Feature

The Work: Private View

CREATIVE - Ben Walker, creative director, Beattie McGuinness Bungay

Warning. Fresh from another pathetic mauling of my own rather wonderful work on these very pages from two know-nothings who clearly don't get the finer intricacies of my art, I enter into this critique with all the spirit of the bitter old has-been I am.

Twiggy's gone all trunky, no? All the better for it etc etc but why is Marks & Spencer (2) trying to hide it by draping flowery sacks round her in the posters? Doesn't that just draw more attention to it? It did when I tried it. Anyway, that's by the by. I'm still a big fan of the general direction of the M&S work but when I reviewed it last time, I wondered whether it could benefit from a new tack what with fashion being an ever-moving thing and all that. In this ad, lots of celebs continue poncing around with smiles that say: "I got paid £80k for this." It's all good clean fun, but it still leaves me wondering the same thing.

If I had shouted for my mother the way some of the lot in the next ad shout for theirs, she would have clumped me one. It would have taken more than a gift from Debenhams (6) to win her back over. This is a charming film though. Nicely done. Nicely positioned. A little humour to lean it gently away from John Lewis. Good idea.

Wrangler (1). Stunt men and women flying through windows or busting into flames whilst wearing said jeans. Bosh. Works for me. How about some live event stuff? What would the catwalk look like? Nice brief. I hope the nicely art directed press is just the start. Pick of quite a decent bunch today I think. Bitterness not getting a chance to reveal itself.

I'm just back from Cheltenham. Mentally I mean. Physically I returned in a heap the Friday before last but since then I've been around in body only. Age taking its toll, I guess. A yearly excursion akin to burning £50 notes and having your kidneys punched repeatedly but somehow believing it's still fantastic value for money and good for the soul. I'm definitely chasing my money now. But looking at these IG Index (4) spread betting press ads, I reckon I can catch it. I like them. They appeal to that part of me that makes me believe I'm just a bit smarter than the average mug punter. Which is just what they want me to believe. And I do. Well done. Fuckers.

The East Midlands Trains (5) ad using Stacey Soloman is a straight product demo, fairly executed and as such deserves to be neither slated or lauded.

A professional job.

And so to the Lynx (3) "Fallen Angel" game thing. Gorgeous girls get me to input bits of data under the thinly disguised promise of sex with them all if I do. So I do. And what I get as a result is a load of stuff which, among other things, pulls in my Facebook profile picture for the girls to play with and a shot of my house, which the angel Kelly Brook lands outside in the denouement. Fourteen-year-old wank material it may be, but it's quite fun 14-year-old wank material to give it its due. But the bit that amused me most is when Brook is holding my Facebook photo to her ample bosom while writhing around on her bed and telling me that I look hot and that she "would". Thing is, my Facebook profile picture is of a sweating 19-stone me absolutely off my head at my 40th birthday bash in the QPR executive box pathetically cuddling the club mascot Jude The Cat in a drunken haze with 11 other suitably inebriated idiots looking on. Well Kelly, if that's your thing, who am I to argue? See ya outside.

MAGAZINE EDITOR - Trish Halpin, editor-in-chief, Marie Claire

Just put the June issue of Marie Claire to bed and the finishing touches to our 2011 Inspire & Mentor campaign, so it's a nice change to scrutinise advertising instead of editorial. Here goes.

Wrangler (1). Grab the fire extinguisher! Call an ambulance! Those were my immediate reactions to this latest execution of Wrangler's "we are animals" campaign, of which I must admit the previous ones have completely passed me by. The photography is arresting, the stuntman concept is certainly original (cowboys wore jeans and cowboys were really tough is the message) and the website that shows the filming from the stuntman's point of view is gripping, but the woman on fire is frankly disturbing and oversteps the mark. They're just clothes, for goodness sake - not that you can actually see them very well.

Marks & Spencer (2). And at the complete opposite end of the scale - fun, frolics and fashion in Miami with those M&S girls next door - Dannii, Twiggy, VV and Lisa (plus the token sexy model who does the lingerie bits to ensure men are paying attention too). I actually stop fast-forwarding my Sky+ during the Corrie commercial breaks when the M&S ads come on because they're just so entertaining and uplifting and everyone talks about them. Deliberate silliness and surprise casting, such as Peter Kay in the Christmas campaign, stops them spilling over into a cheesefest. I've no doubt women across the land will be humming the (annoyingly catchy) Michael Buble track and hot-footing it to their nearest store to buy more brightly coloured kaftans than they could ever possibly need.

IG Index (4). Wow. Hard. Work. This is the sort of ad I scan for a millisecond while waiting for a Tube train and rummaging in my bag for my BlackBerry. But, then again, I'm not exactly IG Index's target audience. Does remind me of the flow chart love quizzes we used to do when I worked on teen magazines back in the day. But with George Osborne as the pin-up. Yikes.

East Midlands Trains (5). Despite having an amazing singing voice, the X Factor finalist Stacey Solomon seems to have parked that particular talent and instead is carving herself a career as the patron saint of dimwits. She's perfectly cast then for this idiot's guide to booking train tickets on the internet. Click on where you want to travel, click on date, click on ticket options. Crikey, who knew this internet malarkey could be so complicated. Not anyone with a computer, surely? And as for the weird blue graphics, now I am confused.

Debenhams (6). That mums are taken for granted is a fact of life, and one this ad illustrates perfectly (all summed up rather brilliantly by the tagline: "Make what's her name feel special this Mother's Day"). If you are a husband/child, this is guaranteed to guilt you into action. However, if you're a mother, the persistent, whining of each character saying "Muuuummm" will make you scream "WHAT?" very loudly at the telly and possibly throw a cushion or two. That said, it pulls on the heartstrings in the vein of John Lewis and I for one would be expecting a very substantial gift come Mother's Day if I knew my husband or children had seen it.

Hats off to the makers of Lynx (3) ads for pushing the bar even higher (or perhaps that should be lower) on their ridiculous objectification of women for the social media launch of their new Excite range. I'd love to be in that particular brainstorming session (with a gas mask on if anyone's wearing the stuff) when some bright spark came up with this idea: angels are falling from the skies but poor old Kelly Brook is stuck in heaven, waiting for The One (ie. wearer of said bodyspray) to free her. Now we all know that the type of men who wear Lynx are about as likely to get within 100 feet of Kelly Brook as they are to have a front row seat at the royal wedding.

But they must keep buying the stuff, so perhaps this Neanderthal approach does the job.

1. Wrangler
Project: Stunt
Client: Adam Kakembo, marketing director, EMEA, Wrangler
Brief: n/s
Agency: Fred & Farid Paris
Writers: Fred & Farid
Art directors: Fred & Farid, Juliette Lavoix, Celine Moeur
Photographer: Cass Bird
Retoucher: By Dahinden
Exposure: Press and outdoor, UK, Poland and Germany

2. Marks & Spencer
Project: Spring
Client: Steve Sharp, executive director of marketing, Marks & Spencer
Brief: Announce to the nation's women that M&S's Spring Collection is in
store and introduce new M&S innovation stories
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers/art directors: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Director: Vaughan Arnell
Production company: Stink
Exposure: National TV

3. Lynx
Project: Fallen Angels
Client: Lynx
Brief: n/s
Agency: TMW
Writer: David Parker
Designer: Andrew Gardner
Director: Ben Taylor
Production company: Mind's Eye
Exposure: Online

4. IG Index
Project: Event mapping
Client: Ollie Rosewell, marketing manager, IG Index
Brief: Get thinking about Cause & Effect
Agency: DDB UK
Writer: Howard Willmoitt
Art director: Peter Mould
Designer: Pete Mould
Exposure: Cross-track 48-sheets and press

5. East Midlands Trains
Project: Best Fare Finder - Stacey Solomon
Client: Marc Turley, head of marketing, East Midlands Trains
Brief: Best Fare Finder - brilliant for finding you the cheapest tickets
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Dave Edwards
Art director: Patrick McMenamin
Director: Kim Burdon
Production company: Hibbert Ralph
Photographer: Kevin Edwards
Exposure: TV, outdoor, radio, press, DM, digital

6. Debenhams
Project: Debenhams Mother's Day film
Client: Jane Exon, head of marketing operations, Debenhams
Brief: Don't forget mum this Mother's Day
Agency: JWT London
Writer: Hannah Ford
Art director: Simon Horton
Director: Joanna Bailey
Production company: The Bare Film Company
Exposure: TV

Topics