‘What does it feel like in the new Club World tilting cradle seat...?’
Well, funny you should ask me that, Bernard, because by some spooky
twist of advertising fate, I am at this very moment writing this very
column in that very seat in the lump on top of a British Airways jumbo,
45,000 feet above the Atlantic.
The fact that it’s Valentine’s day and I’m having to spend it all alone
save for the company of five fat company executives and an over-
attentive flight attendant who’s just called me Mr Batty for the tenth
time since take-off will not, I assure you, colour my judgment of the
following advertisements. Much.
Putting my tortured emotional state aside, I reckon this Club World
campaign will work brilliantly. I do, however, find it a little creepy.
The sight of said sad fat cats’ heads superimposed on the bodies of
small children reminds me of those unfortunate documentaries about
‘businessmen’ who dress up in nappies and pay prostitutes to play mummy
for them. Looking around this lonely grey World called Club, I can see
that the ads are bang on target.
It’s just a short Oedipal hop, skip and a jump from the self-important,
thumb-sucking executive to the man so uncertain of his own sexuality
that he drives a Porsche. I ask you. Would you leave your pets alone in
the same room as a Porsche driver? The Porsche isn’t a car. It’s the
word sad on wheels. I know we use it as an advertising tool, but as a
life-long non-driver I find the notion of car-as-virility-symbol utterly
hilarious. I agree with the creators of the Daihatsu mpv ads: only
virility is a virility symbol.
Unfortunately, while their tone is spot-on, the art direction’s a bit
clumpy, the driver’s a bit goofy and the van’s a bit dinky. Get hit by
one of these babies and you’d have to have it surgically removed.
There’s this girl, right. And she can’t talk to her boyfriend because
she’s got a gob-full of Rolo caramel egg. Hmmm. Time to switch my
tilting cradle seat full tilt towards the next advertisement.
Or the next 12 to be precise. Each one written, directed by and starring
the ’umble customers of Superdrug. Oi... No! I hear you cry. That’s our
job. You can’t have people doing other people’s jobs. Course you can,
Malcolm. Copywriters, schmopywriters. You can have anyone doing anything
provided they do it well. Was not the most famous advertising headline
of the decade (‘Hello Boys’) written by an art director, Monsieur Nigel
Rose...? If it feels good, do it, I say. And these films feel great.
I wouldn’t want to be in Adidas’s shoes, though. How do you compete with
a brand so omnipotent that it’s reduced its name to a simple white tick?
Leagas Delaney has chosen a worthy, wordy ‘it’s as good for you today as
it’s always been’ route. And Nike will leave it for dead in the blocks.
I heard an amazing Americanism for ‘loved one’ recently: arm candy.
Address the woman in the new Levi’s commercial as arm candy and you’d
find yourself wearing a nadger necklace. She’s a killer. If this girl
ran for president, she’d be Baberaham Lincoln.
OK, so it’s a thin storyline and we all guessed the cat in the shades
wasn’t really blind. And no, the soundtrack’s not as hot as Spaceman.
But there’s one fabulous moment of sexual tension in the film, where our
heroine thrusts her white-knickered tuppence in the ‘blind’ dude’s face
and, pouting, pops up the buttons of her jeans. It was this particular
scene that, for some reason, was repeating and repeating in slow-motion
on the U-matic player of my mind when a familiar female voice brought me
hurtling back to earth: ‘May I put you in the upright position for
landing, Mr Batty...?
There’s no answer to that.
Project: British Airways Club World
Client: Derek Dear, general manager, communications and information
Brief: Dramatise how passengers feel about the new Club World
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writers: Jeremy Sinclair, Simon Dicketts
Art directors: Judy D’Mello, Jean Batthany
Director: Antony Easton
Production company: Stark Films
Exposure: Regional TV
Client: Nick Adderley, head of marketing services
Brief: Build Superdrug into the first choice health and beauty brand
Agency: Bates Dorland
Writer: David Prideaux
Art director: Nick Simons
Director: Martin Head
Production company: Daryll Tate Associates
Exposure: National TV
Client: Tom Noble, brand communication manager
Brief: Adidas has always been and always will be at the heart of the
Agency: Leagas Delaney
Writer: Tim Delaney
Art director: Warren Eakins
Directors: The Douglas Brothers
Production company: D-Films
Exposure: Global TV and cinema
Project: Levi’s 501s
Client: Roy Edmondson, marketing director
Brief: Promote Levi’s heritage and authentic product details
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Jo Moore
Art director: Simon Robinson
Production company: Spots
Exposure: Cinema and MTV
Project: Rolo Caramel Egg
Client: Mike Tollan, marketing manager
Brief: You couldn’t share a Rolo Egg, even if you wanted to
Agency: Roose and Partners
Writer: Neil Chappell
Art director: Philip Gooch
Director: Simon Shore
Production company: Beechurst Films
Exposure: National and satellite TV
Daihatsu Cars UK
Project: Daihatsu Hijet mpv
Client: Rick De Leyser, marketing director
Brief: Introduce a new six-seater Hijet
Agency: Banks Hoggins O’Shea
Writer: Markham Smith
Art director: Richard Dennison
Photographer: Steve Cavalier
Typographer: Richard Lawson
Exposure: National press