When it comes to the business of judging advertising, I find there's always a little bit of bias involved. The ad always seems better if your mate's done it, and slightly worse if it's for your favourite clients' biggest opponent. So, only the truly great pieces of work have the ability to rise above that inherent bias. Let's see if there's such a specimen this week.
First, the magnificent pub team from Carlsberg (3), featuring past English greats and goods of the beautiful game. Probably smack on for a huge portion of the target market and definitely cashing in on the focus of the nation (note: dinosaurs such as Jack Charlton don't have metatarsals).
This makes compelling viewing for us old farts who like to see that, while our boyhood heroes' looks and physical prowess may have diminished, their skill hasn't. Mirroring ourselves, of course. I love it because it's true to the main Carlsberg idea. I don't like it because I don't like the main Carlsberg idea. I love it because it features my boyhood hero Bryan Robson. And I don't like it because, sacrilege, it has Robbo (and Beardsley) playing in a number 10 shirt - until the final scene where I think I do glimpse him displaying his rightful number. Robbo is the original Magnificent Seven. To put him in anything else is as unforgivable as the taste of a Carlsberg. Oooh, I love my Stella Artois.
Birds Eye (6). Did I learn something watching these commercials? Undoubtedly. But, my word, they were delivered with all the charm of a half-eaten hamburger found under a pillow. Sometimes a simple "here are the facts" campaign can work wonders for a brand, providing it's delivered with charm - and, when it comes to food, appetite-appeal as well. These commercials fail on both counts.
Of course, perhaps if I wasn't aware of the great Birds Eye work done before this, I might like them. But I don't.
Camelot (4). Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, we must be watching Millwall because there's a brick flying towards me. Intriguing in the beginning and well put together, but ultimately I'm disappointed. Why?
Because while the ad is an idea, it's not a big one and I'm looking for the smart, intriguing twist at the end instead of the predictable one dished up. On top of that, it certainly hasn't got the energy to rip me off my seat and get me tearing down to the corner store to spend a couple of my easily earned quids on a ticket. Anyway, I don't like gambling and I think the Lottery is a rip-off.
Asahi (5). Nice label once the label's off. Completely unoriginal work, first. Boring, second. And uncompelling finally. Oooh, I love my Stella Artois.
Oasis (2) print. Seen one, you've seen them all. And just seeing one is hardly an inspirational experience. I just don't understand the point of these. They say nothing about the product except, in my mind, that you should force it down as quickly as possible. The work my mate's doing on Tango is much, much better.
Talk Talk (1). This is an old idea not reintroduced with any flair either. People filmed from above, morphing into various words and images has been done to still-life. Whereas, free broadband has never been done before. You'd think a client as seemingly brave and adventurous as this one would demand something a little more original. By the way, I have shares in BT.
So, all in all, it seems nothing rose above the bias barometer. Such is opinion.
Summer love to all of you.
DESIGNER - Peter Saville, graphic designer and creative consultant, M&C Saatchi
If we accept that advertising is an unavoidable aspect of our everyday life, there's an argument for saying that it should contribute to our society.
The Carlsberg (3) ad is a good example of that. A positive intervention - better than a lot of programming, in fact. One of the things I've felt sensitive about is how advertising adopts cultural codes or appropriates to validate itself and the business it promotes culturally. I find that disingenuous in most cases. This ad operates within the context of its own genre, and, as such, is a version of the best that advertising can be.
Carlsberg has a campaign that I've always admired; witty and long- running. Only one of the ads, "Chinese takeaway", was disappointing. "The bank" was one of the best because it really touched on issues that everybody knows. What's also enjoyable on first viewing is the teasing anticipation that this may be another in the series. A measure of these is how happy you are to see it again and this passes the test brilliantly. "Name?". "Charlton." Fantastic.
Camelot (4). A flock of bricks takes to the skies and migrates to the accompaniment of a majestic soundtrack, to somewhere rather more idyllic than a two up, two down. But are the bricks really necessary? Why not just wonderful in-flight photography of real birds to make the point? Perhaps the agency suggested this or a more eloquent solution and were persuaded otherwise by the client.
These Birds Eye (6) ads are cleverly done. You could be forgiven for thinking this was a BBC documentary rather than an ad. Convincing cinematography and an academic style - including the clever use of a French fishmonger (he of all people must know about food quality) to endorse the point that fish doesn't degrade when frozen immediately. I also loved the rather scandalous revelation of the salmon "Pantone charts" to get the right pinkness. What a pity the packshot lets the whole thing down with off-message design.
Oasis (2) is a perfect example of what I referred to at the beginning. There's an infamous shot of Damien Hirst with a distorted mouth that I suspect was the original inspiration. But that doesn't save this work.
There's a banal hand at work here, not only in the quasi Dazed and Confused style, but also in the dumbed-down language of the strapline. The trend of manipulating our youth by constantly playing shallowness to them is perpetuated here. All rather degenerative.
Talk Talk (1). There's "something in the air" here; another iconic 60s soundtrack being requisitioned and yet more birds - this time using a bird's eye view of groups of people who, through neat choreography, assemble into other objects and words. It's homage to Busby Berkeley and not totally original in the annals of advertising, yet perfectly watchable, although I do wonder if anyone will recall what is on offer here and from whom.
Asahi (5). Pure beer, Japanese style. That's what's being served here and these ads live up to it. Nice, clean compositions that correlate visually with their positioning and wouldn't offend the eye in a magazine. Add a touch of Manga ornament and kick-boxing and you have a brew that's very Zen. Not, however, as quotable as the work we kicked off with, which is as memorable as a series of Ronaldo step-overs.
More than a game?
1. TALK TALK
Project: Talk Talk free broadband forever launch
Client: Tristia Clarke, marketing director, Carphone Warehouse
Brief: Launch Talk Talk's "free broadband" offer
Agency: Clemmow Hornby Inge
Writers/art directors: Enoch Lam, Manuela Barbosa
Director: David Frankham
Production company: Stink
Exposure: National TV
Project: Chug it
Brief: Make Oasis an active choice for people on the go by communicating
its unique "chuggability"
Art director: Mother
Exposure: Six-sheet posters, mega bus-rears
Project: Carlsberg old lions
Client: Darren Britton, director of brands and marketing, Carlsberg
Brief: Communicate that Carlsberg is the only official beer of the
England team through the "Carlsberg don't do" campaign
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Dave Henderson
Art director: Richard Denney
Director: Chris Palmer
Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: National TV
Client: Howard Groves, director, game development, Camelot
Brief: Engage players with the core promise of the Lottery by engaging
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Ian Heartfield
Art director: Matt Doman
Director: Danny Kleinman
Production company: Kleinman Productions
Exposure: National TV, cinema
Project: Torn label
Client: Kozy Yoshimura, UK sales manager, Asahi Beer
Brief: Communicate the pure, crisp taste and inherent Japaneseness of
Writers: Glenn Smith, Dominic Moira
Art directors: Craig Roderick, Ben Markey
Photographer: Colin Whitlock
Typographer: Mark Etherington
Exposure: Six-sheets in London and Brighton, rickshaws in London
6. BIRDS EYE
Project: Birds Eye truth campaign
Client: Jerry Wright,
brand director, Birds Eye
Brief: Challenge negative perceptions of frozen food and make people
question what they're buying
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Dale Winton
Art director: Hamish Pinnell
Director: Niall Downing
Production company: 2AM Films
Exposure: National TV