Opinion: Perspective - Whatever you think of 'trucks', UK creativity rocks

I had a little buff box in the post this morning. It looked like the sort of box you get cheap jewellery in. Inside there was a little traffic cone and toy truck (take those home for the kids), a tiny chunk of Dairy Milk (breakfast) and a few stats about the production of the ad.

"Six-night shoot in Mexico; three weeks to 'pimp' the trucks; 140 people on the crew; eight precision stunt drivers; six airport truck mechanics; 800-metre runway created; eight trucks went back to work 'pimped'."

Even if I hadn't seen the ad, I don't think the picture all this paints would get me slavering. But then trucks aren't really my thing (though chocolate is). Since I have seen the ad, the contents of my little buff box are yet another small disappointment after all the anticipation of Cadbury's "gorilla" follow-up. It's been incredibly hard not to want "trucks" to be brilliant. It's been incredibly hard not to feel let down.

The industry at large seems rather disappointed, too. I wonder whether Juan Cabral has been reading the blogs and comments about "trucks" this week.

See page six of this issue for a few sample comments. Others include: "It's just alright. I don't wish I'd done it." "A top-tier advert, but a failure given the aims and hype surrounding it." "It's directed in such a predictable, and surprisingly boring way. Juan's direction hasn't created any energy, and the build up is shot in a very textbook style ... the soundtrack absolutely carries it. There are a vast number of directors that would have directed that concept with much more flair ... never have I seen a race so dull! Juan Cabral took a big leap to direct something of that scale and it shows." "Trucks just left me a bit cold, I think that I just found it a bit boring, really. Lacked any emotion."

It would be nice to think that everyone was hoping Cabral's "gorilla" successor would be brilliant, but I suspect there are quite a few adlanders that were always hoping it would be crap. Anyway, you get the idea of the consensus view. And if you haven't got your own opinion, you probably shouldn't be working in advertising. "Trucks" might not be the best ad of the year, but it's absolutely the ad of the moment - and that's quite an achievement in itself.

So everyone is talking about it, of course. I wonder if Cabral cares what his peers think. He'd be an incredibly rare creative (or human being) if he didn't. Of course, if the public likes it and buys more Dairy Milk because of it, Cabral will have done his job and bugger what adland thinks.

Except that what adland thinks is important. And we know now, more than ever before, what adland thinks. Now that everyone's sharing views and picking over opinions online, the sense of community and of a communal view is greater than ever. The temperature of opinion is being taken daily and the mood of the advertising community is being constantly spotlighted and shaped. Creatives were even posting their views of the "trucks" ad over the weekend, for goodness sake. There's no better sign of an industry engaged. And there's no better sign of the interest in Cabral and what he does next. How brilliant is that? All this obsession with Cabral, all this debate about an ad: someone to care about, something to care about.

Cabral's run of success has been great for the ad industry. Whatever your view of "trucks", he's an incredibly talented guy. Peer-group plaudits and his hero-like status have given advertising something to feel good about, something to aspire to, something to share. If you went to the British Television Advertising Awards last month, you'll know what I mean. Everyone watching the winning ads shared a moment of collective pride and not just for Fallon's work, of course: the span of excellence was broad and the general feelgood was tangible.

None of which means we should deny that "trucks" isn't as good as "gorilla", that it lacks drama. But let's not burst the bubble just because of one ordinary ad. British creativity is rolling again and no "trucks" can stop that.

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