Here's a good game. Every commercial I'm re-viewing today I'm Googling. Just to see if the above-the-line "collar" matches the online "cuffs".
Marks & Spencer (6) is 125 years old. And to celebrate, it's putting Twiggy in a commercial that stylishly marks the company's 125-year history. I Google "Marks and Spencer". My search reveals a whole load of stuff about its 125-year anniversary. So I'm delighted to report that Twiggy's collar matches her cuffs perfectly. Marks & Spencer has even created a special range of 125-year-old clothes. My mind starts to wander. What exactly will 125-year-old underwear be like? Corsets made of whalebone? Baggy old grandmas' stockings? Itchy bombproof knickers?
This Visit England (2) ad works so seamlessly with its website that it looks as though it is a website. But there's something really weird about it. It feels like one of those ads where the planner's insight has dominated the creative's execution. At the end of the commercial, a soothing female voiceover explains what it was all about. "However long you've got, there are thousands of ways to enjoy every minute of England. At enjoy England dot com." Uh?
Audi (4). This commercial is a product demo kind of thing with spinning coins representing the spinning wheels of an Audi. It's about Audi's fuel-efficiency. It seems to be saying that Audis are dual fuel. What, like the Toyota Prius? Slightly confused, I Google the last line of the commercial. Disaster. At the top of the SEO listings - way above Audi's own website - a blogger has written: "The new more fuel efficient Audis? Audi have made some bold claims recently. They are bollocks."
BP (3). A car is carried at shoulder-height along the roads of Cape Town by a team of people. It's intended to demonstrate how fuel- efficient BP petrol can make your car. It's a cute commercial, and must have been a nice shoot to go on. But the titles at the end are like War And Peace! They read: "At BP, we've developed a fuel that helps clean your engine. And it helps make it more efficient. BP Ultimate Unleaded can take you up to 28 miles further per tank. BP Ultimate. Clean Engines Work Better. BP Beyond Petroleum. Average 13 miles further per tank. Tested against ordinary fuels in a range of vehicles."
Perhaps a quick Google will make some sense of all this. It does! BP shouldn't have bothered with all those complicated bum-covering titles. It should just have directed us to its website.
Old Speckled Hen (5). A series of idents feature a fox looking for Old Speckled Hen beer. Geddit? A fox looking for a hen! It's a new campaign from a new agency. It's OK. I Google "Speckled Hen" only to discover that, online, they still have the old campaign from the old agency. It's completely different. Quick, brown fox. Take the old website down. Build a new website now.
This easyJet (1) ad is a good idea - capitalising on the politicians' expenses scandal. But the execution is muddled. Brown would never send a letter of this kind to both Darling and Cameron. So it doesn't make sense. And the mocked-up letter carries two logos. The House of Commons and easyJet. How confusing is that?
In spite of this, I go to easyjet.com and consider booking some flights. At least I can be sure that Brown, Cameron and Darling won't be sitting next to me.
CREATIVE - Fernanda Romano, outgoing creative director, JWT
I will start with Marks & Spencer (6). Being a foreigner, the really British brands (that's how I think of them) are quite interesting to me. I feel like I need to look at it from a different perspective in order to understand how the Brits relate to them. Less consumer-product brand, more Royal Family or five o'clock tea. Institutions.
Probably because of that, I find this one less than inspiring. After watching the Hovis ad - and absolutely loving it - it just feels to me that M&S (and Sainsbury's, for that matter) could have tried harder. I know how sometimes it takes us six months or more from coming up with an idea to testing it, to someone's better half having an opinion about it, to eight housewives also having an opinion, to getting the funds, to producing, to tearing it apart "because she is not smiling enough", to airing it. So I won't say Hovis was original and this isn't. It was simply much better.
Old Speckled Hen (5), on the other hand, was nice. If you only have idents and if you only have a few seconds and if you really only have "it's different" to say, this is a nice way to say it. Not great, but nice enough.
Visit England's (2) ad made me think of MasterCard - but, then, I guess a lot of stuff makes us think of MasterCard. The issue for me is that MasterCard poses a problem and then gives you a resolution and because I was in priceless-mode, I was expecting one from this ad. Which might be unfair, but when you write whatever = number these days, you are competing with serious GRPs.
Audi (4) is sweet and simple. Yes, there's been better Audi ads. Yes, there are better car ads. Yes, we've seen them coins before. But it's a pleasant-to-watch, straight-to-the-point ad, which we cannot say of many ads these days. And there are no cars in it, which we cannot say of most car ads these days.
Have to say BP (3) is one of those I wish I could like. Music is lovely. Production is beautiful. The cut is great. But I have seen that before way too many times. Sweet track, candid shots, surprised passers-by, even the odd one taking a picture with his cell phone; the gag with the movers ... it's all there. And, of course, the metaphor: we take you further. Even the mandatory BP guy in a uniform to guarantee branding throughout is there. Never mind that Halifax just did a load of that and that it also was repeating a formula.
Last, but not least: easyJet (1). Great. Simple. Funny. Me being me, I wish they had actually sent the letter, I wish they had sent text messages to all the MPs, I wish they had hung signs in front of their houses and stuff like that. But they did the ad and that's great.
On a final note, and because I am me, I had to go and check these ads from a real perspective. I thought since I am culturally biased and I believe there is no such thing as an isolated message anymore, I wanted to be able to judge it from not only a craft point of view, but a "pop-index" as well. A search on Twitter shows that the Brits are divided when it comes to Twiggy and M&S; some love it, some hate it, but the fact is they Tweet about it and this is great. Couldn't find any comments about Old Speckled Hen's idents or Visit England and only one praising The Mill's work on Audi and one person who liked BP's ad.
Sadly, no comments on easyJet either, which was quite surprising to me. Not to mention it makes my opinion quite unimportant. The ad I liked the least and was not impressed with was the one that generated conversation. Sad, but true. And, yes, if someone would like to know, I Googled comments about the ads, but I wanted gut reactions and not treaties.
Client: Paul Simmons, UK regional manager, easyJet
Brief: Show easyJet can save the business community serious money
Agency: Publicis London
Writer/art director: Jon Sayers
Exposure: National and Sunday newspapers
2. VISIT ENGLAND
Project: Enjoy England
Client: Visit England
Brief: Encourage people to enjoy every trip in England as a holiday
Writer: Rob Decleyn
Art director: Simon Micheli
Director: Richard Cooke
Production company: n/s
Exposure: National TV, outdoor, print, digital
Project: BP Ultimate takes you further
Clients: Nicola Buck, brand manager; Vincent Couffon, brand manager;
Lisa Gardiner, assistant brand manager, BP
Brief: Show how BP's developed its Ultimate fuel so it cleans your
Agency: Ogilvy London
Writers/art directors: Alan Morrice, Paul Diver
Director: Greg Gray
Production company: Aardman
Exposure: TV, radio, print, POS, digital
Clients: Peter Duffy, head of marketing; James Millett, national
communications manager, Audi
Brief: Showcasing Audi's unique Recuperation technology
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Adi Birkinshaw
Art director: Paul Yull
Director: Russell Tickner
Production company: The Mill
5. OLD SPECKLED HEN
Project: Seek out something different
Clients: Fiona Hope, marketing director; John Sharples, marketing
manager, Greene King
Brief: Communicate the pleasantly distinctive character of Old Speckled
Hen via sponsorship of primetime on Dave
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Nick Bird
Art director: Lee Smith
Director: Mark Nunneley
Production company: RSA Films
Exposure: Dave TV, online
6. MARKS & SPENCER
Project: Quality worth every penny
Client: Steven Sharp, executive director, marketing, Marks & Spencer
Brief: Create a campaign to celebrate 125 years of M&S quality
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Creative team: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Director: Steve Reeves
Production company: Another Film Company