Before opening the pile of ads: please, God, may they be good. Please, please.
You see, gentle reader, I did this job once before, long, long ago, in the days of Bernard Barnett. Be positive, they said, be helpful, don't, whatever you do, slag them all off.
Well, as luck would have it, the selection then was abysmal. If they'd all been in someone's portfolio, you'd have said: "Give up, my friend, advertising's not for you."
Anyway, so upset was the industry's esteemed journal that my article never appeared.
Bernard himself wrote a piece instead, and even he, good-natured soul that he was, struggled to find ways to praise the efforts on review.
So, this time, please be good.
Argento is a drink being promoted on posters. It is the Real Argentina, as opposed to the unreal one on the left, I think.
The Samaritans used to do great ads encouraging people to call if they were down. This campaign encourages you to call if you can give time or money. The main plus is the ads have a freshness; they don't look too like ads. Let's hope they work. It's a good cause. The number is 0870 9000032 if you feel like giving.
Now on to TV. The work for United Airlines and Holiday Inn follow similarish themes in that they highlight the negatives of business trips - either the flight or the hotel. Both are nicely observed, both capture the situation well and make you think: "Yes, that's how it often is." That said, I am not too sure that the fact that they've identified the problem convinces me that they have the solution. Both have voiceovers saying they have more leg room or more pillows in the bedroom, but there's a niggling doubt that sales won't rocket off the graph. I hope I'm wrong, let me know.
BBC. The plot here is that the World Cup winning team will be the heroic BBC commentators.
Finally, John Smiths. The packaging warned that these were suitable only for people with a sense of humour, which is dangerous, because you do approach them saying: "OK, be funny. Well, in a grotesque, laddish and callous way, they are. They are delightfully politically incorrect. One spot has the hero bunging his mum (55) into an old folk's home. He says he a) needs her room for a snooker table and b) her moustache (invisible) is upsetting his children. The theme is No Nonsense. It is certainly that.
Phew! Not too rude I hope. And if someone had come with all these in their portfolio, what would you have said? Keep going. Perhaps try and avoid the easy negative, and accentuate the more difficult positive.
It's where the big rewards are.