I had thought the point of these awards was to celebrate the director having a chance to wax lyrical at length, after what I considered to be my very amusing introductory speech, the jury was already off message. But it was, in general, a convivial and good-natured gathering of top-class creative talent and Film4 execs giving up their time to seriously discuss in detail the pros and cons of the longer form, to award the ad that best used the extra screen time, to help promote quality and have some free food and drinks.
Adidas "dream big" set things off in a way indicative of the afternoon, a polarised jury. Those who liked football enough to know and care who the young fops in the ad were seemed to get it, the rest didn't. Overall consensus was that it felt like a trailer for an even longer piece, which it was, I believe. Nicely enough done, in a seen-it-before type of way, slightly hampered by having the unintelligible nasal mumblings of a soccer player as voiceover, not enough of a stand-alone idea to win.
"Watch your own heart attack" also provoked disparate opinions from the rabble. Ironically, it was felt to be too long, losing steam and getting a bit flabby (can't insert self-deprecating joke here, too close to bone), many of us thought it brave and interesting to annex an entire ad break. Steven Berkoff was suitably intimidating and engaging, but the accuracy of the message that the ambulance service wouldn't mind if you phoned them thinking you had a heart attack only to find it was wind, was questioned. Odd that the camera was only a partial POV, negating the universality of the message to women, older men etc. However, it was generally liked as an attention- grabbing piece of drama, despite the sick.
There was more broad agreement about Chanel's olfactory epic "Coco Mademoiselle"; unfortunately it was of the, "pointless", "wallpaper", "seen it all before" kind. For the judges, its ultimate downfall was that it could've been 30 seconds and have had the same or even more impact.
The Department for Work and Pensions' "nutty interview" did it again, some felt it was poor, some funny, some laboured, most agreed that the message was confusing and that viewers wouldn't know what to do after seeing it. For what it's worth, and I'm writing this so I'll say what I like, I thought it was great, good comedy, difficult message lightly handled, nice understated execution, funny key performance and held your attention to the end so it worked as a longer ad.
The one point of complete consensus was Hovis "go on lad". Everyone liked it and it wasn't just because it coincided with the entrance of the cheese board. Comments were: "apposite to our present times", "nostalgic but not saccharine", "well-crafted, seamless transitions", "perfect use of the longer form", there was even an "awesome" culminating in a "spectacular ad in every way, one of the greatest ads of recent times". At this point, considering an ad I directed was still to come, I was feeling a bit like Steven Berkoff had come into the room and thumped me in the chest, but Ringan directed it, so I got my act together and pragmatically attempted to be associated with it as he's my business partner. Well done, Ring.
"School's out" for MasterCard had some saying "feelgood froth" the rest saying "bland ... too long ... a 20, max ... silly", and finally, a damning "knowing you've borrowed every second from Boots; priceless". So not well liked really, but less opprobrium than that for McDonald's Happy Meal "planting". The general feeling was that McDonald's was trying to tick a corporate "eco" box and con people with a mendacious ad set to execrable music. Moving on.
"Knife consequences" from the Rozzers fell down in one area with the group. It was thought the message had no hope of getting through to its core audience and even worse, might have a kind of negative effect, perhaps causing bad boys on estates to try to outdo each other with the number of surgeons, warders and undertakers they can get to follow them around. But it was mostly considered a strong and atmos-pheric piece of work, well made and good use of the long form. Rightly or wrongly, whether any of these ads actually sell anything wasn't part of our agenda, so in the likely event that this doesn't stop knife crime, it's still a good bit of work.
Muller Yoghurt "passing the glass of milk" caused another rift. Thought to be both "charming" and "cheesy", "schmaltzy" and "whimsical", "good" and "crap", it's a tough one to summarise. Everyone agreed it was nicely shot, most thought the idea was a bit silly and the need for it to be a long form was dubious, personally I'd have liked to see something more practical about the different uses of yoghurt or something.
Finally the superbly crafted "I am Mark Beaumont" from Orange. Unlike D&AD judging, it isn't necessary to lock eyes with everyone in an icy death stare then remove oneself from the room when it comes to discussing one's own work. I invited honest opinions and in the end ... I was more or less the only one who voted for this ad. To be fair everyone said it was interesting, different, intelligent, beautifully made, etc, but the "I am who I am" concept of the campaign wasn't liked or considered original or believable. What I think is that this ad was somewhat tainted by the universally panned first ad of the campaign directed by an even fatter director than me and this is actually a really good, fresh, unusual, intriguing, inventive, mesmerising piece of film about a real guy who cycled around the world and stands out like Beaumont's own sore bum in an ad break, yah boo.
- Daniel Kleinman directs through Rattling Stick.
THIRD QUARTER: JURY
Chairman - Danny Kleinman, Rattling Stick
- Andy Barnes, Sales director, Channel 4
- Daren Benton, Deputy head of strategic sales and commercial marketing,Channel 4
- Amber Casey, Art director and copywriter, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
- Kit Dayaram, Creative,WCRS
- Verity Fenner, Art director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty
- Kate Finley, Commercial marketing manager, Channel 4
- Kim Gehrig, Creative director, Mother
- Lindsay Gibson, Commercial innovations manager, Channel 4
- Ian Hartfield, Creative, Beattie McGuinness Bungay
- Caroline Marshall, Consultant editor, Haymarket Brand Media
- Matt Saunby, Senior creative, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
- Cameron Saunders, Head of marketing, Channel 4
- Lynsie Sinclair, Business director, 4Creative
- Julia Wrigley, Head of scheduling and programming, Film4
- Camilla Wood, Head of marketing, Rattling Stick
- Simon Wylie, Managing director, Xtreme Information
The Film4 Director's Cut Awards are held in partnership with Campaign. The awards celebrate brilliant commercials of 60 seconds or longer. The aim is to encourage creatives, advertisers, media planners and TV buyers to successfully develop longer time lengths. By the end of 2008, after four quarterly judging sessions, these awards will have found the best 12 60-second ads of 2008. Early next year these 12 ads will be put to a nationwide vote and the Film4 viewer will decide the overall winner, which will be shown on Film4 with a director's cut commentary within its own branded break. Oh, and the scheme is free to enter. More info at www.channel4sales.com.
Campaign and Film4 would like to thank the nice people at Xtreme Information who are helping us research all commercials of 60 seconds and over throughout 2008. www.xtremeinformation.com.
THIRD QUARTER: WINNER
Hovis - Go On Lad
'Everyone liked it and it wasn't just because it coincided with the entrance of the cheese board. Comments were: "apposite to our present times", "nostalgic but not saccharine", "perfect use of the longer form", there was even an "awesome" culminating in a "spectacular ad in every way, one of the greatest ads of recent times"'
British Heart Foundation - Watch Your Own Heart Attack
'Felt to be too long, losing steam and getting a bit flabby. Steven Berkoff was suitably intimidating and engaging but the accuracy of the message ... was questioned'
Metropolitan Police - Knife Consequences
'It was thought the message had no hope of getting through to its audience ... mostly considered a strong and atmospheric piece of work, well made and good use of the long form'
Adidas - Dream Big
'Overall consensus was that it felt like a trailer for an even longer piece, which it was'
Chanel - Coco Mademoiselle
'It could have been 30 seconds and have had the same or even more impact'
DWP - Nutty Interview
'good comedy ... funny key performance and held your attention to the end'
MasterCard - School's Out
'had some judges saying "feelgood froth", the rest saying "bland ... too long ... a 20, max ... silly". So not well-liked, really'
McDonald's Happy Meal - Planting
'General feeling was that McDonald's was trying to tick a corporate "eco" box with a mendacious ad set to execrable music'
Muller - Passing The Glass Of Milk
'thought to be both "charming" and "cheesy", "schmaltzy" and "whimsical", "good" and "crap", it's a tough one to summarise'
Orange - I Am Matt Beaumont
'everyone said it was interesting, different, intelligent etc, but the "I am who I am" concept wasn't liked or considered original'.