Do you know what I really miss at the moment? Great, populist advertising.
Not of the singing- employee genre we have to grin and bear at the moment, but the sort John Webster would have been proud of, God bless him. The last campaign I can recall is the Peter Kay John Smith's ads.
Walkers (3), of course, used to be like that. Taking Saint Gary and turning him into a sinner was good, knockabout tabloid stuff. Sad, then, that in trying to prove that crisps are good for us, Walkers seems to have somewhat lost the plot - literally. Don't Worry, Be Happy, not very originally, is the track. Multiple images of one person are used and Gary seems relegated to an off-the-bench sub's role, presumably to fulfil his contract.Give me the full-fat Walkers campaign of old any day.
Legoland (2) attempts to be populist (surprisingly, the employees do not sing in this one), but I can't help thinking that the families portrayed have walked off a Disney commercial. Are children this age really this naive? Not round my way, they're not. If they want to drive a fire engine, they'll nick a real one. Still, "heroes wanted" is a nice idea.
The BBC (1), thankfully, tells it like it is. I like brands that are confident enough in their own content not to overload it with spurious "creativity". These commercials tell us interesting facts about subjects as diverse as the fall of Kabul and Ricky Gervais.It is minimalist in advertising terms, but effective.It leaves the viewer feeling that the Beeb is hiding a bloody great light under its Shepherd's bushel.
Mastercard (5) Maestro, apparently, is the new cash. Yeah? I have had a Maestro logo on my bank card for years without knowing what the hell it means, so new it is not. Slagging cash off doesn't work for me, either - I've never had a tenner cloned or my bank account emptied because I paid for petrol with pound notes. Surely Maestro would be better running a campaign informing us exactly what it does. Oh, and if it does, please don't use the raised type off the cards. Like someone who uses debit cards, it has been done before.
Much more original is the Honda (4) direct mail piece.Apparently, Honda will drop off an Accord to test-drive and take your car away to be cleaned.A nice analogy using a milk bottle means this will not be thrown straight in the bin - the equivalent of a gold award for a direct mail piece.
I don't know if a joint effort between the estate agent Douglas & Gordon and Shelter (6) will win an award, but if it is for improving the image of our sleazy friends it should. I don't know about you, but in my opinion the people who drive Foxton's Minis around may as well have "TWAT" painted on their cars - psychedelically, of course. Well, Douglas & Gordon (which sounds like a 60s folk duo) is different. On behalf of Shelter, it has agreed to put spoof housing details in its offices, highlighting the appalling conditions some people still have to live in. I truly hope this isn't a scam ad, as it appears genuine and a lot of work and effort seems to have gone into it. I look forward to waving to those nice people in Douglas & Gordon Minis soon.
CHEF - FREDDY BIRD, chef, Moro
The BBC (1) takes itself very seriously; some would argue it has to.
In these ads, it is further defending its position in a media environment financed by everything from diarrhoea tablets to ABS brakes. The BBC is about integrity. It rewards dedication and wants to bring us cutting-edge television. So here it is: powerful images from the Afghan mountain-tops, front-line action in Basra and, last but not least, a dancing buffoon recognisable to most in an instant: Ricky Gervais. It is a good campaign for two simple reasons: it gets its point across successfully and reinforces a well-established image the BBC has built its entire reputation on. It is saying: "We bring you quality television." Or, in its words: "This is what we do."
Walkers (3). Wow! Apparently, eating a pack of crisps will mean you are able to do seven things at once (six clones to shadow your every step).
Not sure how this ad is supposed to reflect "little slices of happiness".
Is happiness being able to juggle, bounce four times as many footballs, hail five cabs at once or stand gormlessly while another "you" delves into your bag of cheese and onion? Clearly, having Gary Lineker smiling on your screen is enough in itself to stuff those Walkers nationwide.
Then there is a print campaign - one bag of crisps sliced into eight equal parts with the tagline: "New Walkers, little slices of happiness." The packet reads sunseed, so they are supposedly healthier, too. So what does all this mean? Not only are Walkers crisps now healthy but they also have a mustard-coloured packet containing slices of cheddar cheese happiness and racing green lamb and mint flavour. Boring.
I have always liked Honda (4) ads. They are weird and slightly wonderful, so I felt a bit disappointed by this one. The mailer contains a plastic milk bottle with a white milky substance inside. It is slick and quite fun, but a bit of a waste. Like anything slightly oddball, I feel I would like to add it to my pinboard of paraphernalia, but I'm not sure it will make me buy a Honda over any other car. So Honda delivers a new car to your door, like the milkman does. But hold on ... the milkman? What milkman? This isn't shopping for groceries, it is a once every four- or five-year event, isn't it? Maybe I'm just a bad audience for this one ... my last car was new in 1971.
The Mastercard (5) Maestro people are very direct, modern, in-your-face kind of people. They are using very aggressive language: "coins get lost", "cash stinks", "there's a reason machines spit out coins". Although their slightly American bimbo "cash is so last millennium" shows a slightly mixed-up image, these ads are a good play on words. But do you remember they are for Maestro?
Legoland (2). This ad is terrible. It is a big American cheese-fest!
It is so bloody twee, it is disgusting. And who is it targeting, children or parents? As a dad to be, it doesn't encourage me to want to drag my child there. This ad is so bad, it puts you off the place. There is no talk of Lego and why the cheesy American voiceover ... it's for a theme-park in Windsor! What is this? Some kind of desperate attempt to compete with the likes of Disneyland? Don't bother.
Shelter (6). This is a ballsy campaign. The spoof property particulars make a joke of a very serious situation, but you are very quickly taken straight to the point that "London still has thousands of people living in substandard, often dangerous conditions". This ad targets people when they are most vulnerable. For people willing to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds, is a donation so much to ask? Something we see as a development opportunity is actually someone's home. These ads play on our conscience. You can't just hold your hands up, say "sorry, I haven't got any change", and run quickly on this time.
1. BBC Project: BBC stories Client: Tim Davie, director of marketing, communications and audiences, BBC Brief: Showcase the endeavour and effort behind BBC content Agency: Fallon Writers: Juan Cabral, Jez Willy, Al Davis Art directors: Juan Cabral, Jez Willy, Al Davis Director: n/s Production company: n/s Exposure: BBC TV, radio 2. LEGOLAND Project: Fire academy Client: Hans Aksel Pedersen, sales and marketing director, Legoland Brief: Drive visitors to the four regional Legoland Parks in the 2006 season Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners Writer: James Hodge Art director: Richard Fox Director: John Stephenson Production company: Feel Films Exposure: National TV 3. WALKERS Project: Slice of happiness Client: Jon Goldstone, marketing director, Walkers Brief: n/s Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Writer: Peter Souter Art director: Mike Durban Director: Jon Hollis Production company: Nice Shirt Productions Exposure: National TV, cinema, press, posters 4. HONDA Project: Accord test-drive Client: Robert Moss, dealer marketing manager, Honda Brief: Convert interest into a test-drive by making it both convenient and desirable for the target audience to take an extended test-drive Agency: Hicklin Slade & Partners Writer: Paul Zeidler Art director: Lindsay Jones Exposure: 15,000 fleet car managers and company car drivers 5. MASTERCARD Project: Maestro Client: Rita Broe, head of marketing, Mastercard Europe Brief: Reposition the Maestro debit brand to increase usage of frequent purchase categories by heavy users Agency: McCann Erickson Writers: Brian Cooper, Jason Stewart Art director: Brian Cooper, Jason Stewart Exposure: Posters 6. SHELTER Project: Real homes Clients: Ivor Dickinson, managing director, Douglas & Gordon; Clare Davenport, business development senior account manager, Shelter Brief: Drive awareness of the housing crisis facing the UK Agency: Leo Burnett Writers: Clark Edwards, Nicholas Pringle Art directors: Clark Edwards, Nicholas Pringle Typographer: Rory Neighbour Photographers: Michael Thomas Jones, Nick David Exposure: Douglas & Gordon window cards