PERSPECTIVE: Weetabix campaign deserves better than 'another Heineken'

First of all, do not send any cards or letters. This is not an interactive column, it's a rant. A rant based on a line in this week's Private View that dismisses the Weetabix ads by Lowe Lintas - a campaign that any agency would be proud of - as 'just another Heineken'.

First of all, do not send any cards or letters. This is not an interactive column, it's a rant. A rant based on a line in this week's Private View that dismisses the Weetabix ads by Lowe Lintas - a campaign that any agency would be proud of - as 'just another Heineken'.

It's the kind of comment that reminds me of the hoards of letters we get from people saying: 'Love that new Glossies shampoo ad, shame it's just like one I did at Smith Hunter-Smythe in 1971 for Shinies.' They are usually accompanied by a page torn from Campaign and a photocopy to prove their point. It's enough to turn someone who has a higher-than-average interest in advertising into a raging anti-advertising bigot.

(Before we go on, let's pause for a disclaimer: copying other people's ideas is not good. And on one level, 'just another Heineken' could be regarded as a massive compliment. The reason: Heineken was a great campaign, beer campaigns are known as centres of excellence and entertainment - not bad for a breakfast cereal to even warrant the comparison.)

But we know that it's not a compliment. We've all met the 'just another Heineken' types. Those overly earnest creatives who carry the world (and a well-thumbed D&AD annual) on their backs. Their only friends are other, similarly myopic creatives, since it seems no other humans can tolerate their obsession with who did it first. Because they have created a world where advertising is the centre of their lives, they fail to realise that to 99 per cent of the people in this world, advertising is a non-event (read the My Media columns in The Guardian if you need further proof of this).

Once creatives realise how trivial advertising really is to the average consumer and to life's bigger picture, it frees them to see advertising in an entirely different way. It forces them to make their ads immediate and memorable - just like Weetabix, which has managed to find a blindingly simple, 100 per cent branded 'unlocking' device allowing endless executions.

Admittedly, some executions are better than others, but that's the same for any good campaign, be it for The Economist, Orange, Adidas, Kit Kat or Lynx.

Ultimately, if your life is limited to what falls between the covers of a dog-eared copy of an awards book, all too soon your well of inspiration will dry up. And if that ends up happening, you've got two options ... go and get a job as an advertising librarian, in which case your interest in who did it first will be of some use, or go out and get a life.

As it happens, and continuing on the topic of Private View, we have a bit of a treat for you next week. Normally a director-free zone, Private View has been written by (roll of drums) Jeff Stark. Hence he reviews the ads in terms of colour grading, writing, direction, ideas, the lot. And no, not a hint of 'another Heineken' anywhere.

caroline.marshall@haynet.com.



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