Feature

The Work: Private View

CREATIVE - Simon Learman, executive creative director, McCann Erickson

I'll try to be gentle. But I'll warn you now, after seeing this week's work, there might not be a lot of love in the room.

First up is Comet (2). Now, I love these guys: they really know their stuff. And I certainly like the "we live electricals" thought. It's just a shame that the advertising doesn't reflect my point of view. This execution pays scant regard to the prowess of either the client or the planner. Bizarrely, we're shown an animated version of One Man and His Dog, over which a voice explains that Comet knows all about high-definition television. What? I'm obviously missing something. Oh yeah, a coherent creative idea. If I worked on the shop floor of my local Comet store, I'd be reaching for the remote by now.

The latest Rimmel (1) ad leaves me similarly underwhelmed. Kate Moss is found partying in a drained swimming pool with a bunch of lovelies. Her shiny lipstick proves impervious to the subsequent drenching they all receive. Kate emerges wet and, er, shiny. I can't tell you if it's about keeping moisture in, or out. You know what, whatever. Because let's be totally honest here; it's both strategically and creatively unremarkable. It's just ordinary. At best, you could only hope for a lukewarm response here. The only surprising aspect to this campaign is the speed of Kate Moss's rehabilitation.

Ooh, I so wanted to love the new Vodafone (3) spot. It tells of some magical fairy-like creature delivering news of a goal. Only we find that Tinkerbell has been suitably recast as a shirtless "Buster Bloodvessel" type. It's beautifully crafted. And it expertly delivers against the Eckhart Tolle-esque "make the most of now" strategy. Problem is, goal alerts aren't exactly the most original offering. More significantly, the film is too close for my comfort to an Orange campaign of recent years. OK, OK, I know I sound like an advertising anorak, but you must remember the car chase across the bar top? And what about the one with the guy watching his favourite (miniature) football team, from some temple in Thailand? Really sorry, fellas. I do like the campaign ... This execution just niggles.

I think we'd better look at some print.

The American Express (4) campaign is simple and to the point (hurrah!). As if Aids relief agencies don't have enough on their hands, they also have to contend with charity fatigue. But this exquisitely photographed campaign neatly ties up all the loose ends: the plight of Africans, brand message and consumer aspirations. Mater-ialism meets altruism. Bono's a clever bloke all right. This rather audacious charity tokenism might just work.

The Yell.com (6) work makes for an interesting offering. You couldn't get a more targeted campaign: local information delivered locally. Sadly, for me anyway, the work is highly functional but creatively uninspiring. Brian and I did struggle with the art direction too. If they can't even help you navigate your way around the ads then it doesn't bode well. Mind you, I know from watching Leeds United play away that all you need to know is how to find your way back from the police station.

Now, I love a nice bit of direct marketing. So the First Direct (5) mailer made me rub my hands with anticipation. Their opening gambit: Does your bank give you that warm fuzzy feeling? Hmm. Not sure about that. I would have thought six pints of cheap lager and a chicken tikka would've done the trick. But reading on, I discovered that it's all about creating banking that caters to my lifestyle. I loved Fuzzy Felt as a kid and this mailer is a charming way of communicating First Direct's flexibility.

Blimey. Not exactly a stellar week. I can't wait to review the Christmas ads.

CLIENT: Katie Vanneck, marketing director, The Daily Telegraph

OK, this is my first Private View. It's really quite an honour - getting to critique the creative work of others in the industry. And what a mixed bag it is this week ...

First up is Comet (2). To be honest, electrical-goods stores are not my first port of call on a weekend shopping trip, but high-definition TVs are big news - particularly after Sony Bravia's wonderful campaign. Continuing with its "we live electricals" theme, Comet's ad uses a sweet, Toy Story-like animation to demonstrate the experience of viewing HDTV. Overall, it gave me the impression that a visit to Comet might not be that bad after all.

On the other hand, the thought behind the American Express (4) Red card is fantastic - every Amex Red card user will donate 1 per cent to help fight Aids in Africa, a worthy cause if ever there was one. The ad itself is fine. It's a glossy ad appealing to the fashion fabulous. It doesn't set the world on fire, but then it doesn't need to - it's the accessory du jour and, better still, it's for a good cause. Gisele always catches the eye and red is obviously the new black.

Another firm fashion favourite is Kate Moss, and here she is again in yet another ad - this time for Rimmel (1). Rimmel stood firm during Ms Moss' latest scandal and didn't drop her, unlike other fashion brands - they clearly know what appeals to their demographic and they're on to a winner. The music is great and the ad absolutely captures that essential youth vibe. Not necessarily my thing, and not at all dissimilar to the other ads in the series, but effective nonetheless.

Slightly less effective is this standard offering from Vodafone (3). I think this ad might have worked better as a 60-second script; however, I am totally lost with the 30-second execution. A piece of airborne fluff leaves a stadium and lands on a restaurant table, interrupting a couple's romantic dinner. The fluff turns out to be a fat fairy-like England fan delivering the football results mid-meal, to the gentleman's scarcely concealed delight. Perhaps amusing in concept, but unoriginal on screen. It's a tired premise, the man wishing to be with his mates watching football rather than with his "lady friend", but then so is the service it's promoting- text alerts for sports fans is hardly a new idea. "Make the most of now"? I certainly haven't by watching this ad.

Now, this is more like it - time spent playing with my box of branded Fuzzy Felts from First Direct (5). This direct mailer is a great creative concept that supports First Direct's "banking to fit" proposition. It also combines those magical ingredients humour and nostalgia. The only slight disappointment is with the copy - "groovy"!? I think not - it can only have been written by a banker.

Finally, Yell.com (6). I enjoyed these ads to promote their "find it" service and thought for the most part they were well executed. The lunchtime online video ad is brilliant - really engaging and made me smile. The message is consistent and the maps are attention grabbing and effective and clear in what they're selling. However, some of the online ads, particularly the keyword banners, were clunky and infuriating to navigate. Overall, though, I liked the idea.

Right, I'm off to play with my Fuzzy Felts - that's definitely making the most of now.

1. RIMMEL
Project: Cool Shine Lipstick launch
Client: Emmanuelle Bonte, vice-president, global marketing, Coty
Brief: Launch Rimmel's Cool Shine Lipstick
Agency: JWT
Writer: Martina Langer
Art director: Liz Gilmore
Director: Trudy Bellinger
Production company: Crossroads
Exposure: National TV

2. COMET
Project: Park
Client: Susan Wilkinson, general manager, marketing and advertising,
Comet
Brief: Demonstrate how Comet can help consumers demystify technology
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writers: Rob Porteous, Matt Powell-Perry
Art directosr: Dave Askwith, Mat Joiner
Director: Richard Hickey
Production company: Vermillion
Exposure: National TV

3. VODAFONE
Project: Football magical messengers
Client: Kay Hoffman, senior global marketing communications manager,
Vodafone
Brief: Promote Vodafone's Champions League sponsorship
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Ian Williamson
Art director: Matt Kemsley
Director: Scott Vincent
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: Pan-European TV
Exposure: Pan-European TV

4. AMERICAN EXPRESS RED CARD
Project: Gisele, my card, my life
Client: Alison Bain, head of European advertising, American Express
Brief: Encourage people to sign up for the American Express Red card
Agency: Mother
Writer: Mother
Art director: Mother
Photographer: Nick Knight
Exposure: Outdoor sites across London, national magazines

5. FIRST DIRECT
Project: Create a bank around you
Client: Liz Carruthers, head of direct marketing, First Direct
Brief: Encourage prospects to open an account
Agency: Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel
Writer: Natasha Ali
Art director: Emma Robinson
Exposure: Direct mail

6. YELL.COM
Project: Results for real life
Client: Barbara Newman, head of communications, Yell.com
Brief: Increase awareness of Yell.com
Agency: AKQA
Writer: Phil Wilce
Art director: James Capp
Designers: Dan Wright, Chris Williams
Exposure: National TV, cinema, online, press, posters, digital