Transport for London (3) has been responsible for some wonderful advertising in its time. And some truly iconic design. However, these posters betray that heritage. The art direction appears to have been carried out by a bus driver, the typography and copywriting by a traffic warden. Sorry, but advertising of this quality is not what I pay my Congestion Charge for.
OMSCo (1) Altogether Better is a new brand of milk. Its packaging is retro. So is its advertising. These posters are witty, stylish, nicely put together and totally vacuous. Surely, if a client has the balls to name its milk Altogether Better, it is the role of the advertising to equally aggressively tell us why its milk is altogether better. Missed opportunity.
Maxim (4). We open on two lads French kissing each other. Mid-slobber, they get caught by their girlfriends. Their girlfriends are deeply shocked and dump them. The triumphant lads are now free to "text and date" girls from Maxim's Little Black Book. Sad. The ad is almost rescued by its endline: "Maxim. So wrong, it's right." Almost.
Debenhams (6). Fashion clients are control freaks. So are advertising agencies. Consequently, it is not always easy to do good fashion ads.
This commercial walks the tightrope elegantly. Well done to the advertising agency for not trying too hard. Well done to the client, too, for letting the advertising agency add a bit, but not too much, of an idea.
Carling (2) and Foster's (5). At the risk of sounding like an old fart, I look at these two commercials and conclude that things ain't wot they used to be.
Remember when the arrival of a new Carling commercial was an event - literally - of national importance? "I bet he drinks Carling Black Label" was about as popular a saying here in the UK as "have a nice day" is in America. I was watching Kes Gray's "Dambusters" the other day. What a commercial! If it were my money, I'd run it again tomorrow. It spanks the pants off this new ad. Go on, Mr Client. I dare you to research "Dambusters" and "spot on" side-by-side and see.
And as for Foster's ... well, for 25 years now, Foster's has been trying to come up with a better campaign than the Paul Hogan ads that Jeff Stark wrote. So here's an idea. Why not ring up Jeff and ask him to have a crack at the brief? He's still got all his teeth!
MEDIA - Marc Mendoza, chief executive, MPG UK
As a Private View virgin, I feel obliged to be slightly nicer than normal, while aiming for a personal perspective on what cuts through. As well as a view on whether I believe this week's ads score on this criterion, I can't resist mentioning where they should be seen to do just that.
The work for Transport for London (3) will presumably appear on all things London Transport and is clean and tidy, if a little anaemic. Futurology references work as a device to warn how stressed, late and skint you'll be by the time you get to work, but I can't help think that the money would be better spent on the product.
The rather sweet attempt to brand organic milk is hampered by the OMSCo (1) logo but the packshot of a milk churn-shaped container will look nice in weeklies. The artwork is gentle and the media agency is going to have to buy serious frequency to get through to the page-flickers and persuade them that a brand is best.
Beer wars pitted Foster's (5) against Carling (2) for my affections.
First up was the latest cheeky Foster's Aussie putting his lager before common sense in the sun. This time, he rejects the advances of a blonde beauty, preferring to use her as shade to keep his beer cool. The first couple of these were inspired, especially the one with the dodgy quiff.
The acting is fine in this one but the idea is a little thin and it only just sustains a short commercial.
As someone who grew up on Carling ads at WCRS, it is unfair to compare.
The films Sliding Doors and The French Connection are drawn upon to dramatise a desperate race for the comfy chair to watch the footy in with a cold can. Perfect for the live football it's produced to appear in, it mines a recognisable seam of the daft games that pissed-up blokes play. Entertaining the first time you see it, but felt long, a touch indulgent and would be better as a cutdown on telly. I hope the long version makes it to cinema, though.
Maxim (4) kept the laddish quota up with a sharp, intrusive commercial that will look great on Bravo, Men & Motors, etc. Assuming Maxim uses the version where the blokes actually snog, most male viewers will feel obliged to squirm dramatically when the tongues come out. Nice.
Debenhams (6) has resorted to getting people to dress as furry animals and shout at shoppers through megaphones to come into the store, so I was dreading the commercials for its spring sale. The photographer shooting models with designer clothes was a stylish way to squeeze a lot of product into a short ad - I bet the suppliers paid for it.
I hope I have not upset anyone. Now, I'm off to buy some cheap media.
Project: What goodness tastes like
Client: David Whiting, marketing director, OMSCo
Brief: Altogether Better tastes the best because it is the best
Writer: Sam Heath
Art directors: Frank Ginger, Mark Elwood, Sam Heath
Photographer: Jonathan Kitchen
Illustrators: Jason Holley, Harry Wingfield
Exposure: Six-sheet posters
Client: Des Johnson, Carling brand director, Coors Brewers
Brief: Carling is central to the best time with your mates
Agency: Leith London
Writers: Lou Bogue, Pete Cain
Art directors: Lou Bogue, Pete Cain
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Production company: MJZ
Exposure: National TV
3. TRANSPORT FOR LONDON
Project: Travel updates campaign
Client: Nigel Marson, head of group marketing and communications,
Transport for London
Brief: Encourage users of London public transport to register for e-mail
travel updates giving the most up-to-date information on potential
disruptions to their regular journey
Writer: Matt Price
Art director: Seb Hill
Exposure: Transport for London-owned media
Project: Maxim's Little Black Book April issue
Clients: Hero Davison, group marketing manager; Ben Golding, marketing
manager, Dennis Publishing
Brief: Increase sales of April issue by promoting Maxim's Little Black
Agency: Flint Creative Solutions
Writer: Milo Campbell
Art director: Sonny Adorjan
Director: Paul Morgans
Production company: PSA
Exposure: National TV
Client: Sarah Warby, marketing manager, Scottish Courage
Brief: Launch Foster's Super Chilled
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: James Lowther
Art director: Bill Gallacher
Director: Colin Gregg
Production company: Therapy Films
Exposure: National TV
Project: Designers at Debenhams spring 2005
Client: Jess Burnett, brand manager, Debenhams
Brief: Launch the new spring designer collection
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Malcolm Duffy
Art director: Paul Briginshaw
Director: Brian Walsh
Production company: RSA Films
Exposure: National TV