The Work: Private view

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 10 July 2009 12:00AM

CREATIVE - Brian Fraser, executive creative director, McCann Erickson

OK, the top line is there is some good work but no greatness this week. Shame, but I thought I would get that out of the way first. The Cannes winners are still fresh in my mind as I write this. Slightly unfair, I know, but there's no Obama campaign here. Still, I will try to be as positive as possible.

The Specsavers (1) tactical press ad is a nice bit of opportunism. Some sharp-eyed individual spotted that an MP has claimed £210 in expenses for his wife's spectacles. The pay-off being that he should have gone to Specsavers as they have glasses from only £25. A value proposition that makes you smile, can't be bad.

Radox (2) is next. The idea plays on the notion that time is a woman's greatest enemy. The voiceover goes on to suggest that we need to think about time differently; it could even be your friend. The spot drives us to beselfish.co.uk. Now, I thought that the spot was a bit bland, but the idea of encouraging women to be selfish and make time for themselves is an interesting one. So I went to the site to have a look. What I found was functional but uninspiring. While the spot had high production values, the site was low on production values. Shame, as the idea of being selfish is a good one and, for me, one that could really be exploded online.

The Virgin Media (6) "fantastic journey" production is next. And what a big old production it is too. It's beautifully shot and the effects are seamless. A young bloke gets on a train and turns on his mobile device, only to find that the train carriage changes around him. He suddenly finds himself in a live music gig, a cinema, a war game and there's even a bit of romance thrown in. Sorry, but I just feel that I've seen this transformation idea done in this category before, even if it's not as well executed as this is.

Being a bit of a tennis anorak, the IBM (4) "Wimbledon Seer" seems like just the thing I need. It's a mobile application that gives Wimbledon fans in-depth information on how to navigate their way around the tournament. It works off your mobile's GPS tracking system, so it gives you all the information relative to your location. From toilets to what's on the menu in the restaurant. It's a really good example of branded utility. My only gripe is that it lacks a bit of personality.

Volkswagen's (5) "efficiency" print campaign is both extremely elegant and simple. Like all good VW ads, nothing gets in the way of the idea. Each execution uses text that is crossed out or highlighted to demonstrate VW's efficient BlueMotion technology, which saves you fuel and money. There is a confidence to these ads, which I like. Note, no pictures of cars.

The Phones4U (3) campaign is an interesting one. "Great deals for popular people" denotes a big change in direction for the company. It would seem that Phones4U now only wants to attract customers who have more than 50 numbers on their old handset. So, I guess if you're Billy No Mates, you'd better go to The Carphone Warehouse. The TV spots are pastiches of well-known YouTube films featuring teenagers doing amazing tricks with yo-yos and ping-pong balls. These feats are so amazing that these kids clearly spend all their time practising instead of making friends. Net result? This kind of sad behaviour won't get you a great deal on your next mobile. While I'm not mad about all of the executions, it's an original and brave strategy. I wish them the best of luck.

That's it, I hope you all have a productive week. I'm going off to count the number of friends on my mobile phone!

CLIENT - Patrick Jubb, head of marketing, Vodafone

It's my first time contributing to Private View, so I thought it best to start by sharing some of my views on creativity and the world of advertising - just so you get a sense of where my comments come from. For me, advertising has to add value. Add value to the consumer and add value to the brand that's communicating. Gone are the days of telling and selling; today's advertising has to invite, entertain and inspire - that's the only way we can hope to grab a morsel of attention away from our consumers' lives. A tough order, I know, and we don't always get there, but definitely worth the effort when we do. So, on to the work ...

I've enjoyed the Specsavers (1) campaign work in the past - it's a tough job making bifocals interesting, but I think it manages to do it well through the cheek and charm of its creative. So I'm very happy to see a continuation of this journey in the recent print ad - and while I like the work (especially for ridiculing the ridiculous), I can't help but feel there was a better execution there that we're not seeing. It's not so much the story, but how it's being delivered that doesn't feel finished to me.

Phones4U (3) has a new campaign that plays on the theme of popularity and taps into the social broadcasting phenomenon - two rich territories for any creative to make magic. I think the campaign will do well - certainly a step in the right direction for the brand, even though it's not my creative cup of tea.

When I saw the first five seconds of the new Radox (2) TV commercial, I thought: here we go, beautiful girl runs into a shop to get out of the rain "cliched ad" on its way - but, actually, I was wrong. I enjoyed it; a simple story, well told and in a way that will help Radox stand apart from its competitors - and all without the product message slapping us around the face with a wet towel. Thank you.

The same goes for the new Volkswagen (5) print campaign promoting its BlueMotion "energy-efficient" Technologies. Overall, I think the VW advertising has gone a long way in helping build an iconic brand, and while I've seen a bucketload of "energy-efficient" car ads in the last year, this work stands out for its simplicity and intelligence. Although I'm not quite sure why VW needed to create the sub brand in BlueMotion Technologies. I find it visually distracting.

Moving on to a new mobile application from IBM (4) and OgilvyOne that gives tennis fanatics an in-depth instruction manual of Wimbledon on the new Google phone from T-Mobile. I really, really applaud this communication: a clever and timely innovation to drive interest in the brand around this landmark sporting event - more of the same please. I hope they put as much effort into the activation and seeding as the innovation itself. When you create a value add like this, you have to spend time attracting consumers to interact and, by doing so, touch the brand. Without this element, it's just a nice innovation.

Finally, we come on to the new Virgin Mobile ad from Virgin Media (6). The spot is called "fantastic journey" and I really think the work lives up to its title. Beautifully directed, wonderful music - this grabbed me for the full 30 seconds. My only red flag would be what's the point of difference? Every smartphone ad in the world is saying the same thing at the moment - music, games, movies and friends. Maybe I'm being a bit hard, but, at the moment, if you're in the smartphone or multimedia phone industry, you have to give the consumer a distinct reason to choose you that's not the same as everyone else - good creative can only get you so far!

1. SPECSAVERS
Project: MPs' expenses
Client: Richard Holmes, marketing director, Specsavers
Brief: Capitalise on the MPs' expenses debate in a comical way
Agency: Specsavers Creative
Writers/art directors: Neil Brush, Simon Bourgourd
Exposure: National press

2. RADOX
Project: Be selfish
Client: Radox
Brief: Get Radox back to its rightful pride of place in a new, more
modern, more relevant way
Agency: WCRS
Writer: Dave Cornell
Art director: Jane Briers
Director: Terri Timely
Production company: Blink
Exposure: TV, print, online, in-store

3. PHONES4U
Project: Great deals for popular people
Client: Phones4U
Brief: Promote Phones4U's great deals to a young, tech-savvy audience
with a maverick and challenging campaign
Agency: Adam & Eve
Writers/art directors: Sid Rogers, Harry Bugden
Director: Ben Wheatley
Production company: Blink
Exposure: TV, print, digital

4. IBM
Project: IBM Wimbledon 2009
Client: Alan Flack, AELTC Wimbledon client and programme executive, IBM
Brief: Create live coverage of every aspect of Wimbledon - not just the
scores
Agency: OgilvyOne
Writer: Pavlos Themistocleous
Art director: Jamie Romain
Designers: Maciek Strychalski, Andrew Mackay
Production company: Mobilizy
Exposure: T-Mobile G1 phone

5. VOLKSWAGEN
Project: Volkswagen efficiency
Client: Daniel Hill, communications manager (large cars), Volkswagen
Brief: Communicate that Volkswagen offers a range of technologies that
lead to improved fuel efficiency
Agency: DDB London
Writer: Hunter Somerville
Art director: Graeme Hall
Designer: Pete Mould
Exposure: Print

6. VIRGIN MEDIA
Project: Fantastic journey
Client: Ashley Stockwell, executive director of brand and marketing,
Virgin Media
Brief: Demonstrate the world of entertainment you can experience with a
mobile from Virgin Media
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Ted Heath
Art director: Paul Angus
Director: Sam Brown
Production company: Rogue Films
Exposure: TV, cinema

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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