The idiot sons of Banksy run riot round my way. Tooled up with home-made stencils and Halfords spray paint, they prowl the pissy Shoreditch night in search of blank wall and half-arsed immortality. One current stab at coffee-table-book inclusion roars "ADVERTISING SHITS IN YOUR HEAD" (as opposed to graffiti, I guess, which simply spaffs in your face with nary a by your leave). So sorry, but so not true; most of the ads in my Private View Jiffy Bag are so lacking in potency you can barely feel the passing of their wind on the back of your neck.
The new MasterCard (5) World Cup sponsorship "epic", for example. I'd be the last person to deny MasterCard its right to crow about all the money it's spunked to try and grab some kind of tenuous association with the World Cup. Fair dues; every other bugger has. And I guess it's shot prettily enough. But there's a clue to the invisibility of the spot in the title. "Football fever". What creative team in London hasn't seen those two chilling words on a brief this year? With such familiarity of strategy it's no wonder the ad slips past the eye and brain so effortlessly.
The only thing that remains is the kickable Ainsley Harriott-style mugging and eye-rolling that passes for performance in the main body of the ad.
If you must leap sweatily on to the back of a passing sporting opportunity, at least do it with a little panache, like Kit Kat (6). Equally tenuous, perhaps, but at least it's a cracking gag told with a perfectly pitched broad brushstroke of a comedy performance, and it barked a genuine and surprised laugh out of me, bless it. How lovely to see that particular strategy back again, with an ad that shows that it is still flexible and accommodating enough to tuck its shapely ankles behind its ears and smile winningly.
I love Waitrose (2). I love its food, its decency toward its staff, its ethical stance. I particularly love the way that shopping there makes me feel all shiny and middle-class and reminds me how I have escaped the calloused-palmed clutches of my Portsmouth childhood. Browsing the black-tailed hen eggs in their gleaming white aisles goes some way toward washing the taste of chip out of my mouth. And I don't mind the advertising at all, despite the disappointing lack of ambition in continuing execution.
The ads may sneak past me, but the brand still sticks.
The Army (4) work reeks of ambition, however, following a group of Army chaps taking a short holiday from having petrol bombs thrown at them to climb a big mountain, rendered in a nicely judged documentary stylee.
It may not make me want to grab a big-arsed gun and go into battle reeking of cordite and spittle-flecked Beserker fury, but then again I can't think what would. Other than the MasterCard campaign, possibly.
The print for Walkers Sensations (1) demonstrates neatly just how difficult it is to render a celebrity-based campaign in a static medium.
Tiringly, there's a rather pedestrian "inser" here. Tricky format, the insert; unless it is made out of particularly heavy card that rattles loudly and attention-seekingly when it falls out of your copy of Razzle, it's got to go some to elicit more than a weary flash of irritation.
This one for Lexus (3) has a picture of a crazy building on the front and a picture of a far-from crazy car on the back, and supposedly there is some connection twixt the two. But it's way too sunny today to work it out, and the siren scent of newly tanned long-leggedness and freshly laundered summer dress drifts up from outside to seduce me from my laptop. May the rest of your summer be filled with late-afternoon sunshine and yellow butterflies and thoughtful, beautifully executed advertising conceits that fragrantly defecate in the heads of a grateful nation.
MEDIA - Marc Mendoza, managing partner, Media Planning Group
To provide a shield should a sharpened D&AD Pencil be aimed the media bloke's way, I felt it appropriate to do a bit of digging to understand the objectives and early performance measures for some of the ads I'm reviewing.
Starting with a glossy DM piece for Lexus (3) that references the length of time great things take to build, as represented by the Sagrada Familia.
Even if we assume everyone will get the reference, this is an unmemorable piece of literature that will go unread into the bin in 99.9 per cent of households that don't happen to be on the point of purchasing a new luxury car. However, if 700 responses are generated from the 700,000 distributed (at a total media cost of c. £15k) and if 1 per cent of the 700 convert to sales at an average price of £30k per car, that's £210k of tin shifted. Pretty good if the assumptions are correct. However, the thing that worries me is that its blandness might mean I'm being optimistic - shouldn't a teeny bit of the creative effort go into stimulating interest among those that didn't know they were interested?
Grateful to be resuscitated by a 40-second Waitrose (2) film. Beautifully shot intelligent content, topped off with a foot-tappingly familiar soundtrack results in a reason to make an informed choice. Why can't all commercials be like this? Makes you want to record the ads, not avoid them.
The MasterCard (5) 60-second spot showing various nationalities in agitated states over their teams' World Cup efforts confused me. Nicely shot, but what was I supposed to think or do as a result of seeing it? MasterCard is an official sponsor and this ad was to inform me of this. Indeed, it "celebrated" it, according to the brief published in Campaign on 1 June.
It felt like they were telling me what they are going to tell me, which seems indulgent.
Also in a football vein, the Russian linesman that gave England the benefit of the doubt in 1966 is roped into the latest "take a break" episode for Kit Kat (6). This is a bit gratuitous, and the World Cup link feels forced.
Do people really eat more biscuity, wafery chocolate during football matches?
The creatives should be comfortable that they've done the best job possible to link the product to an unrelated event, but should they have been given the brief at all?
The Walkers Sensations (1) print execution is clever but only works effectively if you've seen the TV campaign that it feeds off. I hadn't, and it took a moment to get the film reference and identify the product. It's also a brave use of a celebrity who, to be frank, has been back to the buffet a few too many times since this ad was made. Gavin Henson must look at this and weep. Also, I'm puzzled as to why it's running in a back-half position opposite a full-page mortgage ad in the Sunday Express financial section (4 June). Note to media buyer - that is why the page you were offered at 6pm on Friday by those generous chaps at the Express was free, and you should take better care of your brand.
To finish on a high with the Army (4) Everest commercials (ho, ho). The footage was obviously filmed on Everest, not in a studio, and the fact that the Army team was going up the hard (West) way makes it a bold strategy to use the expedition to exemplify the benefits of an Army career. Apparently footage was downloaded from the mountain almost daily and edited into films that aired within two days. The result is a set of naturally impressive Army blokes talking in an unscripted, passionate way about why the Army is a good way to develop your career. Big effort to push applicants towards the website and the results appear very impressive - 500,000 unique visits in seven weeks. This was a brave route to take in many ways - the footage may have been poor and the technology could have screwed up. Much respect to the team at Publicis for grinding out the idea, which has been discussed with the client over a period of two years.
1. WALKERS SENSATIONS
Client: Dominic South, senior brand manager, Walkers
Brief: Relaunch Walkers Sensations
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Peter Souter
Art director: Mike Durban
Illustrator: Michael Koelsch
Exposure: National press
Project: Citrus fruit
Client: Sarah England, head of marketing, Waitrose
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Chris O'Shea
Art director: Ken Hoggins
Director: Stuart Douglas
Production company: Nice Shirt Films
Exposure: TV in London and South East
Project: Brand insert
Client: Matt Button, customer relationship marketing and database
Brief: Introduce the Lexus brand and encourage brochure and test-drive
Agency: Partners Andrews Aldridge
Writer: Helen Sharp
Art director: Carole Epplestone
Designer/photographer: Pete Gardner
Exposure: 700,000 inserts in national newspapers and motoring titles
Project: Everest West Ridge
Client: Mark Bainbridge, marketing director, Army Recruitment Group
Brief: Attract new recruits, highlighting the Everest West Ridge
expedition as an example of the non-combat training troops can undertake
Writer: Robin Garton
Art director: Alistair Ross
Production company: 2AM films
Exposure: National TV, radio, press, online
Client: Bill Cronin, vice-president of brand marketing, MasterCard
Brief: Celebrate MasterCard's sponsorship of the 2006 Fifa World Cup
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: Stephen Ward
Art director: Stephen Ward
Director: Mike Middleton
Production company: Peter Gird Productions
Exposure: National TV
6. KIT KAT
Project: Kit Kat World Cup
Client: David Rennie, marketing director, Nestle Confectionery UK
Brief: Promote Kit Kit in the run-up to the World Cup
Writer: Michael Campbell
Art director: Colin Jones
Director: Chris Palmer
Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: National TV