Guten Morgen meine Damen und Herren!
"We have ways of making you write a good Audi (1) ad," Nigel Bogle says.
Not a classic like "bull", but I reallly like this ad. It's very feminine, which is rare for cars, and a fantastic directional watch. There are lots of ads using body parts but this one is out on a limb (sorry). The choreography is stunning and every five seconds, something new attacks the visual senses. It could not have been a smooth ride for the director and editor, but the ad breathes German efficiency.
This strange guy in a white suit introduces us to his swampy band. They use the Budweiser (3) bottles and cans to crack through various retro tracks. These ads are believable, good fun and slightly odd. It's a big-budget brand doing a low-budget street-cred technique. The media spend will make these ads populist for sure. If the beer was Anchor Steam from Seattle, I'd be sold, hook line and sinker. Unfortunately, the use of the bottles and the cans don't mirror the consumers in this ad.
Talking of music, here's a four-minute cinema ad for Radio 1 (4).Being 49 and not a Radio 1 listener (I'm strictly talkSPORT and Radio 4 on a Sunday), I've asked some young creatives to pop over my shoulder and given them the full ad with one viewing only. Here's what they said:
Ravi (age 33) - "Doesn't feel real."
Katherine (age 30) - "It goes on for fucking ever!"
Natalie (age 21) - "Looks like an audition reel."
Italian Andy (age 31) - "It's like an ad for aliens."
Laura (age 29) - "I can see why they're on the radio."
Gav (age 39) - "It's a visualisation of the brief."
Stuart (age 25) - "If a decent narrative were interchangeable with ugly 3D work, cagoules, Kifayas and men wearing eyeliner, then we'd have something really big here. As it stands, we've got 19 of the most hungover people in the world spouting over-enthusiastic soundbites about how much they love the music they get paid a billion pounds to 'shove in our ears'. Can we watch the film now please?"
We can't be more honest. I don't think they liked it.
After the Radio 1 ad,I need an intermission. And Kit Kat (5) has delivered. It's an ad that pauses. Not much more I can say really. Great brand, great advertising heritage, half-decent ad. What could be simpler?
I've just been delivered a banana in a wooden box. I open the box and read the insert. It states: "We can't help with the banana's future, but we can help with yours."
Oh give me a break. Have a Kit Kat.
This piece of DM is convoluted, long-winded and meaningless. Nothing to do with my world whatsoever and, as HSBC (6) calls itself "the world's local bank", I can't believe it has slipped up and made a right monkey of itself.
From bananas to Oxfam (2). Be aware, be moved and be involved. Be humankind they tell us. Shove a black horse in here among all the doom and gloom and you'll have a good Lloyds TV ad. Oh guess what ... it's the same agency! Sorry, not very original, have heard it all before. Even the music sounds like Lloyds.
CLIENT - Dominic Chambers, former head of brand and marketing communications, Vodafone UK
Now I love a pint of fresh beer, and have always been astonished at the UK success of Budweiser (3), even though as a beer it's pretty insipid. It must be down to its marketing muscle and some very effective and entertaining TV advertising campaigns.
But I am not sure if this latest effort from Budweiser is going to be as effective. What is going on in this TV ad? Are they all pissed? It basically has half-a-dozen "normal Joes" and an old, fat guy in a white suit jamming together. Perhaps this is supposed to be cool, but the placement of bits of Budweiser packaging all over the instruments seems to be there to help the attribution in the post tracking. This ad does not really communicate anything, and certainly not "true dedication", which I believe is the Bud brand proposition.
Next up is the Radio 1 (4) cinema extravaganza. It's very simple, and communicates clearly the core offer of Radio 1, using the well-known personalities of the station. Even Annie Nightingale gets a look-in. You absolutely get the message that Radio 1 is the place for new music and you really feel the passion of the people on screen. Great ad, but I guess it helps when you have something as close to people's hearts as music
I also really liked the Oxfam (2) ad; it must be the first charity ad that does not jump straight on the guilt button. Its bold idea is "be humankind". It is a lovely piece of animation, featuring a little old dear, who is bewildered by all the many depressing things going on in the world. The ad culminates with a big "injustice monster", which she and others blast away with fire from their mouths. The ad then transforms from a dull sepia with an explosion of colour. The only risk to this is that it could be a bit of a generic "charity" ad, and so they will have to be very patient with the idea "be humankind" because it might take years before it is associated with Oxfam.
Now Kit Kat (5) is a great brand. For roughly 50 years, Kit Kat has been communicating "have a break, have a Kit Kat" - now that's consistency. Although a little under-branded for my taste (I am a client, after all), it is simple and powerful, and a great use of the poster medium. I should also confess that my six-year-old daughter got it before me, which must say more about me than her.
And to the Audi (1) ad. This is a beautifully crafted commercial (as they always are from Audi/Bartle Bogle Hegarty). I love the subtle branding at the beginning, using the gymnasts to mimic the distinctive Audi front lights. And from then on, I could sit back and enjoy the ride. It features a troupe of gymnasts cavorting around in a mechanical style ballet. It is very engaging and compelling, and the pay-off line "performance from every part" resolves that ad well. I am just not sure if it chimes totally with the Audi RS brand, which is all about massive power and masculinity, although that could very well be what the brief asked this commercial to "tone down" the aggression of an over-powered 500hp car.
And, finally, the HSBC (6) mailshot, which was a mock little wooden crate, with a banana inside, and it gave me the dire news that the banana species is doomed. It is a fantastic effort to get people to pay some attention to a mailer from their bank as they usually end up in the bin much quicker you eat a banana. The only quibble is that they should have added a web response as something like 80 per cent of all responses go through the web these days, or so I am told.
Now I am off for a nice pint of London Pride.
Project: RS6 gymnasts
Client: Chris Hawken, brand communications manager, Audi
Brief: Launch the new RS6
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Toby Allen, Jim Hilson
Director: Paul Hunter
Production company: Pretty Bird
Exposure: National TV
Project: Be humankind
Client: Julie Wood, director of corporate communications, Oxfam
Brief: Reposition the Oxfam brand to reflect what a modern, dynamic and
innovative organisation Oxfam is
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers/art directors: Steve Moss, Jo Finch
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: National TV
Project: True dedication
Client: Vicki Kipling, marketing director, Anheuser-Busch
Brief: Encapsulate Budweiser's passion and dedication
Agency: Fallon London
Writers/art directors: John Allison, Chris Bovill
Director: Harmony Korine
Production company: 2AM Films
Exposure: National TV
4. RADIO 1
Project: Meet the DJs
Client: James Wood, head of marketing, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1Xtra
Brief: Publicise the two stations' variety of DJ personalities
Agency: Agency Republic
Writer: Agency Republic
Art director: Agency Republic
Directors: Intro, Agency Republic
Production company: Intro
5. KIT KAT
Client: David Rennie, marketing director, Nestle Kit Kat
Brief: Reinforce Kit Kat's heartland within breaks
Writer: Laurence Quinn
Art director: Mark Norcutt
Photographer: Mike Russell
Client: Suzanne Aspden, head of HSBC direct marketing, HSBC
Brief: Drive consumer desire to make an appointment with a financial
Agency: RMG London
Writer: Kell Lunam-Cowan
Art director: Chris Jones
Exposure: Direct mail to 25,000 customers