Executive creative director,
My best friend called the other day. He had something he needed help with. I couldn't help so I suggested he Google it. Google it? Why? To find the answer, maybe. He was suspicious and doubting. Honestly, I said, just type your question into the little window at the top of the page and you should get the answer you need. He gave me the impression I wasn't helping.
I was sitting at my desk during the call. Colin, Jim and Betsy were all in earshot, listening with jaws dropped. I even performed a live "Googling" with his question while we talked, and got a few versions of his answer. But he wasn't having any of it. He wanted a proper answer and I had a meeting to get to. We ended the call.
So I'm pretty sure he won't be viewing this Philips work. I think it's fantastic. It's to promote its audio offering and it not only lets you listen to a great orchestra, it lets you walk around the musicians virtually. You can single out a single musician and hear exactly what they are playing - and even meet the person behind the violin, trumpet or timpani. Not radical as an idea, just a smart use of technology. Hours of fun.
Next is the new Halifax work from Adam & Eve. It feels very much like the old Halifax work from DLKW. Which is a shame. But I think the client here knows exactly what he wants and I'm sure he'll be very happy. For me, and I suspect those watching, we'll think we've seen it before.
French Connection goes all art-house to sell blouses. It's beautifully done and makes no sense whatsoever. It's like a film-maker's scrapbook - all shapeless and rambling. In a world where we nearly always know what's coming next, I loved being bamboozled, unable to make sense of what I was watching. It's refreshing and sexy.
The Cadbury Twirl Bites ad features a contraption that twirls Catherine-wheel-stylee. Now don't get me wrong. I love stuff that twirls as much as the next man, and a French promo director shot it, but it leaves me thinking: so what? There's no real idea to speak of and the pack is bolted on to the end. Seems a little lazy.
Every single time I'm asked to write this column, I get Guinness. And every single time, I struggle for something nice to say. Ditto with its new rugby ad, I'm afraid. It's Rugby World Cup time and this film shows a battlefield upon which the flag is the rugby ball. As the hero plants the flag at the end - a try - I should really be drowning in adrenalin. Instead, I gently stroke the dog. "The filming took place over four days in Hungary, with a team of 370 people, and involved two cranes, 50 4x4 vehicles and a helicopter," the blurb says. I should be impressed, but I'm not. Sorry.
Magners threw out the rule book when it made cider from pears. It's only gone and done it again. Pear and ginger cider? Rhubarb cider? Honestly. This absurdity is the thought the campaign is built upon. It's simple and I can't help wondering what they taste like. Job done. My best friend will probably love these and drink a lot of cider off the back of it. And so he should.
A first-timer, I was chuffed to see that Private View covered all media and thought that I could only approach this as an enthusiastic consumer who enjoys receiving messages when they set out to deal with me as an adult, and who is happy to have risks taken with my good nature.
As an Irishman, I liked the disproportionate Irish angle with Guinness and Magners, along with the Catalan Dada influence in French Connection, as I consider Catalans "honorary Irish".
Starting with French Connection. I feel slightly old, but I loved it. I like the mood of this: the track, the pacing, the casting and the confidence of the team to take time laying it out. My only criticism is I wanted more colour and an even riskier set of images; but the clothes were sold to me.
Adam & Eve's first Halifax spot made me feel good about the brand - which, given what has happened since 2008, is an achievement. I immediately connected back to the original employee involvement campaigns and felt it was a clear message, a simple one, and beautifully executed.
I like chocolate and feel qualified to have an opinion! I have consumed Twirls for many years, so would this get me or you to buy for the first time or more? Cadbury Twirl Bites "twirly gig" is a sweet idea, which felt young, and could have been more ambitious in its execution. It's always difficult when asked to comment on work as you never know the circumstances. If a visual effect isn't perfect, and yet comes from competitors I admire, I always look at the circumstances in which we are asked to produce work - often with less time than originally agreed, a budget too low or lowered at the last minute and the idea being redeveloped in post - knowing the circumstances often lead to admiration for a less-than-perfect job because you know that having anything on-screen is an achievement. As I comment on these six pieces of work, I imagine their creators over their coffee saying: "But he doesn't realise ..."
I write these words at 35,000 feet on my way to three weeks in a camper van following my nation, Ireland, to the Rugby World Cup final (v the All Blacks) on 23 October at Eden Park in Auckland.
So this ad is about the Irish, even though, bizarrely, Guinness' "the flag" is trying to disguise the fact. And yet I feel about it the same way I felt about the build-up to the World Cup - worried. I worry about the Italians. We spend a decade being condescending about them in the Six Nations and, suddenly, inconveniently, this past year they suddenly start beating some of the five "superior" nations. Didn't they realise they were there to make up an even number? Until a fortnight ago and Australia, Dunedin looked like a replay of Waterloo in 1812 - a battle made up of Irish generals on both sides.
Now my pride and expectations know no bounds, and I wish Guinness somehow reflected this, and yet this is curiously flat - this doesn't make the heart beat faster. I have seen some great GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) images it has created and wished this to be the same. Rugby in New Zealand is the pinnacle - this is too dark and simple and art directed.
I absolutely loved the Philips "obsessed with sound" campaign. Although strictly a Van Morrison man, I connected with Philips and have told everyone about this. It's a great execution and a great idea. Nothing more to add.
Magners. I am not convinced Dermot was right with adding honey to a cider - I am a purist. I liked the simplicity of the image and the message, and I enjoy the entire campaign - though I feel it's beginning to run out of steam. The poster does what it says on the tin, although the image seems dark and I normally think of bees as being in a sunny environment like an orchard. The dark red setting with the honeycomb made me first think of decadent boudoir for a dark chocolate product. I might not have read the copy skimming through a magazine or out the car window.