Private view

By now, most of you will have read John Lanchester’s darkly comic first novel, The Debt to Pleasure. So, you’ll forgive me if I refer you back to page 96 where Lanchester’s marvellously malevolent narrator lays out his basic laws of structure. ‘The law is: main ingredient (gin), subordinate ingredient (vermouth) and grace note (lemon twist, olive). This is the law of proportion and rhythm that underlies all of the plastic arts, from cocktail-making and cooking to architecture, sculpture, pottery and dressmaking.’ To these arts and crafts I would add advertising. The best ads, if you think about it, are made up of a ‘main message’ and what Hollywood would call a ‘back story’, plus that certain something, the music, casting, cinematography or whatever that lifts it out of the commercial break and into our memory. Thus yer classic Levi’s ad will lead with its enduring style and quality message folded into a boy-meets-girl story with grace notes of ‘what’s that track?’ or ‘isn’t that Brad Pitt?’ etc.

By now, most of you will have read John Lanchester’s darkly comic first

novel, The Debt to Pleasure. So, you’ll forgive me if I refer you back

to page 96 where Lanchester’s marvellously malevolent narrator lays out

his basic laws of structure. ‘The law is: main ingredient (gin),

subordinate ingredient (vermouth) and grace note (lemon twist, olive).

This is the law of proportion and rhythm that underlies all of the

plastic arts, from cocktail-making and cooking to architecture,

sculpture, pottery and dressmaking.’ To these arts and crafts I would

add advertising. The best ads, if you think about it, are made up of a

‘main message’ and what Hollywood would call a ‘back story’, plus that

certain something, the music, casting, cinematography or whatever that

lifts it out of the commercial break and into our memory. Thus yer

classic Levi’s ad will lead with its enduring style and quality message

folded into a boy-meets-girl story with grace notes of ‘what’s that

track?’ or ‘isn’t that Brad Pitt?’ etc.



That said, Volvo’s latest commercial comes to us untroubled by these

considerations. A chrome bullet hurtles across a surreal landscape; is

it the new BMW 5 series, is it the aluminium Audi A8? No, it’s the new

Volvo S40. It’s loud, fast and flashy and, to be fair, this film

contains some stunning shots and cunning post-production wizardry. But,

you miss the grace note that perhaps a Tony Kaye might have provided.

Smart, shiney but where’s the weeping Rabbi, eh?



Vodafone couldn’t get Mulder and Scully but they went ahead anyway with

this lavish X-Files parody. Little Kylie MacLachlan (remember Twin

Peaks?) is the buttoned-down agent tracking down the paranormal.

Inevitably his searches lead him into comic misunderstandings with

various users of the Vodafone network. I suspect this client was

impressed with the same agency’s excellent Barclaycard work and ordered

the same formula. Unfortunately, someone then over-ordered on product

fax ’n’ info and this dialogue dies in the actors’ mouths. Throw one

ball and the consumer might just catch it, throw five...



Mr Men were the late Roger Hargreaves’ get-out from the slime pit of

greed, posturing plagiarism and shabby compromise we know as the modern

game of advertising. Ironic, then, to see his charming creations back on

the game on behalf of Talkland. The simplification they bring to these

guileless ads should be an object lesson to Vodafone. Shame no-one

explained this simplification thing to the art director. Show one logo

and the consumer might just read it, show five...



It’s difficult for straightforward, above-the-line Virgin advertising to

compete with the sort of news-heat Richard Branson himself can engender,

sometimes you just have to go with the lava-flow. Which is sensibly what

these new Virgin Cola posters do, featuring the Pamster and her

eponymous bottle. It’s a shame it couldn’t afford an original picture of

Her Pamminess but as I said, any port in a storm. Nice to read a bit of

copy on a poster too. Come on you writers.



Le Shuttle has scuttled back to our screens after the mutant animated

seafood lunch fiasco. Perhaps wisely it’s sticking to the tried and

trusted this time. The old 2001 theme is dusted off for another Nasa

moon-shot pastiche. This one is well shot and well cast. ‘One small

step,’ as they say.



Bunuel gave us the ‘buzzy-thing-in-a-box’ in Belle du Jour. Bertolucci

gave us the ‘butter-scene’ in Last Tango in Paris. Now Trev ’n’ Al bring

you the ‘tissue-issue’, the seminal shot censored from their new Apple

Tango porno-perv production. Television viewers will see only a

castrated version of this dark exploration of fetishism and

dysfunctional sex. Only selected art-house cinemas will be permitted to

include the poignant scene where the sicko thoughtfully adds an

anticlimactic box of man-size tissues to his er...pre-match

preparations. In that one scene, he is humanised. In that small detail

we are at one with the deviant diaspora. And on that grace note, I take

my leave.



Volvo



Project: S40

Client: Craig Fabian, communications manager

Brief: Launch the new S40, positioning it as an exciting and stylish car

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Richard Foster

Art director: John Horton

Director: Gerard de Thame

Production company: Gerard de Thame Films

Exposure: National and European TV



Talkland



Project: Branding

Client: Tim Harrabin, marketing director

Brief: Raise awareness of Talkland as the company that will help people

to understand the mobile phone market

Agency: Da Costa and Co

Writer: Nick Da Costa

Art director: Vince Kitson

Artist: Adam Hargreaves

Typographer: Louis Welch

Exposure: National press and posters



Le Shuttle



Project: Le Shuttle

Client: Deborah Merrens, marketing manager

Brief: Relaunch Le Shuttle

Agency: BST-BDDP

Writer: Tom Hudson

Art director: Martin Galton

Director: Jake Scott

Production company:

RSA Films

Exposure: National TV



Virgin



Project: Virgin Cola ‘Pammy’ bottle

Client: James Kydd, marketing director

Brief: Launch the limited edition glass ‘Pammy’ bottle

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe

Writer: Richard Beesening

Art director: Andy Blood

Typographer: Andy Dymock

Exposure: National posters



Britvic



Project: Apple Tango

Client: David Atter, marketing manager, Tango

Brief: Extend the Apple seduction campaign

Agency: Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury

Writer: Al Young

Art director: Trevor Robinson

Director: Trevor Robinson

Production company: Jane Fuller Associates

Exposure: National cinema and TV



Vodafone Group



Project: The Vodafone network

Client: Terry Barwick, director of corporate affairs

Brief: Produce a long-term branding campaign, emphasising the additional

benefits of using Vodafone

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Dean Webb

Art director: Stuart Buckley

Director: Ian MacKenzie

Production company: Union Commercials

Exposure: National TV