By coincidence, and giving me a wafer-thin link, Nytol's sworn enemy Pro Plus is first out of the bag this week. And just as Nytol's claims for its powers are modest, Pro Plus' posters show a remarkable lack of faith in the product's performance. Represented as a klaxon, blaring "Wake up!", Pro Plus is seen to have no effect whatsoever on a slumbering and dribbling couple of over-partied office folk. Perhaps the pack carries an unseen warning: "May cause wakefulness. Unless you're a bit sleepy."
The Rolo campaign is far surer of itself. "Discover the power of the last Rolo," it urges, showing people humiliating their friends and loved ones by getting them to do embarrassing things such as flash their pants.
It's all a bit Jackass-Lite, but done with plenty of charm and skill.
The Posh Noodle ad depicts a family in wretched poverty who've overreached themselves by buying the product for the eldest boy's 21st. It's beautifully cast and executed, making it all the more baffling that they end with the gag where a man, oblivious to the horror of others around him, suddenly realises everyone's looking at him and says: "What?" Er, John Smith's, anyone?
Now, is this a good idea for selling tampons? A young female TV presenter discusses their ease of insertion and removal with her sidekick, a malodorous old coot called Merv who emits "poisonous farts" and says things such as: "Can I have a go?" The press ads and website for Lil-lets have to be seen and read before you'll believe them. And still you won't.
Rustlers are fast-food items you can microwave into some sort of life in 70 seconds. You're probably thinking they're vile, and from the look of this campaign I'd say you were on to something. Not because the ads are bad; they're made with a great deal of love and attention to detail, and nicely parody the world of custom cars by substituting microwaves for motors. The suspicion that the product isn't up to much comes from its virtual non-appearance. In the 50-second ad, it flashes on right at the end for as long as it takes the voiceover to gabble "Nought to tasty in 70 seconds" and that's about your lot.
It is beyond my meagre literary powers to describe the joyous filmic carnage that is the Siemens Xelibri commercial. But, given the unimaginable difficulties of scripting and presenting it, let it stand as an enviable testament to a client's faith in its agency and an agency's faith in itself.
There was no label on the VHS, but had there been one it would have read: "Mother. We can do what we bloody well like."
Client: Chad Ellis, vice-president of marketing
Brief: Launch Xelibri's first fashion phone collection
Art director: Mother
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: TV and cinema in Europe and China
Project: Rolo relaunch
Client: Sam Ellison, marketing manager
Brief: Contemporise the Rolo brand
Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Writer: Huw Rowlands
Art director: Alastair Scully
Director: Cris Mudge
Production company: Mustard
Exposure: National terrestrial and satellite TV
Project: Pro Plus
Client: Richard Hollies, brand leader
Brief: Show that Pro Plus is a brand for people who live life to the
Agency: Bates UK
Writer: Chris Harries
Art director: Ben Stafford
Typographer: Sefton Quest
Photographer: Max Ellis
Exposure: Tube cards
Project: Posh Noodle
Client: Hilary Strong, brand manager
Brief: Launch Posh Noodle as the premium alternative to Pot Noodle
Agency: HHCL/Red Cell
Writer: Jonathan Burley
Art director: Ian Williamson
Production company: Outsider Films
Exposure: National TV
Clients: Mandy Mullins, marketing manager; Carol McHugh, product manager
Brief: Establish Rustlers as a leading chilled microwaveable hot snack
Writer: Emmet Wright
Art directors: Richard Chaney; Adrian Fitzsimons
Director: Declan Lowney
Production company: Rocket Productions
Exposure: Regional TV, cinema
Project: Lil-lets Solutions
Clients: Tenley Soanes, marketing and communications controller; Rachel
Price, senior brand manager
Brief: Demonstrate the unique benefits of Lil-lets lubricated Extra
Art director: Us
Photographer: Moritz Steiger
Exposure: National and women's press