This week's selection only goes to prove that it ain't easy to produce great work.
I know how hard the teams involved in this new Bacardi (1) campaign have had to work to get something half-decent on air. You in? is, I imagine, the new global communication platform for Bacardi. The ads are good. One features a couple of blokes who decide to zig when the world zags. Dressed as two giant fish they run a city marathon in reverse. We see them running against the flow of runners, being cheered on by the crowds, finally ending up in their local bar. Title: "Swimming up stream? You in?" The second is set in an apartment block. We see a group of beautiful young things enjoying the last of the sun on their balcony. As the sun moves off them and up the building they then move off, chasing the last rays of the day on to the roof, by which time they have picked up many other inhabitants ... title: "Getting the most out of the day? You in?" Nice scripts, well shot. Great music. But it left me feeling like the strategy hasn't unlocked the unique spirit of Bacardi, and until that happens, the truly great work won't.
The new campaign for Hovis (3) is "Hovis for life" - a sort of Muller with nostalgia. It neatly plays to its own advertising heritage. The ad's timeless styling nods to yesteryear, as two kids lark about in a wheat field on a summer's day. As we watch them, they subtly change into teenagers and then adults. As they walk away from camera, they are joined by their next generation. The cycle of life. A simple, elegant idea.
The IBM (4) direct mail piece does its job. You open a plastic, purple, long envelope (texture, size and colour all working to help set it apart from the rest). Inside you get a blingtastic heavyweight boxing belt with "SOA Champion" inscribed on it. Open out the belt and inside it explains itself: "you vs inflexible I.T." SOA isn't a product, it's an approach. It reads: Service Orientated Architecture. It was all working for me until then. I'm not sure quite how relevant the boxing analogy is to the service. If it does then maybe it could have been used within the copy to pack more of a punch.
Fairy (2) is softening our world. This spot is a sweetly animated fairy woodland, where mother and baby toddle through, encountering various hard objects such as a snail shell, which as they come into contact with them, turn soft. Given the beautifully simple proposition, I feel there could have been much more fun had here, and that would have ultimately given it more stand-out and been much more engaging.
Talking of hard things going soft, the next film is a viral for Charmin (6),which lists euphemisms of things that sound a little bit rude. The film visualises euphemisms such as "sink the brown", with an old lady playing pool. Or a woman dropping a log from a stack she is carrying. All very childish, and what is wrong with that, I say. It is what it is, and not to be taken seriously.
Same thing goes for the final piece of work. Again a viral, this time from Greenpeace (5). The film shows a guy arriving at work. Throughout the day he is oblivious to the nasty pranks that his colleagues play on him, spitting in his tea, sticking Post-Its on his back saying "I'm a prick" and finally we see him drive away in his car, which has "wanker" written in the dirt of his gas-guzzling 4x4. It feels somewhat unsophisticated, as it is preaching to the anti-4x4 league rather than convincing the target to change habits. As an ex-wanker myself, this would have done nothing to stop me from driving my 4x4. In fact, it almost made me trade in my Prius for something altogether more outrageously thirsty. Where's that Hummer dealer?
Next year's awards juries will probably be exposed to a lot of this work. I hope when the great and the good get together, some thought is given to the no mean feat of getting some good work out on some difficult challenges.
HAIRDRESSER - DANNY CROOK, HAIRDRESSER
I really liked the way this Bacardi (1) ad was lit and I like the soundtrack. I could see how the creative has progressed from the old Latin Quarter theme to seizing the day. My only problem with it is what do you drink Bacardi with? The traditional Bacardi and Coke is a bit naff. It almost feels like the brand needs to find a cool mixer. Personally, I think Bacardi could be nice to drink but it reminds me of pissed girls in pubs. A lot of my friends drink Sambuca and you never see that advertised.
The Hovis (3) ad opens with a little boy eating a sandwich. He's then joined by a girl and my first impression is that they're brother and sister. I couldn't get that out of my head, which made the rest of the ad a bit disturbing. And then when they started running, it reminded me of the film Children of the Corn, which also had kids running through fields. Again, this ad was nicely lit and reminded me of my recent weekend spent quadbiking through a freshly harvested golden field. But other than the incest connotations, I thought it was OK. I like the idea of taking a girl for roll in the hay and ending up with two kids.
I live in Reigate. It's the heartland of 4x4 Chelsea Tractors, and I own one myself. With this in mind, I was always going to be offended by this Greenpeace (5) ad. I think one of the problems with it is that Mr City Gas Guzzler seems quite likeable in the way he tries to make small talk with everyone. I was also left wondering about the non- 4x4 drivers with their big-engined saloons, particularly those who drive BMWs. Let's start having a pop at them too. Let's start treating them like the office paedophile.
In the Fairy (2) ad, a child wanders through a wood in an old-school Terry towelling nappy. I think the folk at Greenpeace would approve. Surely anything's better than disposables - they have a half-life of weapons-grade plutonium. Anyway, it was a nice little short ad, only let down by the lack of sharpness of the computer animation. But saying that, both my kids really liked it ... particularly the snails ... but then they really like snails.
The IBM (4) direct mail pack didn't really interest me, largely because I didn't understand what it was talking about with its SOAs and the other acronyms it used. My immediate thought was that it was something to do with E4 because of the purple branding. I thought it was going to be promoting a new boxing show on the channel. I think you need to understand all the jargon the mailing was talking about in order to really appreciate this.
I wasn't sure what the Charmin (6) online ad was all about when it started. All I had was a website - www.alittlebitrude.co.uk. It opens on a mother and her daughter preparing dinner. They're shaking the lettuce. It then inexplicably cuts to a man under a desk who shouts "I'm laying cable". I loved this ad - it's full of euphemisms for going to the toilet. And it makes you watch it again and again, because there are some you don't get first time. There are some I still can't work out. Squeezing a loaf, anyone?
Client: Stella David, president and chief executive, Bacardi Global
Brief: Embrace a more free-spirited attitude
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers/art directors: Jules Chalkley, Nick Simons
Director: Jim Jenkins
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: All media worldwide
Project: Softening your world
Client: Danielle Bibas, marketing director, Fairy
Brief: Fairy softens your world
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writer: Dave Beverley
Art director: Dave Beverley
Director: Brand New School
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
Project: Hovis is for life
Client: Brendan Rice, head of marketing, Hovis
Brief: Position Hovis as a great source of natural goodness
Agency: DDB London
Writer: Dylan Harrison
Art director: Feargal Ballance
Director: Simon Ratigan
Production company: HLA
Exposure: National TV
Project: Boxing belt
Client: Terry Lifton, SOA/Business Flexibility programme manager, IBM
Brief: Invite recipients to an IBM SOA event, with the simple thought
that the IBM approach to SOA can help "make you a champion"
Writer: Gary Melody-Bamford
Art director: Pete Jones
Exposure: Mailpack to 3,000 people
Project: Hand job
Brief: Raise awareness of the damage that 4x4s inflict on the
Art director: In-house
Director: Ben Sedley
Production company: Home Corp
Exposure: Cinema, viral
Project: A little bit rude
Client: Jan Huckfeldt, brand manager, Charmin Western Europe
Brief: Create brand awareness
Writer: Dan Glover-James
Art director: Adam Thompson
Director: Stephen Pipe
Production company: Another Film Company
Exposure: Internet, e-mail