I recently got roped into being on the panel for the ‘100 best ads’
event that our agency organised. So, I’m sat there with Cox and Beattie
to my right, Cracknell and O’Shea to my left. It was like I was Leonard
Zelig matted into footage of famous people. Given as how I’ve only been
doing the job for five minutes, I was really interested in what they
thought were the ingredients for great advertising. And the most popular
ad among the panel? The Guardian’s ‘points of view’ commercial.
I was thinking about the Guardian ad, while I was looking at the new
Sony PlayStation work. Quickly cut shots of kids, presumably affected by
PlayStation, are intercut with shots of the games. Yes, I know I’m not
the target market and I know kids can consume lots of images quickly,
but surely they’d appreciate advertising with a better idea in it.
It seems that more and more creatives are so interested in the form of
commercials nowadays, they often forget about the content. ‘We’re going
to cross-process the film so the colour looks weird.’ But what’s the
idea? Trottie used to tell us that a technique is not an idea, it’s an
execution. So back to the Guardian ad. Just a few actors. A bit of
black-and-white film. No cross-processing. No funny lens. I didn’t see
any tin foil. Just a great idea.
Levi’s got five ads in the ‘100 best ads’. The new press work uses ‘the
original wearers’. It looks very similar to a current campaign for Nike.
This can happen. And I should know. The Levi’s press brief must be the
toughest to work on in the agency, so much terrific work has been done
before. But this new work doesn’t quite do it for me.
Perhaps it needed to be printed on tin foil?
Trying to shoot real life isn’t easy. Unless you shoot real life. The
‘witty people in a bar’ campaign for Miller attempts to do this. I’m
afraid I’ve only got one word to say to anyone attempting to do ‘witty
people in a bar’. Cheers.
I’ve seen Mark Powell walk past the Dog and Duck a thousand times. He
looks like an East End Mafia type. He is in fact, a top tailor. The
commercial features Mark being admired by a beautiful girl as he walks
down the street. It ends with her bumping, comedy fashion, into a lamp
post because she can’t take her eyes off Mark’s top tailoring. The
commercial was probably made for less than the price of Mark’s suit, so
well done to the creative team for making it happen, but I can’t think
who (Mark Denton apart) will be putting Mr Powell on their shopping list
after seeing it.
Finally, Kitten Soft. The only campaign that, for me, had something of
an idea in it. A bloke tells you in technical terms how soft the product
is. The hard sell. He asks his assistant if he has anything to add.
Ripple dissolve to the assistant’s thoughts. He’s running around
clutching lovely kittens and loo roll in what could be described as
Kitten Soft heaven. The soft sell.
So there you have it. No entries for the ‘100 best ads’, but in case you
think I’ve been a little harsh, I didn’t have any in there either.
Keith Courtney is the creative director of K Advertising
Miller Brewing Company
Project: Miller Genuine Draft
Client: David Hughes
Brief: Establish Miller Genuine Draft as the beer of urban America
Writer: Simon Bere
Art director: Marc Bennett
Director: Andy Morahan
Production company: Great Guns
Exposure: National TV and cinema
Project: Sony PlayStation
Client: David Patton, marketing manager, software
Brief: Show the powerful experience of PlayStation
Agency: Simons Palmer
Writer: Paul Hodgkinson
Art director: Andy McKay
Production company: Helen Langridge Associates
Levi Strauss UK
Project: Red Tab Denim
Client: Roy Edmondson, marketing director
Brief: Reinforce Levi’s Red Denim’s position as original and authentic
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Victoria Fallon
Art director: Steve Hudson
Photographer: Nick Knight
Exposure: Style press
Project: Dixcel Kitten Soft
Client: John Costigan, marketing director
Brief: Relaunch Dixcel Kitten Soft as a premium toilet tissue
Agency: Bates Dorland
Writer: Jon Canning
Art director: Russell Waldron
Director: Graham Rose
Production company: Rose Hackney Barber
Exposure: National TV
Mark Powell Bespoke Tailoring
Project: Bespoke Suits
Client: Mark Powell,
Brief: Convey the impact of a hand-made suit
Agency: Saatchi and Saatchi
Writer: Jo Tanner
Art director: Viv Walsh
Director: Keith Rogerson
Production company: BFCS
Exposure: London TV and cinema