PRIVATE VIEW: Andrew Cracknell is open to suggestions

Of the three activities that waste most time in a creative department (thinking up leaving cards, deciding on awards entries and writing straplines) we all know the last is the most pointless. If you've stumbled on to or inherited a good one, such as "The home of the Whopper", use it. If you haven't, sod it. Account handlers and clients of the world, when are you going to acknowledge that no-one's interested, no-one's listening, that it's just more rat shit under the logo? And, of course, you agency and client chief executives, when are you going to stop confusing slogans with an idea?

Many great organisations have got away without one. Many others change theirs every year. You're in the business and how many can you recall, let alone have any significance for you? Yet every week around the world, thousands of creative teams sweat out drivel such as "Threepwoods tap washers - where tomorrow meets yesterday" and, embarrassed, accept the praise of the account and client team, all the time knowing it's bollocks and doesn't make a rat's arse of difference to the communication.

Lucozade Sport, with the line "Water. Plus", watery graphics and an earnest voiceover, makes the astonishing claim that Lucozade is more than water and Lloydspharmacy, with stuttering direction and a confused construction, makes heavy weather of the honourably simple: "Your local health authority."

"The girls are ready, are you?", the revised strapline for the 24-hour Lynx effect, is, as these things go, pretty nice and if you're a bloke, pretty reassuring. But its main function is to help decode a marginally confusing idea that elicited five different explanations from the five different people who I showed it to. Mind you, in this arena, does absolute slavish comprehension really matter? If you're a bloke, you won't resent the 72 viewings necessary to get to the bottom of it.

One of the more meaningful and enduring straplines, "Never knowingly undersold", has rarely been advertised and doesn't appear on the new John Lewis poster campaign. Just about everything else does, though, and I bet I'm pushing at the art director's open door when I say this will be a first-class campaign when they take away all the extraneous babble to leave just the headline and the logo.

If you buy Kingsmill bread, you'll be contributing to buying kit for your local sports club, which means pudgy blokes won't have to run around the park playing football in their underpants and children won't have to use shovels for cricket bats, as shown in its commercials. This is a likeable campaign, which sounds like faint praise. But that's because one of the many downsides of our awards obsession is that you're taught from a very early age that work is either great or it's shit. But it isn't, it really isn't. If you're into cricket, you salute only the centuries but even a brilliant Test batsman will average less than 50 throughout his international life.

Oddly, Fire Safety, although it has all the ingredients, just didn't move me like some of the previous work. I genuinely hope it's my failing.

In its slow and lingering death, Bates (or Dorlands, whichever you prefer) spasmed again last week as the remaining staff without jobs to go to were laid off. So, through no lack of talent, commitment or intelligence, another four creative teams are sadly traipsing round with their books. If you want teams from the very new to the highly experienced, each of whom is excellent by any standard, contact me through Campaign and I'll direct you on.

There but for fortune.

JOHN LEWIS

Project: Autumn

Client: Evelyn Strouts, head of branch marketing

Brief: Focus on blinkered John Lewis shoppers, encouraging them to shop

in more departments this autumn

Agency: Burkitt DDB

Writer: Jon Leney

Art director: Richard Donovan

Typographer: Alison Wills

Photographer: n/s

Exposure: Regional press

LLOYDSPHARMACY

Project: Brand initiatives

Client: Mark Green, commercial director

Brief: Promote the new diabetes testing and prescription collection

services

Agency: Mustoes

Writer: Mark Prime

Art director: Lee Hanfon

Director: Peter Georgi

Production company: Rogue Films

Exposure: National and satellite TV

FIRE SAFETY

Project: Smoke alarm maintenance

Client: Communications Directorate, office of the deputy prime minister

Brief: Remind people to check their smoke alarm batteries

Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper

Writer: Olly Caporn

Art director: Olly Caporn

Director: Steve Reeves

Production company: Another Film Company

Exposure: National TV

LYNX

Project: Lynx 24-hour

Client: Margaret Jobling, European brand director

Brief: Communicate the benefit that Lynx lasts 24 hours

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Mark Hunter

Art director: Tony McTear

Directors: Traktor and James Pilkington

Production company: Partizan

Exposure: Pan-European TV and cinema

ALLIED BAKERIES

Project: Kit on

Client: Jo Sykes, director of marketing

Brief: Drive awareness of the promotion to generate registration

Agency: Publicis

Writer: Rob Janowski

Art director: Keith Courtney

Director: Carl Prechezer

Production company: 2am Films

Exposure: National TV

LUCOZADE SPORT

Project: Rain

Client: Pascale Muylaert, marketing category director

Brief: Create an integrated launch campaign for Lucozade Sport Hydro

Active

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writer: Kit Dayaram

Art director: Colleen Philips

Director: Philip Andre

Production company: Harry Nash

Exposure: National TV

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