The Work: Private View

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 11 November 2005 12:00AM

CREATIVE - James Lowther, founder partner, M&C Saatchi

Day 12 in the Arizona Sunny Pines Clinic for sufferers from chronic contract withdrawal. Wave at Kate M on the next door futon, who still seems to be taking it badly, sniffling rather a lot.

Terror rises through the haze of aromatherapy oils, as Oddjob, my Primal Scream mentor, hands me the dreaded Private View envelope, My self-esteem enters free-fall particularly when a cursory glance reveals not a stinker among the contents.

Nurse Pangloss takes me firmly in hand in the alternative Mud Therapy room and tells me I must confront my demons. First out of the box, it seems are the demons themselves. Crawling around under the skin of their victims. At first I wonder if I am witnessing the first appearance of mobile acne. Then I realise they are blood clots and I am looking at a British Heart Foundation (6) commercial.

And now I am doubly depressed. First, because this well-crafted intimation of my mortality is going to force me further into the grasp of Nurse Wintergrin with her low cholesterol wheatgerm suppositories.

Second, because it is a good, convincing ad but not made by me.

The tablets were just kicking in when I spied the WWF (3) press campaign for a living planet. That's cheerier I thought. We're going to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 per cent, by literally cutting these wicked power stations and power saws down to size. A sound clear, exposition of the issues, I thought, until I saw an excited Tony B in Intensive Care explaining to Margaret Beckett that all she had to do was photographically shrink Sizewell B and all his Kyoto promises would be solved. When I tried to explain, the poor chap couldn't even spell "analogy".

Apparently WWF are not the only ones out to better the world. Barclays (5) geeks too are trying to come up with new ideas to improve banking. Their megalomaniac robots and disappearing debit cards went down well in the Laughter Therapy session, though one of the Compulsive Obsessives wondered if the US ad for Alamo hadn't made an even funnier fist of a similar thought - remember the aromatherapy candles?

Maybe it was the candles, but when I first saw the T-Mobile (4) ad, I didn't get it. Some girl, scoring with a guy because she'd found out about his favourite author, Chad Kroski, on her T-Mobile. As an officially certified sad person, I looked our Chad up on the clinic's internet where humiliation awaited me. I had been suckered by a fiction, a wheeze, a naughty blog, which apparently had fooled Germans in their millions. Dashed clever. Great use of new media. So why was my first reaction "Blog off!" (Must make the Anger Management class tonight.)

No anger issues with the next contender. The Sony (1) ad had all the calming and life-affirming qualities of a Fourteen Hands Massage in the Ayurvedic room. Thousands of brightly coloured balls cascading down the precipitous streets of San Francisco. Fantastic track. Stunning photography and editing. All ending with a simple promise that Sony's new Bravia TV has "Colour like no other". Depressingly excellent.

A little bit of me wanted a tiny two-word technical substantiation of the claim. But my life counsellor tells me not to grub around in the shadows but to embrace the light. It works until he presents me with his bill.

Finally, healing and closure arrives in two guises. First a terse telegram from HQ: "Big new account win. Elbow the shrinks." Then a lovely ad from Orange (2). An elderly couple wheel and pirouette balletically through their home. Surprising and beautifully executed, it effortlessly takes the high ground for Orange with the line: "Relationships. They get better with time." Inspired, I pick up Nurse Reprimand by the waist and execute some flawless entrechats through the Positive Thinking Seminar. She nuts me. Peering across the spine of Campaign, I could have sworn I saw Tony Kaye laughing maniacally in my direction.

DIRECTOR - Tony Kaye, director, Wanted Films

Coloured balls/Ping Pong/beauty and no beast. Colours/BRAVIA/SONY (1) ... iluvthiz/or do I?/I need those Ping Pong balls to be reelreal/NEED NOT WANT ... I need to hear them bounce ... please God make them real/make them unpredictable, not the same shot over and over again. BUT, if this piece came on my television in America ... I'd say "wow/cool" ... but then I'd say NO/don't spoil it at the end with the expositional text/MAKE ME THINK/don't tell me what it's all about ... and get Geoff Emerick to remix that track ... cool song/it'll be worth it ... but ahhhhh I'm jealous/I've done nothing in advertising for five/six/seven years ... this is beautiful.

The foundation of the heart (6) /Frank Sinatra crooning/people are dying/I'm moved/I'm scared/I'm a hypochondriac/this>works/should the sound track be muffled a bit so it sounds as if it's coming from under someone's skin/get Geoff Emerick to remix it/"WHO'S GEOFF EMERICK?"/who said that?/DIE OF A BLOOD CLOT RIGHT NOW, whoever said that ... sometimes I say the most idiotic things just to be provocational or something like that ... will it stop someone smoking ... "YES"/cool.

ORANGE (2) /oranges & lemons (the story of my life) ... Relationships, they get better with time ... I just had an argument with my wife ... I love this line (I love my wife)/... I love this sensibility/this idea/good/bad/there is no good or bad/this is my favourite so far/can I re-shoot it?/I'll do it for nothing ... NO I CAN'T SORRY ... SO PAY ME ... I'll shoot it for something/I'll pretend it's 1996 and shoot it again/I'll make it better ... but why bother/it's great ... I've gotta learn to keep my big mouth shut.

WWF (3) /PRESS/RGT/MMI ... steadywathji ... wat?/SMALL LINE/SMALL SHIP/SMALL GAS WORKS/MEDIUM SIZE PEOPLE.MEDIUM SIZE CHAIN ... don't say what's he talking about/give me a little flac/flak/flack here ... come on; I did some good work once (and I'll do some again/you'll see) ... actually I'm trying a little harder again these days) ... WHAT I'M GETTING AT HERE IS THAT THERE IS NO POINT OF FOCUS ... I don't know where to look first? BUT ... maybe the point should be/DON'T JUST TELL US THERE IS A PROBLEM IN THE WORLD/BETTER TO TELL US HOW WE CAN BE OF HELP ... TELL US HOW WE CAN CHANGE OUR PARADIGM OF MOVEMENT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE ... be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE/think long and hard like Albert Einstein/think all night and do them again (ever heard of Neil Godfrey/ask him ... Geoff Emerick will be of no use here) ... I'm lost ... forget everything I just said ... I'm sure they are great.

BARCLAYS BANK WORLD (5) (punch and judy show cartoon time)/THIS IS NOT COMEDY/IT'S NOT FUNNY (too theatrical)/THE IDEAS ARE (funny and cool)/BUT THE EXECUTIONS ARE NOT ... understatement required ... small/great casting/good actors required (subtle performances)/small gestures/great cinematography required/great production design required ... no Neil Godfrey/no Geoff Emerick/seek out Stanley (dig him up ... get him to re-shoot it) /STANLEY KUBRICK WORLD ... missed opportunity ... to me/THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN FUNNY IF THEY'D BEEN DIRECTED REAL/LIKE THESE SCENARIOS WERE REALLY GOING DOWN ... and observed microscopically ...

T-MOBILE TV (4) ... SORRY ... but how can I criticise ... people have bills to pay/families to support ... this is the world we live in now ... I've made thousands of television commercials like this T- Mobile spot over the last few years ... I've played my part in the "PEANUT GALLERY OF CHARMING FOOLS NETWORK" getting through my day with some kind of integrity swimming in a Vaseline of nonsense ... collaboration only works when it is siphoned by a singular vision/My ego is dead (thank God), how's yours?

1. SONY Project: Balls Client: David Patton, senior vice-president, communications, Sony Brief: Launch Sony's Bravia TV range Agency: Fallon Writer: Juan Cabral Art director: Juan Cabral Director: Nicolai Fuglsig Production company: MJZ Exposure: TV, outdoor, press 2. ORANGE Project: Dance Client: Ian Smith, media manager, Orange Brief: Build customer loyalty Agency: Mother Writer: Mother Art director: Mother Director: Dougal Wilson Production company: Blink Exposure: National TV 3. WWF Project: Reduce Client: Giles Robertson, head of marketing, WWF Brief: Show how WWF is tackling threats to the environment Agency: DDB London Writer: Ben Tollett Art director: Emer Stamp Photographer: David Harriman Exposure: Press, posters 4. T-MOBILE Project: First date Client: Karen Harrison, head of brand and communications, T-Mobile UK Brief: Launch T-Mobile Web 'n' Walk Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Writers: Lisa Jelliffe, Rosha Nutt Art directors: Lisa Jelliffe, Rosha Nutt Director: Jeff Stark Production company: The Pink Film Company Exposure: National TV 5. BARCLAYS Project: Cybot, invisicard, napkin, orb Client: Jim Hytner, marketing director, Barclays Brief: Move away from "fluent in finance" Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty Writer: Dean Wei Art director: Ian Williamson Director: Frank Todaro Production company: Moxie Pictures Exposure: National TV 6. BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION Project: Under my skin Client: Betty McBride, director of policy and communications, British Heart Foundation Brief: Highlight the damage smoking does to the heart Agency: Lowe London Writers: Ed Morris, Tom Hudson Art directors: Ed Morris, Lee Goulding Director: Frank Budgen Production company: Gorgeous Exposure: National TV

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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