay Distributors

Project: Martini

Client: Chris Meredith, marketing controller, Bacardi Martini

Brief: Reinvigorate Martini’s image

Agency: Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury

Writer: Trevor Robinson

Art director: Alan Young

Directors: Trevor Robinson and Alan Young

Production Company: Jane Fuller Associates

Exposure: National and satellite TV, cinema



Eurocos Fragrances

Project: Hugo aftershave

Client: Hartwig Langer, general manager, Europe

Brief: Launch Hugo Boss to 16- to 28-year-old males

Agency: The Chelsea Partnership

Writer: Maryann Barone

Art director: Marcus Vinton

Director: Doug Nichol

Production company: Partizan

Exposure: National TV and cinema



Sainsbury’s

Project: Christmas range

Client: Mike Conolly, departmental director, operational marketing

Brief: Encourage people to buy their Christmas produce from Sainsbury’s

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: David Abbott

Art director: Ron Brown

Director: John S. Clarke

Production company: J. S. Clarke Productions

Exposure: National TV



Shellys Shoes

Project: Shellys shoes

Client: Shelly Robbins, chief executive

Brief: Create an unconventional Christmas campaign

Agency: Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy

Writer: Ben Jones

Art director: Rob Nielson

Photographer: Robert Steel

Exposure: National posters and magazines



Levi-Strauss

Project: Levi’s 501s for women

Client: Roy Edmondson, marketing director

Brief: Promote the new 501s for women

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Roger Beckett

Art director: Andrew Smart

Directors: Vaughan and Anthea

Production company: Federation

Exposure: National TV and cinema



Holsten UK

Project: Holsten Pils

Client: Phil Plowman, marketing director

Brief: Discourage people from drink-driving this Christmas

Agency: GGT

Writer: Robert Saville

Art director: Jay Pond-Jones

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Paul Weiland

Exposure: National TV



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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