I think advertising should be like poison gas. It should grip you by the throat, it should bowl you over, it should knock you on your ass (George Lois, Art & Copy).
That said, here we go.
Beatbullying (6). Uploading your picture to photos and videos seems to be all the rage since we were able to "Elf ourselves" a few years back. Things have moved on a bit since. This first piece is interesting because the technology is being used in a very different way tonally. Executionally, it's still a bit clumsy but I applaud the team for being brave. Seeing yourself have the crap being kicked out of you by a bunch of youths while they nick your trainers isn't very pleasant and not for the faint of heart. It makes the point "now you know what it feels like" in a relevant and impactful way.
Cadbury Fingers (4). If you've recovered from your bout of bullying, this next ad is sure to cheer you up. Iconic moments in time, from the climbing of Mount Everest to the landing on the Moon, replayed by Cadbury Fingers. This ad whetted my appetite and left me wanting to see more of these sweet little vignettes. "For the good times" is a simple thought and gets straight to the point.
Plusnet (5). "Good honest broadband from Yorkshire", and why not? Certain places simply lend themselves to certain things. Italian styling, German engineering and now, I guess, high-speed internet access from the land of puddings and pint-sized terriers. To be perfectly honest myself, we could do with a bit more honesty in this category. While everyone else talks about speed and size, honesty is as good a USP for an ISP as any.
Aviva (1). It worries me a bit when a "big bank" needs to tell you that "you are the big picture". In this day and age of action and utility, shouldn't it really just be demonstrating it first hand? Shouldn't what it does for you form the basis for what it ends up saying?
Giant pictures of people from around the world on buildings is pretty cool but I somehow can't seem to shake my cynicism ... this could be because I'm perennially paranoid, or maybe it's just the way it's phrased that makes it seem so disingenuous. The online film is another example of giving users the ability to upload an image to appear in a film clip and is shot beautifully. The charitable bit (£1 to Save the Children for the first 250,000 image uploads) is fantastic. I just feel that when you're dealing with real people, you should speak to them like real people.
Volkswagen (3). "See film differently" is VW's latest show of support for independent cinema. You can revisit the locations of famous films such as the fire hall from Ghostbusters and the salt beef slinging deli from When Harry Met Sally complete with climaxing customers. I like these and find them quite charming and well written. What I can't seem to see is any link, orgasmic or automotive, to the brand paying for this stuff. I'm seeing this bit of film so differently that I reckon I better get to Specsavers ...
Specsavers (2). What started out as an endline that was referred to more often in punchlines has turned into a delightful series of ads that bring back all our favourite characters from yesteryear. In this latest effort, Mr Happy isn't happy as he broke his glasses and hasn't got a spare set. As you guessed it, he didn't get them from our nation's favourite spectacle shop. As he makes his way through town, Mr Messy gets a bin full of rubbish accidentally poured over him while Mr Tickle gets tied up in a knot. It ends with Mr Bump's bandages being peeled away revealing his "blue bits". It's beautifully directed and executed, and the line "Should have gone to Specsavers" has become as recognisable as the characters in this ad.
So there it is, some light gripping of the throat, a bit of playful bowling over but, other than the Beatbullying film, no real knocking on your ass.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE - Gail Gallie, chief executive, Fallon
Well, week three back in advertising and, on the one hand, not a lot seems to have changed since I was last here 13 years ago. But on the other hand, YouTube, Twitter, happy-slapping - it's a whole new world, but I'm not sure it's very brave.
I literally thought I had gone back in time with the Mr Men parody for Specsavers (2). It's sweet and a nice build on their previous spoofing strategy, but I was a bit disappointed that it remained at just being nice. I would have liked Mr Happy to be a bit more, well, Mr Narky, just to make the point.
Talking of nice, I was disappointed by the Cadbury Fingers (4) work. I was firstly disappointed to learn we don't have that brand at Fallon (different parent company, I'm told) and then disappointed at the actual execution of it. I'm such a fan of everything I've seen lately from Adam & Eve and, though this ad is nicely crafted, I was left feeling it should have been so much more than a celebration of the fact that chocolate fingers are basically nice. A bit bland, not enough edge for me.
Plusnet (5). Back in time again to a bygone age in rural Yorkshire, promoting lovely modern broadband. I like the idea of this: good to cut through the endless price-led campaigns with a bit of Northern common sense. But, again, a bit disappointing in execution. As a Northener, I can confirm there are many genuinely funny things about living there, I'm just not sure Yorkshire terriers and quarries are the ones I'd pull out.
A very unwelcome trip down memory lane, I can hardly watch this one (Volkswagen (3)) - make it stop! So done, so uncomfortable, so gratuitous - such a shame to ruin what was such a decent campaign to date.
Back to the future (phew), at least a futuristic-looking landscape courtesy of Aviva (1). I really like the premise of this campaign, I love the warmth and the inclusivity compared with what you normally get from this category and I think it's a really decent crack at a truly global campaign. I thought the film didn't really add much to the print or the press release. It reminded me of the original launch ads for Orange and just about every mobile phone "look-at-the-sky-in-wonderment" type ad ever since. The best version I found running on YouTube is the one featuring the people themselves talking rather than just gawping.
Beatbullying (6). Finally, a much nastier take on putting real people into your ads. Powerful stuff and a neat use of technology to make the point. I'm worried that this might repel rather than recruit the mentors they are seeking in the brief and, worse, that it is easily appropriated and abused by the types featured, but let's hope not. Full marks for trying.
Project: You are the big picture
Clients: Sally Shire, group brand development director; Luke Mugliston,
head of brand, Aviva
Brief: Raise awareness of Aviva's global scale and stature while
demonstrating its different approach to financial services
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writers: Tony Strong, Paul Knott
Art directors: Michael Durban, Tim Vance, Richard Peretti, Gary Lathwell
Exposure: Outdoor, press, print, online, installations, projections,
Client: Richard Holmes, marketing director, Specsavers
Brief: Promote "biggest-ever free offer"
Agency: Specsavers Creative
Writers: Simon Bougourd, Aaron Scoones
Art directors: Neil Brush, Michael Hutchinson
Director: Darren Walsh
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: TV, online, outdoor, press, point-of-sale
Project: See film differently
Client: Natalie Lamont, communications manager, Volkswagen
Brief: Launch a VW programme aimed at building a self-sustaining
community of film lovers and aficionados
Agency: DDB UK
Writer: Steve Hall
Art director: Daniel Seager
Director: Will Clark
Production company: Rogue
4. CADBURY FINGERS
Project: Cadbury Fingers
Agency: Adam & Eve
Creatives: Ben Tollett, Emer Stamp
Director: Simon Willows
Production company: Blink
Project: Plusnet broadband
Client: Shailini Ghelani, head of consumer, Plusnet
Brief: Launch Plusnet as the plain-speaking and plain-dealing broadband
company from Yorkshire
Creatives: Sam Walker, Joe De Souza, Wayne Hanson, Jez Willy
Director: Steve Bendeleck
Production company: Spank
Exposure: TV, radio, press, outdoor, digital, DM
Project: Unhappy slap
Client: Sherry Adhami, campaign manager, Beatbullying
Brief: Recruit 18- to 25-year-olds to become Senior CyberMentors
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer/art director: Orlando Warner
Director: Emil Moller
Production company: Sonny Productions