Feature

Private view

If you have ever been sober and walked into a room full of people who have taken a vast amount of cocaine, you will be familiar with the scenario played out in the new Schweppes (1) commercial.

It is quite hilarious and very entertaining - you just will not want to stay too long. You would have to deal with the "that's enough about me, what about you? What do you think of me?" type of one-way conversation rife at the sort of creative awards this ad will do the rounds at. It is nothing more than a usage occasion (of Schweppes, that is) with a bit of executional titivation, but I really like it. It works hard. It artfully packs as much product into itself as the entire cast may well have done just before the shoot.

I am told a new Virgin Mobile (2) store opens at Lakeside Essex, below a picture of a Burberry-patterned mobile phone in the press ad for Virgin Mobile. I quite like it. I presume it is a bit of a piss-take, unless you can actually get Burberry phones. If it is a mick take, it is good, but I am not sure the average chav will get the irony.

That is something there is probably a bit of research on: do chavs get irony? Do they get anything other than dressed up, pissed up and E-ed up? I reckon they will just be down at Lakeside the next day looking for the featured phone. Now there is a scenario even scarier than the Schweppes ad. A few thousand confused chavs packed into Lakeside. A bad place to drop an E, I would imagine.

Despite the fact that Miriam Makeba, singing the track in the new First Choice (4) ad, has probably one of the most beautiful and accomplished voices ever to bless the planet, this ad is still dull. Executionally, it is trying to be different. But it is always too late by then - someone needs to think harder earlier. A bit more creativity at the content level, please. People jump about in the sky and a voiceover delivers some tired old ding-dong about legroom. I call it category camouflage. The endline reads: "That's why we're First Choice." Oh, well, is it? Thanks for the track. Next!

Ford Transit (3). Bollox, I have just thrown up on my Mac. Do not ever send me stuff like that again. Next!

Nissan (5). An elaborate envelope I would not bother to open containing an expensive-looking book I would not bother to read. It is so contrived it could only appeal to someone without a soul. I really do not know what to say. I am yawning and, to be honest, I am just typing for the hell of it now, ding dong ding dong didley didley de, just to try to make up the 650 words asked for. The people who make this sort of stuff (and I bet they are forced) must pursue really amazing social lives, fascinating hobbies or overly bizarre sexual capers or something to compensate for the day job.

The extra cold take on just about every pint going has produced a few crackers over the years. Jeremy Carr's beautifully art directed Guinness posters come to mind. Those aside, I like the latest ads for Castlemaine XXXX (6). They are not pure genius and it is as simple as a brief gets. But at least they have stayed simple and made me smile. My goodness, they are from Bartle Bogle Hegarty! What on earth could have happened? Did the agency stop pitching for five minutes? Is Heggs back from New York? It is such a complicated business keeping things simple these days. I bet that genius/ukulele-playing/sculptor/artist/renegade/madman Reddy may have had something to do with it. Well done and thank you.

CREATIVE - Mark Whelan, creative director, Cake

This has got to be the smuggest thing man can do: to review, as though some kind of authority, some poor sod's creative output without any regard as to how they got there.

So then, no mention of the need sometimes to compromise to survive, legality, international-appeal hell or the final say coming from someone who simply might not "get it". I used to work with the great Dave Waters, who is great not just for his near-orchestral flatulence, but also for his wealth of advertising truisms. I recall him offering this to a dodgy client: "What you're effectively asking me, Brian, is to change the joke to 'so there's this Englishman, an Englishman and an Englishman walk into a pub'." Advertising people have to deal with this. Mind you, I do not care. I am so smug my facial skin hurts.

So imagine me then, smugly pulling up in my air-conditioned Audi outside my air-conditioned Notting Hill three-story terrace. I step out to reveal an immaculately (smug) limited-edition Prada loafer and trot up the steps to be greeted by my ex-model wife, who now campaigns tirelessly for organic nursery food. My talented-but-kind-and-modest-with-it blonde twins zip past on skateboards and shout: "Love you, dad." God, life is good.

Now, let's get this package of ads up to the roof-terrace study and cause some bloodshed.

Damn, smug smile dissolves to grimace; this ad for Ford Transit (3) is actually pretty good. The gag is people love their vans so much they will not leave them, even if window-cleaning a skyscraper. The soundtrack is brilliant. Phew, smug again - there is some ridiculous corporate jingle/jangle stuck on the end (client says: "I want every goddam Ford commercial to have a goddam toon on the end. It works for those bastards at Intel").

Slip next disc into my wristwatch DVD player. Goddam again. Quirky little ad for Schweppes (1) where everyone has super hero-speed bartender skills. And another brilliant soundtrack, for Christ's sake. Wait, I am smugging it up slightly - this is similar to the Bertolli ad where the Italian villagers all have super hero-style cooking skills. Not that any punters will make that connection, but as long as I know, that is enough. Because I am a smug twat.

Ha ha. What do you call this, you amateurs? A First Choice (4) ad that is all blue skies, peace and calmness. That will stand out of the holiday ad clutter like a sore thumb. Hold on, what am I saying?

Sip of Chianti (we have shares in the vineyard we got married in. Barefoot). Print ads for extra-cold Castlemaine XXXX (6) featuring Australian animals wearing warm clothes. I love the spider wearing gloves one. I am really not having a good time here.

Some box of direct marketing for Nissan (5). I must not show this to Natalia (Mrs Smug) - a lot of trees died for this. Some letter with it (client: "You must insert the word 'passion' three to four more times"). Feeling much better now.

At last! A triumph of smuggery. A Virgin Mobile (2) ad for its Essex store that has, you guessed it, a Burberry mobile. It is an old gag, in advertising and in the real world. Goldie Lookin' Chain's Vauxhall Chavalier was the last word. A gleeful spin in my Corbusier chair - it is rubbish! Tear my clothes off in ecstasy. A sideways glance into my Graham & Greene mirror tells me that it is back, sack and crack time again.

Some time later: "Not now, Natalia - I'm doing Bikram in the steam room."

PS. Dear Campaign. Why doesn't brand entertainment stuff get into Private View? Ironic that the TV Times will review Orange Playlist and you do not, no? Come on, you will lose the smug vote.

1. SCHWEPPES
Project: You know how
Client: Fiona Hope, marketing manager, Coca-Cola GB
Brief: Gain reappraisal of the Schweppes brand as the definitive quality
mixer
Agency: Mother
Writer: Mother
Art director: Mother
Director: Stylewar
Production company: Stink
Exposure: National TV, cinema

2. VIRGIN MOBILE
Project: Lakeside
Client: Mike Garvey, advertising manager, Virgin Mobile
Brief: Announce the opening of the Virgin Mobile store at Lakeside,
Essex
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Michael Crowe
Art director: Robert Messeter
Typographer: James Townsend
Retouching: TAG, RKCR/Y&R
Exposure: Regional press, posters

3. FORD TRANSIT
Project: Transit
Clients: Mark Simpson, marketing communications director, Ford Europe;
Mark Ovenden, marketing director, Ford GB
Brief: Transit makes your working day better
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Writers: Jim Ritchie, Neil Elliot
Art directors: Mark Hendy, Chris Hart
Directors: Ben and Joe Dempsey
Production company: Knucklehead
Exposure: National TV

4. FIRST CHOICE
Project: Jump
Client: Andy Laurillard, marketing director, First Choice
Brief: Communicate First Choice's superior amount of legroom on
long-haul flights
Agency: Beattie McGuinness Bungay
Writer: Pat Burns
Art directors: Gavin McGrath, Bil Bungay
Director: Joe Roman
Production company: Knucklehead
Exposure: National TV, cinema

5. NISSAN
Project: 350Z and Murano test drive
Client: Oliver Spalding, assistant manager, CRM and online, Nissan
Motors (GB)
Brief: Support sales of Murano and promote the minor change to the 2006
model 350Z
Agency: Tullo Marshall Warren
Writer: Tom Harman
Art director: George Bell
Designers: Rosy Norman, Barry Redford, Murray Stevens
Exposure: Direct mail to 35,000 prospects

6. CASTLEMAINE XXXX
Project: Wrapped-up animals
Client: Jon Sampson, marketing director, InBev
Brief: Increase awareness of Castlemaine XXXX Extra Cold
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers: Paul Yull, Adrian Birkinshaw
Art directors: Paul Yull, Adrian Birkinshaw
Exposure: National outdoor