It's the hottest day of the year. The England team have already blamed their bad performance on the heat. I've brought out my Birkenstocks. And it's very distracting for a chap of a certain age wandering around London at the moment. If this is global warming, I think I'll go and drive my car around the block a few more times.
Which all brings us very neatly to the first ad I have to review this week - Boots (6). In it, we see the British obsession with grabbing every second of our limited sunshine. There's some really nicely observed moments in the commercial, such as bringing the office chairs on to the roof and the girl painting her toenails as she walks down the street. It's all done on such a grand scale and with such conviction that it really works for me. The choice of music keeps the whole piece feeling light and witty. I usually save the best for last in these Private Views, but this is by far my favourite of this week's bunch. So if you don't want to read me being miserable, stop reading now.
Next up is the follow-up to the Citroen C4 (1) "Transformer" ad of last year. I know the "Transformer" ad was hugely successful and much loved by many, but I couldn't really see what all the fuss was about. It wasn't a bad Citroen ad, but that's coming from a pretty low base. In the sequel we see the Transformer coming to life as a speed- skater whizzing around a lake and showering a bunch of scientists with ice as it comes to a stop.
Even given my dislike of the original, this is a pretty charmless remake, and the special effects (where they could have pushed out the boat a bit) are worse than the original. Recently, I read a critic who describes another remake, Poseidon, as a "floater". Ditto.
Just as we all thought the folks at Mother were getting to grips with Orange (2) and producing some really nice work, they had it wrenched off them in an international realignment. Here we have the victors: Marcel and Fallon's first new work on the account. In the commercial we see a goldfish trapped in its bowl bobbing around at sea, then escaping to join all the other little fishes. The point being life's better when it's open.
I'm afraid I've got no idea what that means. I saw this on air before I was sent it to review and thought it was for O2. The truth here is that it's rare for any agency to produce its best work for a client straight after a pitch and Marcel has proved to be no exception to the rule.
The new commercial for Beck's (3) fills me with even less joy than the previous two. I've sat on a few juries recently where the drinks category was the weakest, and this new offering from Beck's does little to buck that trend. I'm not quite sure what's gone wrong. Is there a different mood among the clients? Have the restrictions made it difficult to write anything decent? Or has it all got too logical? There was a time when a beer brief was a chance to write some great sponsored entertainment, but apart from Guinness, I can't think of any that are managing it.
To try to persuade people to buy the new Astra TwinTop, Vauxhall (5) has decided to send out T-shirts with illustrations of surfers, climbers and boarders on it. I've got a better idea - I bought an Astra and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.
Finally, we have some web banners for MSN (4). These are animated in a really charming style ... I only wish I knew what they were telling me.
Well, that's that. Sorry to be so miserable, I hope Campaign uses that photo of me with lots of hair, that'll cheer me up.
EDITOR - Martin Daubney, editor, Loaded
Boots (6). This 100-second distillation of the futility of our British summer is creatively magnificent. With three laugh-out-loud moments - the pot-bellied bloke trying to squeeze into yesteryear's trunks, the ice-cream van demolition derby and the mass golf tee-off - it brilliantly taps into the shared desperation of our "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" summer.
The funniest ad on telly at the moment: it's so sweet, you're absolutely sold on the product before you even know what it is. It actually made me hoof it to Boots and merrily buy its items in abundance - and for grizzled campaigners like me, that takes some ruddy doing. Brucie bonus points for its timeless Zorba the Greek soundtrack, too. Good work, Boots fellas.
Finding Nemo made me cry like a child (I'd had six gin and tonics), so this fish-based creative is on to a winner from the start. The humble fish is an underused creature in adland, but Orange (2) has trumped it with this tranquil, therapeutic slice of calm. You want that damned fish to escape its bowl - and when the rain finally comes and it swims free for England, you're practically shouting out loud. My missus loves this, it makes her go "aaaah" - which I normally take as a good thing. Only let down by the dodgy CGI three-quarters in, when the freed fish clearly morphs into a pixillated Perch.
Here we go again. The boys at Citroen (1) are milking this "car becomes robot" idea now. They're desperately trying to be cool, but instead it's the uncle dancing at the wedding. Not on the message. The second you see it's the C4, you know the car is gonna turn into a Transformer and do summat cheesy. This time, it's ice-skating and - hold the front page - the tin goliath sprays some simple-minded humans with ice. What next? The giant metal monkey plays darts - or becomes a fruit-and-veg man? Like the treacherous War Of The Worlds, so many ads these days are clever-clever CGI, but where are all the fresh ideas? Not here, my old son.
Beck's (3). You can almost hear the creative meeting here. "Beck's! It's got a four-step brewing process! Barley! Water! Hops! Yeast! Let's do four blokes doing silly dancing! Like David Brent in The Office! But with four steps!!!" Well, my mob and myself are hardened Beck's users - we love their work - and all we want is the condensation dribbling down the iced, Germanic bottle. This ad, on the other hand, just feels like a bunch of Hoxton cheddars justifying their overblown expense account.
The MSN (4) site looks like one of those naff Where's Wally? cartoons from the 80s. Either that, or with its flying policemen, trees with lightning bolts and angrily squawking, robotic parrots, it's the inside of most of my writers' heads at 5.00am after a very large night with the chaps.
Really, who's got the time to gawp at this so long as Blighty's bars serve perfectly good ales?
You've got to wonder what any company sending out oversized, starched black T-shirts as promotional devices hopes to achieve - especially when they feature graphics of undergraduates taking part in silly extreme sports.
Does Vauxhall (5) dream of keeping the humble work-experience child warm in bed at night? Is it its
goal to save a superior, purchased T-shirt from Dulux splats of a Sunday?
If so, mission accomplished. Otherwise, back to the drawing-board, gentlemen.
1. CITROEN C4
Client: Mike Ibbett, marketing director, Citroen
Brief: Continue the "alive with technology" positioning
Agency: Euro RSCG London
Writers: Steve Nicholls, Matthew Anderson, Justin Hooper
Art director: Justin Hooper
Directors: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, Ludovic Houplain, Herve de Crecy
Production company: H5
Exposure: National TV
Clients: Didier Quillot, president; Nicolas Guiramand, brand identity
Brief: Announce Orange's new version for a converged future, a future
where there are no barriers between us and the things we love
Writers: Manu & Florent
Art directors: Manu & Florent
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: Pan-European TV
Project: Brand campaign
Client: Chris Stagg, marketing manager, InBev
Brief: Communicate that Beck's is only ever made from four ingredients
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers: Paul Jordan, Angus Macadam
Art directors: Paul Jordan, Angus Macadam
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production company: Blink
Exposure: National TV
Project: The way news spreads
Client: Roy Schmidt, global consumer marketing, MSN
Brief: Encourage a young audience to download the next-generation MSN
Writer: Adam Lau
Art director: Sari Hamm
Animator: Philippe Vendrolini
Illustrator: Will Sweeney
Exposure: Across the MSN network, as well as gaming and entertainment
Project: TwinTop launch
Client: Louise Tant, DM campaign manager, Vauxhall Motors
Brief: Build excitement ahead of the TwinTop launch
Agency: Draft London
Writer: Dom Colbeck
Art director: Simone Rayner
Exposure: Mailing to 35,000 customers and prospects
Project: Summer rush
Client: Vicki Steel, marketing manager, Boots
Brief: Establish the Boots Sunshop as the ultimate destination store for
all summer health and beauty products, services and advice
Art director: Mother
Director: Garth Davies
Production companies: Independent Films, Exit Films, Automatic Films
Exposure: National TV