1. HSBC’s global advertising pitch
Given JWT London’s honourable history on HSBC, the bank’s decision to split its global account between Grey London, Saatchi & Saatchi and JWT looked a surprising and unnecessary one. However, in an embarrassing volte-face just weeks later, HSBC shifted the retail business out of Grey and back to JWT, citing "capacity issues" at the former. Grey misguidedly then went into PR overdrive claiming this was incorrect. The result was that neither emerged from the mess covered in much glory.
2. Government Procurement Service process
It would be easier to list the things that went right rather than those that went wrong with the muddled Government Procurement Service’s first pitches. The initial ad pitch was accused of putting too much weight on cost over creative excellence and resulted in agencies with a rich history with COI being dropped. The strategy and planning roster produced a price-led race to the bottom and could be used as a case study into why e-auctions are a bad way to buy creative services. But we are confident that the new GPS boss, Alex Aiken, will improve the media buying contract.
3. Hyundai ‘pipe job’ suicide ad
When Hyundai got it wrong, it got it very wrong indeed. Even worse was the stilted reaction to the justified public outrage that the film, released on Facebook and Twitter, generated. How on earth anyone thought it would be clever – let alone funny – to show a man failing in an attempted suicide because of the car’s "100 per cent water emissions" still defies belief. It was the blogger and copywriter Holly Brockwell who most powerfully put the car manufacturer to shame. We hope that her words struck home with its in-house agency, Innocean Europe.
4. The Government’s ‘go home’ ad van
Even if 11 migrants left the country after seeing the Home Office’s ill-judged ad vans, rather than just the one who read about it in The Guardian, they have never been a sophisticated form of communication. The public sector has a long history of communicating effectively and, hopefully, next time the Government will actually take a moment to think about how to reach those people, rather than appearing to target fearful and wavering Tory voters through the editorial pages of the Daily Mail.
5. Guinness ‘Jonathan Ross’ by Carat
When Stephen O’Kelly, the marketing director for Guinness Western Europe, described the partnership between ITV and Guinness that saw the Diageo brand take over ad breaks to run a piece of editorially related content as "extraordinary", he wasn’t lying. It really was that bad. The ads, which saw Ross interview an Oxford professor and Danny Wallace explain the importance of male bonding in the breaks in Ross’ show, were like watching 30 years of rich brand history disappear before your very eyes.
6. Clients demanding that agencies pay to be on their rosters
When Starcom MediaVest Group resigned the £20 million Premier Foods account in September after the food giant demanded that its agency suppliers pay to be on its roster, a small cheer went up. Could this mean that agencies would stand united against such unreasonable client demands? Well, maybe. But the fact that GlaxoSmithKline has pulled an even bigger trick suggests that this particular battle is not over yet.
7. The Reverend Paul Flowers
Memories are still relatively fresh of The Co-operative Group being hailed as a beacon of hope in a corrupt, capitalist world. That was until the antics of the Reverend Paul Flowers, the former Co-operative Bank chairman, were exposed. The ketamine-loving cleric showed up serious flaws at the organisation that could easily damage the rest of the group. Sadly, it seemed to show that The Co-operative Group was just as bad as the rest.
8. The London Evening Standard naming Prince George the most influential Londoner
Lists can be subjective affairs (as we are painfully aware), but it was nonetheless dismaying to see Prince George named the Most Influential Londoner by the London Evening Standard. While some of adland’s greatest – such as James Murphy and David Kershaw – also made the list, to put a two-month-old, barely sentient baby at the top for simply being born into a privileged family is hardly the forward-thinking image of London that we would like to see promoted to the world.
9. Barclays Premier League ad featuring a paedophile
For the launch of the Premier League, Bartle Bogle Hegarty created a moving ad for Barclays to celebrate the love real fans have for their teams. Unfortunately, one extra (not in picture, see gallery) had been convicted for possessing images of child abuse. Not only that, someone told The Sun. The offending scene was swiftly edited out but not before lots of red faces in Kingly Street.
We suspect we all knew that cheap meat meant cutting corners in the supply chain, but did there also have to be a casual disregard for selling customers the animal on the label? The scandal that engulfed supermarkets, notably Tesco, did little to build trust in a year when it was just another scandal in a long list.