PRIVATE VIEW

Recently, at a large agency, a rookie team presented an ad to the creative director, which he turned down. As it was their third attempt, and because they were eager to glean any gems of wisdom from the great guru, they asked for some guidance.

Recently, at a large agency, a rookie team presented an ad to the

creative director, which he turned down. As it was their third attempt,

and because they were eager to glean any gems of wisdom from the great

guru, they asked for some guidance.



‘I’ll give you some guidance,’ he said. ‘Go out of the door, walk down

the corridor, go into your office and do another fucking ad.’



I tell this story for two reasons. Firstly, it proves that shit, as well

as cream, often rises to the top, and also that it is very difficult to

give constructive criticism (something we are all asked to consider when

writing this column). I think I’m about to show how difficult it is.



The new ad for Vauxhall Astra comes from a great agency, and is shot by

a great director. It makes me feel like the little boy who pointed to

the procession and shouted, ‘But the emperor has nothing at all on!’.

Perhaps at 90 seconds it’s 50 seconds too long. Perhaps the ‘aah’ factor

will shift a few shiny new Vauxhalls, but it has a tenth of the charm of

the marvellous Tesco babies that came out of the same agency. However,

it does at least get a gold for The Shoot I Would Least Like To Have

Gone On. Can you imagine?



From the faintly boring to the downright irritating. BT’s value campaign

features Brian Walden (first mistake) who encourages businessmen to ring

BT Business Connections for help and advice. Presumably, the businessmen

featured are real. Fancy editing tries its damnedest to disguise bad

acting. ‘The advice was fwee,’ says Brian. So’s this: don’t put it on

your reel.



A new commercial for Rightguard continues the campaign that adapts the

song, Working in a Coalmine (‘when you’re working harder so does the

Rightguard’), set against animation. It’s still a good campaign, but is

it looking a little dated? There is some fantastic animation to choose

from these days. Constructive criticism: be more adventurous - take a

look at Eric Coignoux’s reel, for instance. Just a thought.



The next commercial was written to a wonderful brief: write a cinema

commercial to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the cinema. What an

opportunity. What a miss. The ad is topped and tailed by a dear lady as

old as cinema itself, but mainly consists of a series of actors (Sir Ian

McKellen, Bob Hoskins, Richard E. Grant, The Rt. Hon. John Major PM)

extolling the virtues of film. Well they would, wouldn’t they? In one

clip, Griff Rhys Jones warns us all that ‘you can go to the cinema and

have an excruciatingly boring experience’. He said it. Constructive

criticism: use more of the dear old lady.



The team that did the new press campaign for Puma surely didn’t want it

appearing here. One of the best ads of last year (Adidas’s ‘just to the

lamp-post... just to the corner...’) is in the same category but in a

totally different league. Just back to the drawing board, I think.

Constructive criticism: removing the punny headlines would be an

improvement.



Finally, a campaign for Shell Smart. I have already come across these in

the press, where I happily passed them by. However, this time it is my

duty to scythe through the impenetrable art direction and read them. ‘Do

not use for rodent adrenaline sports. Do use for collecting air miles.’

Oh, my aching sides. Constructive criticism: go out of the door, walk

down the corridor, go into your office...



Gerard Stamp is executive creative director of Leo Burnett



Gillette



Project: Rightguard

Client: Susan Hardy, marketing manager

Brief: Show Rightguard as a hard-working, efficacious brand which now

has micro-encapsulation

Agency: Saatchi and Saatchi

Writer: Richard Baynham

Art director: Ian Gabaldoni

Director: Charlie Paul

Production company: Smith Jones Brown Cassie

Exposure: National TV



Cinema 100



Project: Cinema 100

Client: Daniel Battsek,

vice-president and managing director of Buena Vista International and

Theatrical

Brief: Publicise 100 years of cinema and national cinema day

Agency: Lansdown Conquest

Writer: Simon Frank

Art director: John Trainor

Director: Larry Smith

Production company: John Clarke Productions

Exposure: National cinema



Puma



Project: Footwear

Client: Tony Jarvis, sales and marketing director

Brief: Present the modern face of the Puma brand, while retaining the

positioning of ‘performance encapsulated’

Agency: K Advertising

Writer: Paul Domenet

Art director: Kevin Jones

Typographer: Steve Wallington

Illustrator: Gary West

Exposure: Lifestyle press



Vauxhall



Project: Vauxhall Astra

Client: John Deed, manager, Vauxhall Advertising

Brief: Position the Astra as a family car

Agency: Lowe Howard-Spink

Writer: Phil Dearman

Art director: Charles Inge

Director: Tony Kaye

Production company:Tony Kaye Productions

Exposure: National TV



Shell



Project: Shell Smartcards

Client: Amanda Bateman, marketing director

Brief: Highlight the many uses of Shell Smartcards

Agency: Ogilvy and Mather

Writer: John McLaughlin

Art director: Mark Orbine

Photographer: Paul Bevitt

Model-makers: Ron Mueck, Asylum

Exposure: National press



BT



Project: Business communications

Client: Chris Carpenter, communications manager

Brief: Announce the launch of a telecoms advice service for small

businesses

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Tom Jenkins

Art director: Stuart Baker

Director: Nick Lewin

Production company: Cowboy Films

Exposure: National TV



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