PRIVATE VIEW

By PETER SOUTER, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 21 November 1997 12:00AM

In 1917 my grandfather spent a year in prison. Eighty years ago this month, he and his fellow conscientious objectors were rounded up and made to dig holes in the ground on the Isle of Wight. It hadn’t been necessary to arrest him until then because, amazingly, for the first three years of the First World War there was no conscription. Enough young men volunteered for near certain death in the trenches of Flanders to keep the whole process rolling along nicely.

In 1917 my grandfather spent a year in prison. Eighty years ago

this month, he and his fellow conscientious objectors were rounded up

and made to dig holes in the ground on the Isle of Wight. It hadn’t been

necessary to arrest him until then because, amazingly, for the first

three years of the First World War there was no conscription. Enough

young men volunteered for near certain death in the trenches of Flanders

to keep the whole process rolling along nicely.



When very few of them returned, volunteers were harder to find and

compulsory service was introduced. Which made people who were, like my

grandfather, unwilling to slaughter and be slaughtered, rather more

conspicuous.



I mention this firstly because I’m writing this on Remembrance

Sunday.



But secondly because I have something to say about the difference

between volunteers and conscripts.



When I started reviewing work for Campaign five years ago, the ads I was

sent had been volunteered. The agencies responsible had actively

submitted them to be reviewed, so it was often easy to find something

nice to say about them. Campaign has since introduced conscription. Even

if you don’t send in your work, it can still end up in the parcel that

Campaign lobs out of the trenches. This week, my guess is I have many

more conscripts than volunteers.



Banks Hoggins O’Shea is a fine agency with many campaigns to be proud

of. Bombay Sapphire is surely not one of them. The posters suggest this

drink will turn your eyes a startling shade of blue (rather than the

traditional red favoured by other alcoholic drinks). All four posters

carry the same enigmatic headline (if you want to know what it is, look

right - I don’t think it bears writing down a third time). True, the ads

communicate the product’s point of difference clearly and they are well

assembled. But I’m sure the team responsible was happy enough to let the

ads get on with being hard working and worthy rather than seeking out

particular praise.



These ads are farm boys, not fighting men. Shouldn’t they be left at

home in peace?



I happen to know that the team responsible for the Big Issue TV

commercials has, in the recent past, written reams of press ads with

sensational headlines.



(I’ve been looking at a lot of D&ADs recently because, for the first

time in nearly three years, a team has resigned from AMV and I have the

chance to go shopping.) Any of those ads would entertain you, challenge

you, make you want to buy things. I’d really, really like to be

reviewing them.



Instead, I get to snipe wearily at these impenetrable ten-seconders. On

the positive side, these ads are imaginative and original, feature

people with big sticky-on heads and are extremely cheap to make

(important when your clients are homeless). On the down side, I watched

them three times without understanding them. Which is a bit of a

drawback in an ad.



The Microsoft ad is a very nice 30-second commercial about Santa being

made redundant by computer software that fulfils people’s outlandish

Christmas wishes. Unfortunately, it’s three minutes long - or rather

two-and-a-half minutes too long.



The Campbell’s Meatballs commercials come out of Saatchis, the agency

that does all that phenomenal work for today’s Army. I can see why they

have produced this sweet but rather tangential exercise in box

cutting.



I just can’t see them biking it over to Campaign. Another conscript.



Finally, a couple of volunteers. A clean-looking Speedo campaign from

Grey, neatly fitting the brief and stylish enough to be worn

outdoors.



And Guinness Kilkenny is sexy, Irish, single-minded and thirst

inducing.



Gerry Moira is rightly proud and experienced enough in the ways of this

column to know when to post a U-matic.



I love to praise and hate to criticise. So I think in future, when it

comes to writing Private View, I’ll be a conscientious objector.



IDV

Project: Bombay Sapphire

Client: Mark Ody, international marketing manager

Brief: Position the brand as the ultimate white spirit

Agency: Banks Hoggins O’Shea

Writer: Chris O’Shea

Art director: Ken Hoggins

Photographer: Malcolm Venville

Typographer: Martin Crockatt

Exposure: Airports worldwide

Speedo

Project: Underwear

Client: Clare Parker, marketing manager

Brief: Show that Speedo is underwear for active people

Agency: Grey

Writers: Kay Truelove, Mike Keane

Art directors: Kay Truelove, Mike Keane

Photographer: Andreas Heumann

Typographer: Jasuir Garcha

Exposure: National six-sheet posters

The Big Issue

Project: The Big Issue

Client: John Bird, founder, the Big Issue

Brief: If you’re bored, get the Big Issue for a list of the best things

to do in the city.

Agency: BDDP GGT

Writer: Jim Thornton

Art director: Christine Jones

Director: Jean Pierre Khazem

Production company: All Films

Exposure: Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky, cinema

Microsoft

Project: Home Software

Client: Neil Thompson, customer communications group manager

Brief: Achieve the seemingly impossible with Microsoft

Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper

Writer: David Jennings

Art director: Dexter Ginn

Director: David Hartley

Production company: Brave Films

Exposure: Shown once on Channel 4 on 2 November

Guinness Brewing GB

Project: Kilkenny

Client: Julian Spooner, marketing director

Brief: Communicate Kilkenny’s core brand values and show its uniqueness

Agency: Publicis

Writer: Paul Quarry

Art director: Jamie Colonna

Director: Michael Haussman

Production company: Serious Pictures

Exposure: National TV

Campbell’s Grocery Products

Project: Campbell’s Meatballs

Client: Stephan Czarnowski, marketing manager

Brief: Campbell’s Meatballs are a great choice for children

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Joel Bradley

Art director: Phil Clarke

Director: Pete Lewtas

Production company: James Garrett & Partners

Exposure: National TV, cable and satellite



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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