Back to school, and it's getting more than a wee bit nippy in the mornings, don't you reckon? But despite the fact that I'm finding it particularly hard to escape the biscuity warmth of my bed these days, this is a happy time of year for me. I'm skipping along with a smile on my face and nipples like a Helmut Newton model. I tell you this only so that you know I have approached this Private View with an uncharacteristic sense of unbridled optimism.
What a waste of a good mood that was.
I'm told that hundreds of thousands of perfectly sane people went online to come up with the ending to that BT (6) campaign featuring the grey-faced gormless bloke from My Family (surely the unfunniest sitcom since Children's Hospital). Really? That many people gave a shit? Crikey. Don't get me wrong, you have to admire the determined longevity of the campaign. The effort required to constantly come up with those increasingly tortuous and telephony-centric slice-of-life ad scenarios is nothing short of awe- inspiring.
But it's never felt like the most participatory of campaigns to me. Too bland and awkward, nothing to fire the public's collective imaginations enough to get them to join in. Maybe that's why it came to a close with the piteous whimper of a MILF up the duff, rather than a proper big-bang ending where she beats him to death with her home-hub after reading the bill for all the money he spunked on a pay-per-view porn site.
Speaking of the public giving a shit. The new Strongbow (3) Most Refreshing Pint internet-widget-doohickey. Apparently, the "virtual pint" (the two bleakest words I've ever typed, those) contains a million "sips", some of which contain hidden prizes. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: it's a prize mechanic wrapped in a pointlessness inside a really-truly-wouldn't-be-arsed-in-a-million-years.
Ah. Nike (2). It does some admirably modern ads, does Nike, in all sorts of modern channels. And the new telly spot for the Air Max (now there's a sub-brand that refuses to die) is directed by a modern music promo director duo from Berlin, it says here. A surprise, then, that the ad is so remarkably stiff and old-fashioned, even a little embarrassing - at the end of the day, it's about as genuinely modern as a fortysomething creative director singing along to Ne-Yo's Beautiful Monster and thinking that he's the fucking boom, G.
Another telly ad for another sports pump. Adidas (4), my sports pump of choice (for purely low-fashion purposes rather than physical endeavour, naturally). It features all sorts of sporty people whom I should imagine are very famous, but I haven't heard of any of them. It's a pretty dull telly ad from what I remember. I think it's for a mobile app or something.
Sky Arts (5) has tried to do a Tate, and turn the public blight of its outdoor (or "OOH", as the crazy Yanks call it) into a kind of pavement street gallery for the masses. A fair conceptual fit, I guess, and a decent attempt at generous marketing. A pity the render feels too slickly staged and overly-commercial to properly deliver the artistic ambition of the conceit.
The new digital piece from Wispa (1) bravely tries to copy the success of the truly excellent Diamond Shreddies campaign from a couple of years back, claiming that the new Duo bar is split into two and that some of the bars have been swapped around, or something equally asinine, and asks consumers who have lost all self-respect and have nothing of value left in their lives to (and I quote): "Go to the Wispa Facebook page to let other Wispa fans know which side of the bar they favour and to find out if others agree."
It's enough to make me want to go back to that lovely warm bed of mine. See you on the other side.
SUIT - James Murphy, founding partner, Adam & Eve
So summer leaves us not with a bang but a long-drawn-out, slightly sodden and chilly whimper. Thankfully, Private View has got some treats to sweeten the September back-to-school angst.
As a standard bearer for connected Britain, it's good to see that BT (6)'s "Adam and Jane" ad soap has captured the public's attention and involvement. No fewer than 1.6 million people have "voted Jane pregnant". And they've been commenting in droves. A quick glance at Campaignlive shows the usual bedsit cynics wading in to slag this campaign off. (I bet if Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO offered any of them a book crit or a placement, they'd be in the door faster than Adam up Jane claiming the BT campaign inspired them to apply to the agency.) Elsewhere, perhaps "mysadlife" was watching the BT ad as they Tweeted: "OMG Jane from the BT ads is pregnant - glad my vote counted."
Truth is, this is a big, popular campaign for a client that wants big, populist work. I bet BT is happy and shouldn't we all be happy for Adam and Jane ... they're having a baby.
It would take a lot to get me off the sofa and running but miCoach from Adidas (4) could just do it. The app looks great and makes something potentially worthy feel gritty and heroic. And thanks to the standard hip hop soundtrack, even Andy Murray looks mean and magnificent.
For me, cider could be described as a high-interest category.
After a blistering start to the summer, there have been few chances recently to hunker down on the grass with a pint of the West Country wonderstuff. So I was looking forward to this virtual pint, care of Strongbow (3), and found myself repeatedly hitting the refresh button to see if I was ever going to win one of the prizes. Sadly, those two tickets to Mamma Mia eluded me. I love the above-the-line campaign for this - Strongbow as the reward for honest, thirsty, working blokes. It isn't carried through with much gusto into this digital piece as you find yourself staring at little more than a fizzing pint. True, the site is compulsive and addictive (because I want to win a prize), but is there enough to convince me that Strongbow is uniquely refreshing?
Wispa Duo occupies another high-interest category for me. And, certainly, previous Wispa (1) campaigns have captured the imagination of fellow chocaholics with huge numbers of fans on Facebook. I am intrigued by the nerdy online video and the woman's performance is fun. But is the dilemma posed enough to get many people involved online? That dilemma is which of the Wispa Duo's two bars to opt for. Can't help feeling that given the choice offered of the "left" or "right", I'm going to go for a messy coalition and perhaps even double dip myself.
After the grand folly of "write the future" during the World Cup, the new Nike (2) Air Max 90 is no anti-climax. "Defy Tradition, Defy Expectations, Defy Prejudice - I am the rules ..." Quite how Nike has defied my expectations with assorted sports and music stars striking moody poses to hip hop escapes me. Great pictures and music, though, and the product looks nice - so, for the adolescent audience, I'm sure that's job done.
"More arts than any other channel," the slogan for Sky Arts (5) says. Perhaps this should read more tits and arts than any other channel - two of these posters are traffic stoppers in the "hello boys" tradition. Still, it's all art, and Sky has strong form doing big, bold graphic posters to hero their content. As autumn rolls in, one of these on a rainy roundabout or dank Tube platform might just make the world feel a bit brighter and more cultured for an instant.
A final thought: if BT wants another vote, can we have one on whether Adam is punching above his weight with Jane?
Project: Wispa Duo
Client: Ross Farquhar, Cadbury
Brief: Launch Wispa Duo, a bar of two halves
Writer: Kyla Elliot
Art director: Ben Beazley
Director: Stephen Pipe
Production company: Another Film Company
Exposure: National TV
Project: I am the rules
Client: Jack Gold, manager, customer communications, Nike
Brief: Launch the new Air Max 90, exclusively available at Foot Locker
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writers/art directors: Darren Wright, Frank Ginger, Karen Jane
Director: Will Bex
Production company: Factory Films
Exposure: National TV
Project: The most refreshing pint
Client: Lucy Henderson, brand manager, Heineken UK
Brief: Dramatise Strongbow's refreshing qualities
Agency: Lean Mean Fighting Machine
Writer: Dom Moira
Art director: Kieron Roe
Designer: Mark Beacock
Client: Ryan Morlan, Adidas International
Brief: Introduce the miCoach training app that works across multiple
sports and promises to personally coach you to a faster you
Agency: 180 Amsterdam
Writers/art directors: Tim Snape, Rob Carducci, Mark Schruntek, Alon
Director: Joseph Kahn
Production company: HSI
Exposure: Global TV, online
5. SKY ARTS
Project: The Sky Arts Street Galleries, in association with Rankin
Clients: Georgina Seddon, marketing controller; Jonathan Carter,
marketing executive, Sky Arts
Agency: Sky Creative Agency
Art director: Daniel Lambert
Project: Stunned silence
Clients: Brooke Molinari, head of voice retention; Reshan Fernando,
senior marketing manager, retention, BT
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Mary Weir
Art director: Phil Martin
Director: Declan Lowney
Production company: HSI