Let's face it, getting great work to run is difficult. The pressure to compromise is relentless. The advertising that finally gets produced is rarely the creative's pride and joy. The last thing anyone needs is another creative stabbing them in the front.
Which is why I've never really liked Private View. I've never relished having my own work publicly questioned. I've never enjoyed seeing other people's work derided by someone who maybe hasn't done anything particularly good themselves lately. And sometimes I've just been utterly uninterested in anyone's views on a selection of uninteresting work.
I'd much rather people chose their favourite current ads and said why they think they're great. That way it would all be positive. And I think it would be a lot more interesting. The chances of any random selection of current work soliciting much praise will always be slender. All I could do was wait for the package to arrive. It arrived. I eagerly opened it. Bugger.
In no particular order, let's start with Air Miles (6). I'm afraid that it does nothing for me. And I can't imagine that it'll do a fat lot for the client either. It doesn't tell anyone anything that they don't already know. Nor does it present itself in a way that's likely to grab anyone's attention.
I don't mind the Orange (4) 3G ad, though. The two guys from their excellent cinema campaign work well. Sure, the end gag is corny, but I imagine that people (no, not you, real people) will find the ad amusing. Personally, I prefer the one with Stephen Fry.
On to the now-obligatory direct mail, this time from Prudential (5).
Apparently, the healthier my lifestyle, the less I'd have to pay for medical insurance. Damn. Perfectly good proposition. But surely direct mail has to work harder than this to avoid the bin?
I wish I could be positive about the English Beef and Lamb Executive (3) ad, but I can't. It tells me nothing. I can't fathom who it's trying to appeal to. And the British farming industry desperately needs something better.
This week's print offering comes from Nestle (1). The campaign is written and art directed with some charm, which feels tonally appropriate. But if they're posters (which I'm told they are), then the lines are obviously a bit too long.
And, finally, Pot Noodle (2). I suspect that this campaign actually is someone's pride and joy, and they probably struggle to stifle a snigger every time they think about it. Okay, it's what we've come to expect from the brand. And, yes, it's going to be talked about. But, no, it isn't one of the campaigns that I'd have chosen to write about.
CLIENT - Rob Rees, marketing troubleshooter, interim customer and brand marketing director, Scottish Widows
My favourite ad of the bunch has to be Pot Noodle (2). I am biased - it's one of my all-time favourite campaigns. This brand has redefined the advertising code for snack foods and until Campbell's recent unadventurous Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners Super Noodles work, this was probably the most innovative sector in the UK. "Horn" brilliantly mines the insight of junk food that makes you feel guilty, and cleverly moves the work on from "the slag of all snacks" and "the office bike".
Orange (4) "3G-peasy" is a good transition to television for the very smart Mother cinema campaign (which, incidentally, David Osborne, Smudge and myself developed in 2003). This film lacks the out-and-out intelligence and wit of the cinema treatments, but it is definitely on-brand. I am not 100 per cent certain on the use of Elton John (and his partner), as such a mainstream celebrity potentially reduces Orange's unique tone of voice. But strategically, Elton is unashamedly popular and prime viral/gossip material - one of the key things that 3G video-calling will be built upon. An overall thumbs-up.
The Nestle (1) "little notions" print is mediocre and a classic case of the brand manager giving the agency an unmanageable "and, and" brief.
The hippy visual style is unusual, but the legibility of the type is poor and there's a completely different "cartoon character" idea happening on the packaging. Why has the agency not used this in the advertising?
(Because it was probably not its idea.) The insight that women will do anything to convince themselves it is OK to eat chocolate was lost on me. The Nestle branding just adds to this graphic melange.
The Air Miles (6) TV work has warmth but is an average early 90s-type spot. No real advertising idea with nothing to draw you in. It could easily be an ad for a bank or a holiday and the briefs are definitely showing in this unmemorable piece. The marketing team have too literally interpreted their research which, no doubt, said they need to extend Air Miles' appeal and explain the range available. The ad reflects the client's internal worldview, not necessarily what will engage consumers externally.
English Beef and Lamb Executive (3) - as an ardent cricket fan, I found this entertaining (particularly "streaker") but kitsch. Again, there was no idea of substance and it's yet another example of believing a celebrity or innovative production technique solves everything. The important message about the quality standard mark is an add-on and gets lost in the slapstick.
The Prudential (5) direct mail is a good use of brand identity with a common look and feel across all material. Quite a solid creative treatment, given the role that compliance probably plays in its business.
Project: Little Notions launch
Client: Mike O'Reilly, head of consumer communications, Nestle
Brief: Launch the new line of Little Notions treats
Writer: Sarah Naughton
Art director: Simon Morris
Exposure: National posters
2. POT NOODLE
Project: The Pot Noodle horn
Client: Paula Quazi, marketing director, Pot Noodle, Unilever Bestfoods
Brief: Reinforce the desirabilty of the product - it's trashy but
Agency: HHCL/Red Cell
Writers: Jonathan Thake, Lee Tan
Art directors: Jonathan Thake, Lee Tan
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
3. ENGLISH BEEF AND LAMB EXECUTIVE
Client: Jane Ritchie-Smith, brand manager, Eblex
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers: Tony Malcolm, Justin Hooper
Art directors: Guy Moore, Christian Cotterill
Animator: Jim Le Fevre
Production company: Nexus Productions
Exposure: National TV
Project: Orange 3G
Client: Rachel Macbeth, advertising manager, Orange
Brief: Orange is making 3G easy by letting you try it for free for three
Art director: Mother
Director: Bryan Buckley
Production company: Hungry Man NY
Project: Pru Health exercise chart consumer DM
Client: Mark Savage, senior marketing manager, Prudential
Brief: Introduce Pru Health, the health plan that rewards you for
self-managing your health
Writer: Anna Jewes
Art director: Claus Larsen
Illustrator: Nick Redyhoff
Typographer: Len Butler
Exposure: 500,000 mailings to existing Pru Health customers
6. AIR MILES
Project: Everyday to everywhere
Client: Laura Scarlett, acting marketing director, Air Miles
Brief: Show people how easy it is to collect Air Miles through everyday
spending and how they can be exchanged for a range of travel products
Agency: Big Al's Creative Emporium
Writer: Big Al
Art director: Big Al
Director: Patricia Murphy
Production company: Patricia Murphy Films
Exposure: National TV