In the battle for our attention, it seems that comedy is still the creative departments' weapon of choice. And, not one to disappoint, Fray Bentos provides us with a whole host of belly-laughs. It sends up the Coke/Levi's/Top Gun macho guy as we swap the Hollywood world of six-packs for the real world of whopping waistlines. It's a funny ad based around an incredibly audacious strategy, namely eating lots of pies makes you fat. If fortune favours the brave, then Fray Bentos has shown that it has got an awful lot of guts.
Jobability.com has succeeded where many an ad agency has failed - it got Ricky Gervais to do its commercial. And a good choice he is, too.
Ricky delivers the goods as the factory manager betraying hidden prejudices towards employing disabled workers. The script is a good one. But just one word of caution - I just hope that the irony works. Harry Enfield dropped his Loadsamoney character because the figure he was trying to ridicule ended up being loved rather than loathed.
The Mini press ads are just plain silly, and thank goodness for that.
A spot the difference competition between an elephant and a car. A family hugging their Mini. And a Mini covered in bubble wrap. It's not the type of campaign that would work for many car manufacturers, but it's a perfect fit for the fun-loving Mini. I can't see them troubling the jury, but they make you smile, which is more than can be said for most press ads out there.
Marmite is having more fun with its love it/hate it strategy. This time, we're at the beach. A lifeguard, in mid-Marmite munch, goes to save a drowning swimmer. Kiss-of-life turns into snog-of-life as the rescued bather gets a taste of that delicious/fucking awful (delete as appropriate) Marmite and plays tonsil tennis with the lifeguard. It's a funny gag, but as part of the strength of the Marmite campaign is its very Britishness, I think it might have been funnier if it had been set at a bog-standard council swimming baths instead of Baywatch-on-Sea.
Ladbrokespoker.com has gone for the Wild West pastiche that's proving so popular right now. Apparently, the advantage of playing poker online is that you won't get killed. This is a throwback to the lawless days of the dotcom boom, when advertisers would spend huge amounts of money telling you not very much at all. A bit less comedy and a bit more copy wouldn't have gone amiss.
As trouble looms in the Middle East, one of the few clients not allowed to have a laugh right now is the RAF. This ad features all the people rejected in the Fray Bentos casting session. Lots of chiselled jaws, trim tums and steely looks. It's well shot with all the action-packed cameos you'd expect. I just wish it had been well shot with some action-packed cameos I didn't expect.
But that's one of the nice things about being a consumer nowadays. If you don't like any of these ideas, don't worry, there'll be another 3,000 along next week.
Client: Martyn Miller, head of marketing
Brief: Support Ladbrokes' online poker portal
Agency: Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB
Writer: Brian Riley
Art director: Matt Lee
Typographer: Martin Crockatt
Photographer: Spiros Politis
Exposure: National press and style magazines
Project: RAF recruitment
Client: COI Communications/ RAF
Brief: Make the RAF more relevant to young people and persuade them to
consider it as a career choice
Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Writer: Kieran Knight
Art director: Max Clemens
Director: Malcolm Venville
Production company: Therapy Films
Exposure: National and satellite TV
Project: Fray Bentos
Client: Helen Lynn, marketing manager
Brief: Dust off the brand
Art director: Mother
Production company: Arden Sutherland-Dodd
Exposure: Regional TV
Client: Caroline McLaughlin, marketing manager
Brief: Highlight the prejudices often facing people with disabilities
while looking for employment
Writers: Rob Jebb and Ricky Gervais
Art director: Neal Colyer
Director: Ricky Gervais
Production company: Trumpet
Exposure: National cinema
Project: Marmite Lifeguard
Client: Oliver Bradley, group marketing manager
Brief: Refresh the love/hate campaign
Agency: BMP DDB
Writer: Adam Tucker
Art director: Justin Tindall
Director: Dominic Murphy
Production company: Partisan
Exposure: National TV
Project: Mini brand press campaign 2003
Client: Emma Lowndes, marketing manager
Brief: Communicate some of Mini's strong benefits, in Mini's own
Writer: Andy Brittain
Art director: Yu Kung
Typographer: Doug Foreman
Photographer: Lee Jenkins
Exposure: National press