I'm busy, you're busy, so let's get on with this.
First up, we have a More Th>n (3) Freeman Pet Insurance ad. It's another great spot in a lovely campaign. Funny, arresting and different. The film is beautifully directed by Si & Ad and makes it oh so easy for me to digest the product info. Well done to all concerned.
Honda (4) Jazz is next. It's easy to trot out the old, mean-spirited "not the best in a great campaign" line, so I won't. It's brave, different and a cut above the average car ad. The animation is striking and the various points on life's journey are well observed. I do have one tiny, little quibble - couldn't they have made it easier to read the word Jazz at the end?
Bartle Bogle Hegarty has thrown the kitchen sink at its new Lynx (6) spot. It's bold, brave and has a great soundtrack. I'm afraid I found the denouement rather ponderous and overly serious. The best of this brand's efforts have a lightness of touch and a playfulness that seems missing here. For the record, DG loves it and thinks I couldn't be more wrong.
I really like the French Connection (1) campaign. The For Man/For Woman construct with the distinctive tone of voice has rescued the brand from its relentless spiral into naffness. These new executions feel a little more lo-fi than the launch stuff. They're fun but I miss a bit of the gloss. Surely two creative producers on the job could have helped with this?
Bill Bailey has put his face to FACE (2) - Farming and Countryside Education. The film is charming and it's a real coup to get Mr Bailey, but I wish it told me more. I'd have liked to have found out about FACE and why Bill decided to get involved. I'm left none the wiser and not really motivated to visit the site.
Finally, a piece of experiential for Quit UK (5). It's an insert to be placed in second-hand books. It's placed in the book before the final chapter and reads: "The end. If you smoke, statistically your story will end 15 per cent before it should. For help with quitting call the Quitline etc etc." My blurb tells me: "The campaign features doctored inserts that have been placed into a number of books in second-hand bookshops, Quit UK's charity shops, coffee shops, community centres, book-vending machines and book clubs." It's a nice idea but will it actually reach the people it needs to? I'm not sure of the correlation between smoking and second-hand book consumption. Hopefully it's massive.
Thanks, y'all. Over and out.
CHAIRMAN - Phil Georgiadis, chairman, Walker Media
Bill Bailey is an icon within our family. I had to stand outside the stage door of his show last year while my 18-year-old daughter and her friend handed him a cake they had baked (with his face iced on the top). Black Books was the first thing my wife downloaded on to her iPad. So I really wanted to appreciate his foray into commercials for FACE (2). For the first time, he disappointed. Assuming the media and marketing community know where to find the film (thanks to Campaign, a fair few do now), I am no clearer about what my contribution might be. I didn't need two minutes on the problem. It's not a difficult issue to understand. I also thought that Facebook would have been the best place to host the campaign. I would have asked the kids their view but, apparently, they are not the target audience. If you want people to get involved, then make it easy for them to do so and give them some idea of what you want them to do. Stay in London, Bill.
The family like the basset hound, though, and I like the new campaign from More Th>n (3). Strong branding and relevant engagement for a low-interest category. I know a lot of people say they hate the pun but it works for me. That said, the balance between the surreal and the real needs to be watched and time will tell if they can keep off the lure of promotional activity and whether they can keep the price-comparison sites in check. Hard to like an insurance company but I think they are doing the right thing.
I am too old to have been persuaded by the Lynx (6) effect and my son is still only eight. More of a Henry Cooper man, me. However, if I had grown up with this campaign, I am sure that I would be an advocate of the brand. This spot is beautifully shot and a rare example of global creativity that works. I think 90 seconds is a little self-indulgent and I wonder if the new variant is sufficiently prominent, but let's not quibble. And isn't it refreshing that there is no need for interactivity beyond sitting back and enjoying the film?
I wondered where Honda (4) had been for the past few years. Is it just me or has it been quieter? I was beginning to think that its mould-breaking work hadn't actually sold enough cars. Life can be unpredictable but having children is not the most surprising thing that happens as you grow up. If the ad had featured its range, then it would have made more sense to me and a look at the website didn't make me feel better about the proposition. The iPhone app might be bleeding-edge technology but it left me cold. This feels like a strategy for a bank, not a car.
Great ambient ideas and guerilla tactics are no longer the vogue outside the digital sphere so this campaign from Quit UK (5) reminded me of the sort of stunt we were all trying to pull off a decade ago. A neat idea. I suspect the number of people that actually interact with it will be tiny and I wonder why it was limited to second-hand books but, nevertheless, it is clever and has the potential to create some buzz.
More interactive and relevant than 90 per cent of the branded apps on the market. I wondered if the idea had lots of other applications and whether Quit could persuade other organisations to partner them for the health of our nation. Pop it into a Kindle book and it'll win awards!
French Connection (1) obviously thinks people want to get really involved with its marketing. I just don't get it. "He is old bloke,"
I hear you say. So I asked the young men and women of Walker Media and while no-one knew that there were viral videos to look at, there was general approval of the print work, specifically among women. If you want a viral effect, then learn from the States and from Volkswagen. When I looked this morning, its Darth Vader spot on You Tube had more than 23 million views.
1. FRENCH CONNECTION
Project: Spring/summer 2011
Client: William Woodhams, director of marketing and PR, French
Brief: Launch the spring/summer 2011 advertising campaign
Writer: Toby Moore
Art director: Selena McKenzie
Exposure: Online, print
Project: Bill's farm
Client: Bill Graham OBE, executive director, FACE
Brief: Raise awareness of the charity in the media and marketing
community and encourage more brand partners to join its network of
schools, farms, industry bodies and government departments
Writer/art director: Grey London
Designer: Grey London
Exposure: Viral, online, DM
3. MORE TH>N
Project: "Alfie" pet insurance
Client: Pete Markey, marketing director, More Th>n
Brief: Re-energise a brand by injecting warmth, humanity and intelligent
Agency: Stephens Francis Whitson
Writers/art directors: Fred Rodwell, Andrew Parsons
Directors: Si & Ad
Production company: Academy
Exposure: TV, radio, DM, online
Project: This unpredictable life
Clients: Ian Armstrong, head of European communications; Ellie Tory,
European communications manager, Honda
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer: Sam Heath
Art director: Chris Groom
Directors: Smith & Foulkes
Production company: Nexus Productions
5. QUIT UK
Project: The end
Client: Glyn McIntosh, head of communications, Quit UK
Brief: Create a campaign to prevent the lapse of New Year resolutions
Writers/art directors: Nick Clemment, Simon Mannion, Ant Melder, Silvia
Retouching: Iris Exposure: Print, press
Project: Even angels will fall
Client: Tomas Marcenaro, global brand director, Lynx
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Hugo Bierschen, Dean Woodhouse
Director: Rupert Sanders
Production company: MJZ