Alistair McGowan is playing himself impersonating you (that is, me) to demonstrate how well he knows me (that is, you) and therefore how easy it is for you (that is, me) to have your (that is, my) identity stolen by a thief (that is, him). Phew ... Capital One (3) has a simple message to convey: it offers protection against credit card fraud. Why complicate it?
I don't know what happens to you when you have a baby, but I can now blub at anything ... well, almost anything. Strangely, I didn't when viewing the latest Oxfam (6) ad. The film shows a very normal day with time-lapse shots of people going about their business. The title reads: "Tomorrow could be the day you save a life, and change the course of the world." This is followed by a beautiful black-and-white still of a little girl, followed by: "Or it could be just another day." The end title urges us to "Give poverty the push". Any communication asking us to give money has a difficult job, but this neither made me feel angry, guilty or responsible.
It failed to connect.
The British Heart Foundation (5) ads for donations to provide nurses did. I saw this in a magazine last week and blubbed. Something about it made me want to read it (and not just the cunning personalised line: "No, Kate, you put the kettle on. I'm the one who's dying"). Curiously optimistic, these ads are gentle but powerful because of their honesty and humour.
The new fcuk (2) campaign has its prettily shoed feet firmly on fashion retailer ground. Summer landscapes made of clothes, with the lines "summer is for love" and "spring is for lovers". Gone is the FU attitude of the youth brand that was so brilliantly distilled into fcuk.
I open the direct mail letter from the Royal Marines (4). The copy reads: "Do you know the meaning of teamwork? Can you keep a cool head in difficult conditions? Do you have the strength of mind to endure 32 weeks of hard physical and mental training? Can you be pushed further every day?" This isn't original - it has been lifted, word for word, from the new Saatchi & Saatchi recruitment manual, as penned by Commander Daley. The accompanying mail piece carries a line that is reminiscent of the late, great Jay Chiat's "Good is not good enough", but not as good. Not the most inspiring of initiatives to come out of the Marines, but "99.9 per cent need not apply" is still a great endline.
The posters for the Conservative Party (1) are good. The ads are simple, marker-scribbled statements such as "I mean, how hard is it to keep a hospital clean?" with the endline: "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" They have a self-satisfied smugness that is spot-on. Straightforward, concise and good enough.
CREATIVE - Dylan Jones, editor, GQ
I agree with every sentiment in the Conservative Party (1) posters, as any rational person would, while the ads themselves are clean, crisp and well-executed. The copy is good, the graphics powerful and it gets the message across without having to associate those messages with the party itself (which may be a good thing). Now that the Labour Party has jumped on the Tory bandwagon and finally, publicly, come out in favour of the householder rather than the burglar, the Tories might want to think about junking that particular poster, but the others are spot-on. If I were a wavering voter instead of someone who has almost made up his mind, these posters would certainly lead me in the right direction.
Fcuk (2) is a great brand with a huge advertising history behind it. Quite rightly, it has begun to move away from some of the more overt messaging it was creating and started to produce more subtle advertising, such as the posters here. I like them a lot and they automatically make me think that the brand is moving more upmarket (which tends to work).
The British Heart Foundation (5) is obviously a good thing, although I don't think these ads will encourage those of us who know that into parting with donation money. They wouldn't stop me flicking through a magazine on my way to a photograph of Pete Doherty's funeral or a transcript of Alastair Campbell's latest BlackBerry faux pas.
The Royal Marines (4) do what they say on the tin, and the execution of these ads underscore that (they explain what they do and highlight the fact that most of us reading the leaflet are office-bound sedentary losers). But is direct mail the best way to round up new recruits? I'm glad the Marines exist but I don't want to be one, so if this came through my door it would definitely end up in the bin. (Why don't they put it in GQ instead? Maybe they are!)
I think the Capital One (3) identify-theft ad is great: streamlined script, clever scenarios. However, there are lots of people out there who don't know what Capital One is (like me), and the ad would have been more successful if it had explained the exact nature of the company's business (are they a bank, a credit card company, both, more?).
Watching the Oxfam (6) ad made me feel very cynical, as I've obviously been afflicted by compassion fatigue, and while there was nothing fundamentally wrong with it, I've become so inured to this sort of advertising that it had little effect on me. Where charity is concerned, people need to be bludgeoned over the head. The best ad for Oxfam will always be the short film made to accompany The Cars' Drive during Live Aid. That got me to put my hand in my pocket.
1. CONSERVATIVE PARTY
Project: Conservative poster campaign
Client: Conservative campaign headquarters
Brief: Are you thinking what we're thinking?
Agency: Immediate Sales
Writer: Immediate Sales
Art director: Immediate Sales
Typographer: Immediate Sales
Exposure: National posters
2. FRENCH CONNECTION
Project: Fcuk spring/summer collection
Client: Stephen Marks, chief executive, French Connection
Brief: Celebrate the beauty of the 2005 spring/summer collection
Writer: Trevor Beattie
Art director: Bil Bungay
Photographer: Martin Wonnacott
Typographer: Alex Fairman
Exposure: National and international posters, press
3. CAPITAL ONE
Project: Launch campaign for Identity Theft Assistance
Client: Frazer Smith, vice-president, customer development, Capital One
Brief: A wake-up call to the threat of identity theft
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: Chris McDonald
Art director: Matt Statham
Director: Steve Hudson
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV
4. ROYAL MARINES
Project: Royal Marines recruitment campaign
Client: COI Communications
Brief: Assist the Royal Marines in obtaining new recruits
Agency: WWAV Rapp Collins
Writers: Mark Dawson (letter); Abi Ellis (fold-out)
Art directors: Ralph Barnett (letter); Dave Scott (fold-out)
Exposure: 50,000 mails
5. BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION
Project: BHF nurses
Client: Colin Gruar, head of marketing, British Heart Foundation
Brief: Raise awareness of the little-known but highly impressive work
BHF nurses do for those living with heart disease
Agency: Euro RSCG London
Writer: Dave Jennings
Art director: Dexter Ginn
Photographer: Drew Jarrett
Typographer: Mark Osborne
Exposure: Magazines, posters
Project: Give poverty the push
Clients: Edward Fox, director of fundraising and support; Jane Pleace,
head of relationship marketing, Oxfam
Brief: Show that we can't rely on someone else to do something about
poverty, it's our responsibility
Agency: EHS Brann
Writers: Lu Dixon, Kate Pybus
Art director: Trevor Chambers
Production company: n/s