The Work: Private View

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 07 April 2006 12:00AM

CREATIVE - Ed Morris, executive creative director, Lowe London

Come on, Strongbow (3), ditch all your strategic chicanery and meaninglessly trite product attributes and give this barrel of fizzy piss some charisma. Once and for all.

I watched the ads two minutes ago. I can't remember the endline, probably a pun on sharp or hitting the spot or something like that. Weyhaaaaaaaaay.

Tedious - there's a sharp little adjective that fires itself right out the middle of my forehead. Yes, there were arrows in the ad. A mobile rang manically before being hit by some of them. Accentuating the negative is always an easy cop-out. Don't let your agencies do it, clients, it's just crap. I don't think these are re-watchable. Emotionally, they don't really resonate beyond the 30 seconds they struggle to fill. Generally (crikey, don't I go on?), I'm not comfortable with alcohol manufacturers forcing a judgmental view of the status quo on me.

From some ads with a lot of arrows in to some ads that certainly will not win any. Now there's a classically puerile Private View link line to this next campaign. It comes from a brand and an agency whose work I have loved, admired and looked forward to over the years, which makes this recent offering doubly disappointing. It is the sort of content-less and over-mannered crap that gives the industry a bad name. It digs the ditch that "twist" got Levi's (2) out of four years ago. "Visit moonbathing.com" feels like another half-baked nod to through-the-line mania. Why? Why have you spent all this money just directing me to a website? Couldn't you have at least rewarded me a little on the way? The interruption versus engagement debate is redundant without reward. The relationship with and respect from the consumer always has and always will be built on requite. The Levi's work demands my time and attention for nothing in return.

The brief for the Amnesty International (5) ads is probably one of the most compelling and emotively loaded ever to bless the business. A good planner's cup final (football analogies, eh? The industry's guaranteed twat-proof comprehension tool). These ads barely scratch the surface of the issue. The form gets in the way of the function.

They come across as contrived and too conceptualised. They don't feel like they are taking the subject as seriously as they should do. And it's not enough to tell me, "your letter could save countless lives" in the body copy and expect me to believe it. Small point: in the digital/virtual/mobile/e-mail age, does anyone write letters any more? Write to me and let me know.

What do you think a rapist might do after seeing these ads from the Home Office (4) urging him to get a "yes" before sex? Wait for the magic word next time he has got a woman pinned to the floor with a knife to her neck? The strategy is just daft and the lines are vapid, blunt and clumsily written.

On to a better subject, chocolate. This Cadbury (1) work is the best of the bunch. I'm not blown away, but it at least attempts to do something befitting the scale of the brand. And I think it just about makes it. Love and chocolate is certainly not a new association but this work does it in a fairly fresh way and it's very well executed.

This last piece of communication for something to do with the Asthma UK (6) charity certainly is not an ad. It has a lot of information on screen before it fades to the asthma attack card. A voice urges parents to get one if their children suffer from asthma. There is no scale, no depth, no magic.

The medium hasn't been used to achieve anything more than you might have done in a small leaflet at a doctor's surgery. Which, admittedly, is where I may well end up if I keep writing Private Views like this one. Maybe I'll make it the last.

MP - George Galloway, MP and talkSPORT presenter

This got me all a-quiver. I don't drink but I loved this and almost wished I did. The Strongbow (3) ads over the years have been consistently clever, and not only that, they have branded the product as the only cider you can think of. These are ten seconds of pure joy. I am on the mobile phone constantly and I hate its necessity. I keep changing my number but I am still tracked down. The phone ad is witty and engaging, from the word "incoming" on the screen to the plunging arrows. It is surprising and it is perceptive.

As is the C-List magazine one. If Chantelle were on the cover, I'd volunteer to fire the arrows.

Levi's (2) is silly, frivolous and utterly fabulous, with more filmic references than you could shake a clapperboard at. It must have cost an obscene amount of money to make but, if I could afford to have these guys, I could remove Tony Blair. You don't ask questions (such as why did he put on the belt only to take it off?) - you just enjoy. They can even make it seem cool to pull on brand-new jeans over naked bits, regardless of the havoc the starched and scratchy cloth would actually make. It does not tell you anything about the product, which we were so ignorant about in my youth in Dundee we pronounced "levees", only that it must be as cool as the people who made the films. If they have not signed the Hollywood deal, I'm amazed. And if they are looking for an agent ...

The Amnesty International (5) artwork is magnificent but, really, this is not about attempting to influence foreign leaders and dictators, it is about raising money for Amnesty. I have been on the receiving end of these campaigns and they do not work on me because when you have weighed up an issue and made your decision, you would have to be a fairly feeble politician to be swayed by a letter-writing blizzard. George Bush is not going to withdraw his troops from Iraq and stop torturing uncharged prisoners, and Robert Mugabe will not be scratching his chin and musing "maybe they are right" because their mailbags are full. I hope the cheques roll in, but it is not going to put a check on abuses.

The Home Office (4) anti-rape campaign simply does not work. The copy is clever, but the basic idea is not. This smacks to me of concerned people who are at a loss to know what to do and, having decided something must be done, are understandably not able to execute anything convincing. Rape is a massive problem. Would this deter a rapist? I don't think so. Are we expected to believe that there are loads of men out there who really do not know when a woman, through actions or verbally, is refusing?

Please! Or are men meant to, just before pulling out the condom they have been warned to use, produce a consent form? Can't argue with the motivation, however.

I wanted to like the Asthma UK (6) charity ad. I realise there was not a lot of money put into the ad, but it left me feeling that, even then, it was a waste of money. Did it tell me anything about what to do in an asthma attack? It did not. All I learned was that you could get a card from some phone line at semi-premium rates. What is wrong with viral advertising?

Or posters? Or striking the kind of deal the New Internationalist seems to be able to pull out from national newspapers? Sorry, but ideas-light.

Cadbury (1). I do not like the chocolate, I hated the ad. Cloying, sentimental, crass, entirely devoid of wit and an abuse of a truly great song (where is Amnesty on this issue?). And what is this about breaking off a piece of chocolate and handing it to someone with your sweaty fingers? For a surefire result, they should play this one at Weight Watchers.

1. CADBURY Project: First taste, first love Client: Simon Bawdry, managing director, Cadbury UK Brief: Capture the emotional bond that consumers experience when they first taste the chocolate brand Agency: Publicis Writer: Roger Rex Art director: Roger Sealey Director: Joe Roman Production company: Knucklehead Exposure: National TV 2. LEVI'S Project: Billboard, ledge, moonbathing Client: Andrea Moore, consumer marketing manager, Levi's Brief: Communicate the original attitudes and behaviours of Levi's wearers Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty Writer: Caroline Pay Art director: Caroline Pay Director: Anthony Atanasio Production company: Outsider Exposure: National TV, cinema 3. STRONGBOW Project: Taste that hits a little deeper Client: Paul Bartlett, consumer marketing director, Scottish & Newcastle Brief: Reintroduce the Strongbow brand using taste as the motivator Agency: St Luke's Writer: Alistair Campbell Art director: Suzanne Hails Director: Jake & Jim Production company: HSI Exposure: National TV 4. HOME OFFICE Project: Rape Client: Sharon Sawers, strategic communications advisor, Home Office Brief: Get men to seek active consent before sex Agency: Rainey Kelly Cambell Roalfe/Y&R Writers: Mike Boles, Jerry Hollens Art directors: Mike Boles, Jerry Hollens Photographer: Ben Stockley Exposure: Men's monthlies/weeklies, ambient 5. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Project: Amnesty International Client: n/s Brief: n/s Agency: Mother Writer: Mother Art director: Mother Exposure: Press, posters 6. ASTHMA UK Project: Fatal mistake Client: n/s Brief: 2006 recruitment Agency: Claydon Heeley Jones Mason Writer: Kristian Wheater Art director: Gary Fraser Director: n/s Production company: VTR Exposure: National TV

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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