Private view: Snog, Marry, Avoid (with Mother's Ana and Hermeti Balarin)


Ana Balarin

Executive creative director, Mother

Has anyone ever done a Snog, Marry, Avoid on Private View? I didn’t want to Google it in case they have and I’m left with nothing to appropriate this close to the deadline. The truth is I have never played it and wanted to give it a go. The closest I ever got was Kiss, Hug or Handshake – which, despite sounding quite similar, is a completely different and fairly innocent Brazilian playground game. And since I’m doing this review opposite my real-life husband, the relationship theme seems justifiable. For once, we did not check what the other has written, so here’s hoping he will not be too jealous.

First up is Vodafone. I have high expectations for this. After all, it comes with the added bonus of having Martin Freeman, the most lovable funny man in showbiz. Except that, here, he’s not being that funny. Or lovable. Instead, he is ruining what seems like a perfectly decent wedding party. I hear he is the new face of Vodafone. Does that mean Vodafone is a killjoy? I’m confused. Avoid.

Next comes Co-op "Circles". I have seen this film before. If memory doesn’t fail me, it was five or six years ago, for O2 and Nike. The letter O is round, circles are round. Simple. Here, I don’t get what the circles represent. The Os in Co-op? Burgers? Buns? Barbecue food in general? Ah, here’s a clue in the voiceover midway through: something about 100%. That’s what the circles are: zeros. But they could also be the Os in Co-op, couldn’t they? I was so distracted trying to figure this out that I cannot remember what the 100% refers to. For such an unpretentious construct, this left me fairly confused. Avoid.

The third film, rather fittingly, is from Three. This one has the impeccable CGI, the cool tune and all the swagger. Yes, it’s flashy and not the most original kid on the block, but it is promising me some fun while using my mobile abroad and I’m buying it. Wait, now I get what the Vodafone ad was all about. Extra points, giraffe-amingo, for keeping me entertained while conveying this rather dry piece of information. A memorable snog, but not quite marriage material.

Now, Superdry has the looks. Of the in-camera, lens-flare, handheld kind. But, unfortunately, very little substance. I spent the duration of this film playing a game of pretending I didn’t know what it was for and coming up with what it could be for instead. Beer, soft drink, sunglasses, sports gear, safe sex, airline, social media channel, car service. This could work for almost any brand in the world. I would probably give it a quick snog and forget all about it the next day.

Finally, we have Kelly’s of Cornwall. Something must have been lost in translation, because I understood very little of what this one was trying to tell me, even with the helpful subtitles. Was there a thread I was supposed to follow? Or an in-joke that I didn’t get? I wanted to like you, Kelly’s of Cornwall, but I feel that the language barrier is insurmountable. I could change my mind in the future but will avoid for now.


Hermeti Balarin

Executive creative director, Mother

Ana and I have agreed to not see/discuss/sneak-peek each other’s Private View column before it comes out in the magazine. To make this more interesting, I decided to guess what Ana will say for each entry. 

So welcome to this week’s The Newlywed Game, where I’ll be testing my knowledge of her creative barometer through Private View’s selected work.

Ana will most likely find Co-op boring. Or maybe forgettable, even. She could describe it as wallpaper. Maybe say it is nice or gentle. She will definitely say that she has seen this style of ad before.

Three. She will probably think it is quirky and fun. Potentially say it’s the best of the bunch. Maybe also say that it’s not as good as singing cherries or drunken cowboys of yesteryears. But could say that it at least tried to be different. She might have a beef with the American voiceover.

Vodafone. I doubt very much Ana will find this funny. Clichéd, perhaps. Maybe even heavy-handed. She could say: "Martin Freeman can do a lot better." And question why the brand has changed campaigns since previous work was stronger than this.

Superdry. She will have to use the word "millennials" to talk about this film. That won’t make her happy. She will most likely think that this ad is trying to be too cool. She could accuse it of trying to do the right thing but failing. And she will most likely criticise it for being a manifesto.

Kelly’s of Cornwall. Odds are high that she will find this boring and repetitive. She may even call it obvious or overly simplistic. Unmemorable, even.

So there you go. Now everyone reading this will know how much or how little I know my work and life partner through this week’s batch of work. I hope I haven’t got her completely wrong. Although I have a feeling that I might have.

Just in case anyone’s wondering, here’s what I thought of them. Three is the bravest of the lot, even if it has its own flaws. Superdry ended up making an ad to advertise to the target audience who most hates things that sound like ads. Kelly’s of Cornwall and Co-op are so wallpaper-like that I’ve already forgotten about them, a day after watching both. And, last but not least, could Vodafone have gone any more clichéd with its new ad? Poor Martin Freeman. Hope he’s getting very well paid for this work.