Stop frame. Number one pursuit of the anally retentive, and the plain mental. A friend of mine at Wieden & Kennedy goes hard at it all weekend in his bedroom (stop frame, not fucking, you understand). He's a planner. Nuff said. Anyway, point being, nowadays if you have a standard digital camera and a mind for numbing, you can have your film shot and out there in a jiffy. So there's a lot of it about. Some of it is brilliant. This BBC Electric Proms (4) animation is nice enough, but considering what can be done with a D5 now, I wouldn't call it pushing the boundaries.
The Freeview (5) ad's the same. Nice enough. No disaster by any means. But I'm struggling to see what the engaging creative idea is and it lacks a little finesse executionally. The talking teapot is just a teapot with a mouth on it. I guess that's so it can splutter out a little more of the brief.
Terry's Chocolate Orange (2) is sweet. Lots of well-cast people giving the orange a bash to release those segments.
Thoroughly watchable. My one quibble would be why isn't there a killer product shot in there to get the tastebuds going? I'm hooked into the idea but not necessarily the chocolate.
I've been a big fan of the Marks & Spencer (3) work for a while now, but the latest effort leaves me a little cold. It tries to be charming, witty and stylish but it's ended up being a bit of a hotch potch. Why is Peter Kay in this film? And why are they still all dancing around? It feels like a cross between Gap and John Smith's. Fashion moves on and maybe it's time for M&S to do the same. Shame because I loved it. But I loved my Diadora Gold Borg Elites and I still threw them away, eventually.
The O2 (6) work always gets me going. Lovely to watch. A big, simple, epic feel. And a brilliant offer. First dibs on entertainment at their big house in East London. That said, I'm not sure this one has quite the impact of some of the others. They've done that walk thing quite a lot now. And this one doesn't feel as authentic as the others. Still, job done enough for my missus to nag me for tickets. I refused on the grounds that she blatantly fancies Dave Grohl and when I asked (rhetorically) what he had that I didn't, she spent two Sky plussed episodes of Xtra Factor telling me.
Best till last and all that. I was totally suckered in by this St John Ambulance (1) cinema piece when I received it last week. A banal popcorn ad that halfway through becomes a harrowing account of a young child choking. And then a nice bit of theatre where someone from the audience goes behind the screen to help save her life. Yes, yes, British Airways, blah blah. Who cares? Not this king of the rip-offs. The whole thing had me gripped, which I guess has a lot to do with the stark, honest direction. Frankly, I would have liked it just as much if they had resolved it without the live theatre bit. But good on them for going the extra mile because that is the bit that caused the buzz that got it to me in the first place, and will hopefully get thousands more watching as well as those in the audience.
CHAIRMAN - Cilla Snowball, group chairman, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Some varied and very nice work in the Private View collection this week.
First up, a campaign to promote the BBC Electric Proms (4). The TV trail is a collage of iconic pop memorabilia forming the faces of the headline artists - Elton John, Robert Plant and Neil Diamond. It's a clever treatment technically; the effects, the animation and the online memorabilia are great. But it isn't very engaging emotionally, which is a pity, because the product absolutely is. By coincidence, I was lucky enough to experience it first hand at the Roundhouse, watching Diamond belting it out live. It was indeed electric. But I'm afraid this TV treatment isn't.
Plenty of uplift in the Marks & Spencer (3) Christmas film though, staying with 70s music and the vintage Bee Gees track You Should Be Dancing. A big track, a big budget and a bevy of big names showcase the M&S clothing range in a big production, big dance number. It's a classic feelgood M&S Christmas ad and it will work. I especially like the longer, more original and stylised sequences with Twiggy/Peter Kay and the lingerie Single Ladies tribute. But in spite of all the big names, for me it's the kids and Santas who steal the show at the end of the film which is, after all, what Christmas is about.
Another Christmas tradition, Terry's Chocolate Orange (2) bounces back on telly after what seems like a long break, with a classic demo of the unique ritual of opening a Terry's Chocolate Orange.
The endline "Smash it to pieces. Love it to bits" is spot-on and perfectly sums up the product truth and ritual, which the ad executes faithfully and beautifully. I couldn't find a digital treatment, which is odd, but no doubt it will find its own way into many a YouTube demo before too long, as the idea is crying out for it, it's fun and this brand is loved.
Freeview (5) promotes its digital TV recorder Freeview + in a new campaign from the wonderfully named new agency 18 Feet & Rising. The TV ad is a good, clear walk through the features and benefits, absolutely all of them in the 60-second version, which goes on a bit as a result. But a charming way to emphasise the simplicity and accessibility of the technology and there's some lovely attention to detail in the treatment. I wonder how many hours of debate took place to get the "free forever" claim through?
The latest O2 (6) film for Priority booking announces Foo Fighters' Milton Keynes gigs. We watch Dave Grohl warming up with his bearded band in his garage, the door remote acting as a metaphor for curtain up on stage. The offer is good, the strategy behind it is good and there's a demonstrable customer benefit. The ad captures the anticipation of and before a live gig, packages it up exclusively for O2 customers and integrates it effortlessly. Very cool all round.
Back to earth with a bump and Bartle Bogle Hegarty's interactive cinema ad for St John Ambulance (1). When its press work first appeared, I wished we'd done it - an enormously powerful case for first aid and the rightful winner of a stack of awards. This one is headed the same way. A child is choking on popcorn in an ad. The mum freaks out, the dad is frozen with fear and the siblings are screaming. As the choking child goes limp and it all looks hopeless, an actress gets up from the audience, steps on stage and runs to the rescue right into the film to administer the correct first aid (an almighty slap on the back) and then returns to her cinema seat. It's a powerful demonstration of parental first aid incompetence, an utterly compelling call to action to get first aid training and a beautifully executed integrated and interactive idea.
Bravo and sign me up for that first aid guide.
1. ST JOHN AMBULANCE
Project: The difference
Client: Scott Jacobson, director of marketing communications and
fundraising, St John Ambulance
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi
Director: Jeff Labbe
Production company: Sonny London
Exposure: UK cinema, 29 October only.
2. TERRY'S CHOCOLATE ORANGE
Project: Smash it to pieces. Love it to bits
Clients: Sarah Stuart, senior brand manager; Chris Marshall, brand
Agency: DDB UK
Writers/art directors: Chris Lapham, Aaron McGurk
Director: James Rouse
Production company: Outsider
3. MARKS & SPENCER
Client: Marks & Spencer
Brief: Demonstrate that M&S is the place to make your Christmas perfect
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers/art directors: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Director: Vaughan Arnell
Production company: Serious Pictures
Exposure: National TV
4. BBC ELECTRIC PROMS
Project: BBC Radio 2's Electric Proms
Client: Claire Jullien, head of marketing, Radio 2
Brief: The gig of their life
Writer: Tony Miller
Art director: Gary Anderson
Directors: Jonathan Notaro, Mario Stipinovich
Production company: Brand New School London
Project: Living rooms
Client: Sue Leach, marketing director, Freeview
Brief: A product demonstration campaign that explains what the Freeview
Agency: 18 Feet & Rising
Writers/art directors: Matt Keon, Max Weiland
Director: Scott Vincent
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: National press, TV, online, radio
Project: O2 Priority, Foo Fighters'walk
Client: Jasmine Skee, music sponsorship, O2
Brief: Communicate the availability of priority tickets to O2 customers
for Foo Fighters' Milton Keynes shows
Writers: Dave Grohl, Veryan Prigg, Kieran Knight
Art directors: Kieran Knight, Veryan Prigg
Director: Jesse Peretz
Production company: RSA
Exposure: TV, online, in venue, online pre-rolls