PRIVATE VIEW: BY NICK WELCH

By NICK WELCH, Executive creative director, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 26 September 1997 12:00AM

I have tried to conduct this Private View in the manner in which most of the work we do is actually seen. As a punter on the hoof with 38 million things to do and the same number of messages to take in. So I looked at them just once on Friday and forgot about them until Sunday evening. Now I will try to spoon the messages from the communications soup in which we all swim.

I have tried to conduct this Private View in the manner in which

most of the work we do is actually seen. As a punter on the hoof with 38

million things to do and the same number of messages to take in. So I

looked at them just once on Friday and forgot about them until Sunday

evening. Now I will try to spoon the messages from the communications

soup in which we all swim.



Well, there was Whiskas - I remember that ad, I remember the song, Hold

Tight, and I remember a relieved goldfish - I liked the commercial and

it told me clearly and charmingly that Whiskas had a fish variant.

That’s pretty good for a two-day recall, though, to be fair, I did see

it ’for real’ on the box over the weekend. I have to say that the ad

doesn’t have quite the distinction of the previous Whiskas ad, which

explored people’s prejudices about cats, but it’s a very engaging piece

of work.



Incidentally, I am told that Fats Waller, the gentleman who sings ’I

want some seafood mama’, didn’t have an order of stir-fried jumbo prawns

in mind when he did. How curious.



A Homebase commercial also comes back, but with less clarity, although,

to be fair, its message was reasonably broad, ie, we have absolutely

heaps of anything DIY so whatever you want to do to your home you can

get the stuff to do it at Homebase. So, on the basis of my two-day

recall test, it seems to score quite well.



To demonstrate this we must see a succession of eccentric rooms and

their occupants all presented in a lively and quirky fashion. They make

their point but for me don’t make a sale.



I also remember a couple of commercials for Equitable Life, strikingly

shot in a ’contemporary modern style’ with blue and brown tints.

(Whatever happened to all those anamorphic lenses of yester year? Maybe

you can pick them up for ten bob down East Street market or, more

likely, Sammys has put them in a room marked ’Do not open till 2005’

when they will be discovered by a Delaney grandchild fresh out of film

school.)



The commercials likewise explored the idea of what might happen in the

future - people living to be well over 100 and general space travel. The

point is that you may not know what the future may bring but you can be

sure of Equitable Life (I think). So I got the message - but I don’t

think I felt it. Sensible but rather cerebral.



Then there was that poster where the woman’s dress comes off (every 11

seconds apparently) to reveal a pair of Pretty Polly tights and the

woman wearing them, though she has her arms folded in a slightly demure

fashion.



It’s clever and it passes the two-day recall test (for some reason, the

words ’Berk test’ keep coming to mind, but I think that was something

else) but I don’t remember what it tells me about Pretty Polly

tights.



The TV ad for Xfm remains clear in my mind - alternative sounds of

London.



A clever juxtaposition of unexpected sounds and visions. It’s simple and

witty and gives me a feeling about what Xfm might be like without

playing me any music. Now that’s original for a radio station.



And I remember some press ads, but rather vaguely, for Cafedirect. I

think I would have liked to like them more - it seems a decent thing to

be advertising. It is ethical instant coffee, after all, but I feel that

the ads were a tad too busy.



This week’s crop seems to demonstrate the truth of that old saying:

’It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.’



All the TV ads say something that I can remember, a couple of them just

say it better. The press work certainly does have something to say but I

didn’t go for the way it was said. I admit that the Pretty Polly poster

is a triumph of how to say it. I just wish I could remember what it

said.



P.S. I have since seen the poster up a few times and have realised that

the Secret Slimmer sub-brand holds the clue - the tights have a built-in

corset - silly me.



Pedigree Petfoods

Project: Whiskas fish menus

Client: Chris Burton, marketing manager

Brief: Launch Pedigree Petfoods’ fish menus

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writer: Merlin Sinclair

Art director: Justin Bussell

Director: Trevor Melvin

Production company: Picasso Pictures

Exposure: National TV

Equitable Life

Project: Equitable Life

Client: Nick Cook, advertising manager

Brief: Replace the staid and oak-panelled aspects of Equitable Life’s

imagery with a more contemporary and intelligent feel

Agency: BST-BDDP

Writer and art director: Tom Hudson

Director: Andrew Douglas

Production company: Douglas & Jones

Exposure: National TV

Pretty Polly

Project: Secret Slimmers

Client: Brian Duffy, managing director

Brief: Launch Pretty Polly’s revolutionary Secret Slimmer tummy control

tights

Agency: GGT

Writer: Paula Jackson

Art directors: Chris Beckles and Jay Pond-Jones

Exposure: National posters

Cafedirect

Project: Cafedirect coffees

Client: Humphrey Pring, marketing director

Brief: Highlight the issues facing coffee growers

Agency: Leo Burnett

Writer: Robin Weeks

Art director: Robin Smith

Photographer: Darren Rees

Illustrator:Anthony Crossfield

Exposure: National press

Homebase

Project: DIY retail stores

Client: Mike Samuel, head of marketing

Brief: Establish a competitively different positioning for the brand

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Richard Foster

Art director: John Horton

Director: Mark Denton

Production company: Godman Exposure: National TV

Xfm

Project: Xfm

Client: Chris Parry, managing director

Brief: Launch and establish Xfm 104.9 as the only alternative London

station Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Creative team: Andrew Fisher and David Askwith

Exposure: National and selected satellite TV



PRIVATE HEAR



To listen to this month’s Private Hear, please dial 0990 116 686. You

will hear the following ads: Pentax ’gorilla’ Halifax ’courier’

Appletise ’imagination’ McDonald’s ’in Mexican’, and Nick Welch’s review

of the ads.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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