No sooner than Jamie Oliver turns his back on the long-running Sainsbury's campaign, he's back on our screens flogging fish for Young's. But he's not in the comfort of his own kitchen. Oh no. He's preparing the Alaskan-sourced fish, in Alaska. Otherwise known as Black Island Studios. And the consequences of an Arctic kitchen are ...
well, "hilarious" would be a bit strong. But it's good fun and makes its point really well. I bet all involved enjoyed making it. And who doesn't want to see Jamie freezing his bits off?
Durex (5) next. The thrills, spills, drama, spine-tingling, ultra- sensory experience that is sex has been dismantled and distilled down to an analogy involving two turntables playing at two speeds. One needs to slow down, the other needs to get a move on. Only when they are in-sync will the earth rumble. Hang on. As I watch further, I'm told being in-sync with our partners has nothing to do with it - actually, it's Performax Intense condoms that'll do the trick. Well, why bother with the turntable nonsense, then? I've never heard an overclaim like it. This campaign lives online as well as on TV. I just can't help thinking there are better ways for Durex to spend its money.
Yodafone. Yes, Vodafone (4) has signed up Yoda for its first work at Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. It's a good start for the agency and a decent spot. There are the obvious Yoda-speak jokes in there, and the wee man looks great. A guy in a bar is interrupted by Yoda, who thinks he needs help sorting his contacts when, actually, he's fine. Charming enough. And there's a Red Box involved somewhere, which isn't really explained.
I thought the Vision Express (6) ad was a Specsavers ad. One or the other company needs to pull its brand away from the other with a truly ownable campaign. Right now, they are both too generic. If I got it wrong, chances are I'm not the only one. The spot itself is lovely. A dog mugs his sleeping owner and steals his ugly glasses. No, the dog doesn't want to correct his own myopia; instead, he journeys to the coast thanks to a lift from an HGV and dumps the horrible things in the sea.
It begs the question, though: what else are our dogs stealing from us and dumping without our knowledge? Doesn't it? No? Suit yourself. The ad is OK without blowing my socks off. But the brand needs its own campaign sharpish.
Time for a coffee at McDonald's (1). Restraint has been super-sized in this great little spot. Just what was needed. We hear simple snippets of people's conversations over a coffee. No jokes, nothing over-written. Just life, as accurate as you can get, without being pure documentary. I like.
I wish the Nike (3) campaign was created with a little less restraint. Some of our greatest medal hopes and athletes - who, come July, will possibly be the most famous faces on the planet - are captured in simple black-and-white documentary/photography and the "make it count" line. I think the line is great, but there's no idea as such and zero joy. The Olympics will be an incredible moment in all of our lives and I would have thought Nike would celebrate it. It's a brand that is at its best when there's some attitude and great film-making. This work makes no attempt at either. Which makes me a little sad - 2012 deserves more.
Lean Mean Fighting Machine
Young's. Jamie bloody Oliver. The first time I ever clamped eyes on him, he was sliding down a banister, shooting a hoop while bopping to Toploader; I hated him.
Then something strange happened. While Gary Rhodes slowly fingered fish and Gordon Ramsay reduced down to an amalgamation of Rab C Nesbitt and the Grand Canyon, Jamie started doing loads of good things for society. I begrudgingly started to like him.
But now, I am in awe (it's only his ubiquity that mars this ad. It's a decent one). He has got four kids. How the fuck does he manage to do so much stuff?
I think we're looking for the dark energy that powers this universe in the wrong place. It's not in CERN. The Higgs boson is somewhere up Oliver's jacksy.
Nike. For 20 years, I feel like Nike hasn't left me alone. Constantly on at me, like a positive-thinking bully. "Just do it." "I can." "Make it count." It's Anthony Robbins in good trainers.
It hasn't worked. I'm still here struggling to do "it". But I'm probably not its "target", after all. Someone else told me "Impossible was nothing", but impossible did turn out to be something: a child's turd lodged inside one of my trainers.
However, this incessant positive bullying is done with great style - this campaign is vintage Nike. I particularly liked Mo's poster; there's one by Staples Corner in London. There's something poetic about sitting in traffic, chuffing Quavers in a Prius, being told to #makeitcount. I thought about Tweeting something, but iPhones don't like cheesy Quaver fingers.
Durex. Bareback riding. That is stiff competition. But it looks like these sheaths do offer something a bog-standard cock can't. I quite liked the idea. It's tricky to come at this from a different angle. Although the endline stopped me: "LOVE SEX." Who's arguing?
Vision Express. Ah, the old "reverse Lassie". I enjoyed watching this. I like dogs. Simple joke, well told. Although I would have shown the dog getting run over, leaving the horrified driver believing the dog must have been wearing the wrong glasses. Lassie should've gone to Specsavers.
Vodafone. Yodafone. Now we know the true subtext of the Emperor's hatred. He had foreseen this ad.
George Lucas - how much wonga can one man have? Yet he's stuffing the boot of his Millennium Falcon with phones and some gadgets from Currys.
He gave us Star Wars, then shoved a lightsaber up where the Dagobah system don't shine. I don't know, for a late-thirties male, there are too many layers of emotion to enjoy this. That said, I did like the wasabi gag.
McDonald's. The strange thing with this ad is that, while it trades on its sharp observations, I've never observed a McDonald's restaurant like this. A remake but with a load of pissheads and families with horrid, fat, screaming children would be really on the button.
But that's stupid. TV isn't about serving you the crap you have to deal with in the real world; just as the food served doesn't have to look bugger-all like the pictures three feet above it.
And, just like the grub, I can't help but enjoy it. I wish this parallel universe existed. But maybe it does, alongside the Higgs boson up you-know-who's posterior.1. McDonald's
Project: Coffee and conversations
Agency: Leo Burnett
Creatives: Rob Tenconi, Mark Franklin
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Production company: Academy
Exposure: TV, outdoor, press
Project: Jamie Oliver by Young's
Client: Natasha Gladman, marketing director, Young's Seafood
Brief: Raise awareness of the newly launched, responsibly sourced Jamie
Oliver frozen-fish range
Art director: Mother
Director: Alex Boutell
Production company: Channel 4
Exposure: TV, social media
Client: Marie Deery, brand communications manager, Nike UK
Agencies: Wieden & Kennedy, AKQA
Writers: Darren Wright, Guy Bingley
Art directors: Guy Featherstone, Carlos Matias
Photographer: Adam Hinton
Production company: ManaMedia
Exposure: Press, outdoor, online, social media
Client: Danielle Crook, head of brand advertising, Vodafone
Brief: Demonstrate ways that Vodafone makes customers' mobile usage
better - small things that can mean the world
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Thais Delcanton
Art director: Darren Simpson
Director: Stacy Wall
Production company: Gorgeous
Project: How in-sync are you?
Agency: Euro RSCG London
Creatives: Fabio Abram, Braulio Kuwabara
Directors: Si & Ad
Production company: Academy
Exposure: TV, social media
6. Vision Express
Client: Brian Linnington, brand strategy director, Vision Express
Creatives: Nick Bird, Lee Smith
Director: James Griffiths
Production company: Moxie Pictures