They say honesty pays.
The last time I did Private View, I gave my honest opinion on the work I was reviewing and I pissed off so many people, I wish I had just bitten my tongue, toed the line and said everything was really, really NICE.
There was a friend who had directed something I didn't like, another friend who was a client on something I didn't really like, a client of ours who didn't like what I had written about something she was involved in and a team I know who had written something I didn't like.
This time, I have done some research and I know loads of people agency- and client-side who were certainly involved in the creation of some of this work, so I will try to be honest while treading on eggshells.
I start with the local BBC (1) radio ad. Lots of scenarios of people hugging local landmarks. It is nicely shot but very, very, very long and says absolutely nothing. It ends with: "If you love where you live, be part of it." How? Why? What for? It doesn't give me a single reason to tune in to my local BBC station. Yeah, yeah. Whatever. (Sorry, Mark.)
Ikea (3) catalogue. I have spent almost half of my career working on Ikea. Ikea is the first girlfriend I truly loved and this new ad is the first thing I've seen from her for ages, and she's changed. (But I've got loads of baggage, so I'm probably being overly harsh.) Basically, a bloke comes home to a house and a wife that he doesn't recognise. It's nicely shot, but feels a little bit "addy" and has to resort to the stereotypical "Oh shit!! My wife's now a lezzer" gag. (Sorry, Frances.)
McDonald's (6). Now opens at 6am. Again, very nicely shot scenarios of people who are not fully awake, goofing up. Nicely observed and, as it is with strong retail work, it does the job it was supposed to. (Nice one, Jim and Jonathan.)
Kingsmill (2). There have been several different campaigns for Kingsmill over the years and this feels quite interesting, but it never really got going for me. A woman becomes obsessed with and then eats the sandwich that her husband has made for his lunch. Could've, and really should've, been funnier and more engaging. (Sorry, Finky.)
Sony's (4) Twilight Football viral. Lots of irritating Spanish blokes persistently annoy a large bull by jumping over him and kicking a football at him. Allegedly, it's selling a new camera that gives you very high-quality images in low-light conditions. The message is shrouded in the smoke and mirrors of "people will be so intrigued, they will WANT to find out more". Very, very long and looks very expensive, even if the post-work looks a little clunky. Personally, I just found it annoying and really wanted the bull to gore someone.
Finally, like a waft of fresh Swiss mountain air through a teenage boy's duffel bag, comes the offering for the Department of Health (5). In the past, I have often felt that when ad agencies produced work for COI, they were sometimes more excited about impressing the ad industry with their creativity for what is often a very powerful subject matter, rather than having an impact in the real world. These ads use kids to talk directly to their parents about how they feel about them smoking.
I loved them. They are beautifully simple, very direct and very, very emotive. There have been so many overly "creative" campaigns done for this subject over the years and these are really refreshingly powerful for all the right reasons and I really hope they work.
It really feels like the agency worked very closely with the client and consumers to create something that will have an impact on real people and not necessarily awards ceremonies. (Well done, Dan and Helen.)
DIGITAL CREATIVE - Mark Cridge, chief executive, glue London
Imagine my disappointment. I get asked to do Private View and there's me waiting on a pile of VHS tapes and A2 laminated posters to hit the doormat in a big padded envelope, when all I get is an e-mail, with links to view some ads on the Campaign website. I mean, an e-mail, is that it? Has the whole world gone digital? Is nothing sacred? It's really not how I imagined things would start.
Anyway, now that I've pulled myself together after the initial anticlimax, I see that those tricksters at Campaign have, in fact, given me six films to review. I'm sure this is some dastardly plot so that I'll be forced to admit that TV is, in fact, the future. Hopefully, there will be a viral in there or something that I can shamelessly plug so that my honour remains intact.
First up is the latest anti-smoking campaign from the Department of Health (5), which uses real kids speaking direct to camera to really pluck at those nicotine-caked heart-strings. My immediate thoughts are that I've stumbled into an episode of Kids Say The Funniest Things. Is that bad of me? Should I not be taking this more seriously? But, then again, they're not really holding back and even though I'm not totally convinced that these kids spontaneously came up with these heartfelt pleas, they certainly do the job and would be hard to ignore.
Next up is a tasty number from McDonald's (6) pushing its latest breakfast menu. A series of fragrant little comic situations show just how brain-addled you can be when dragging yourself out of bed at some ungodly hour of the morning. Clearly only an Egg McMuffin is the answer and now you can get one from 6am. McDonald's usually leaves me with a bad taste in the mouth, but this ad is genuinely sweet and funny. Just what you need to face the day ahead.
I see what they were trying to do with the Kingsmill (2) "confessions" spots, but these are completely lacklustre. The pale and limp white slices just don't convince and the whole piece comes across as terribly contrived. Would benefit from a wholesome injection of wholegrain.
Phew, a viral from Sony (4) called Twilight Football. Now, if this is actually any good then you will already have seen it, which I had, and you'll know it's the one about the somersaulting (probably drunk) lads playing football with a bull in a bull-ring. This is as contrived as anything else I've looked at today, but it has the benefit of being bloody good and, most importantly, ridiculously entertaining. The worst I could say is that it's a little long and they did feel forced to squeeze in a silhouette of the product at the end, which, I guess, as I'm being biased, I would have to forgive.
It's change time, according to Ikea (3), which has a new catalogue coming out. "Dumped" is very nice and very subtle. Just like Sweden.
The BBC (1) excels at these beautiful long-form and slightly quirky montages and the latest promoting local radio is no exception. I can't help feeling, though, that there must be more to recommend about local radio than you should love it because it's there. It came across as rather defensive and overly protective. Rather than making the case for saving an endangered species, perhaps more could be made of exactly how I can actually be part of it.
There, all done, a very pleasant set of films with some clear highlights. Now all I have to worry about is, do I appear on the left or the right of the page? Have I been funny and insightful enough? Am I the main event or just Ridley Scott's hairdresser? I'm sure now that you're reading this, you'll have the answer.
Project: BBC local radio
Clients: Katie Avon, head of marketing English; Sophie Mather, marketing
manager BBC English regions, BBC
Brief: BBC local radio is the spark that ignites local life
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Art director: n/s
Director: Vince Squibb
Production company: Red Bee Media
Client: Jon Wilson, marketing director, Kingsmill
Brief: Showcase the irresistibility of Kingsmill and demonstrate the
brand's insight into modern life
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Martin Lathan
Art director: Ned Corbett Winder
Director: Mike Stephenson
Production company: Moon
Client: Geraldine Stewart, Ikea
Agency: Beattie McGuinness Bungay
Writers/art directors: Simon Bere, Laura Duffy, Joe Koprowski
Director: Peter Lydon
Production company: 76 Ltd
Project: Twilight Football
Client: James Kennedy, brand communications director, Sony
Brief: Create excitement and intrigue before Sony's Twilight Football
Writer: Jon Lon
Art director: Greg Fee
Director: Kim Gehrig
Production company: Academy
5. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Project: Real kids
Clients: Helen Duggan, campaign manager; Dan Metcalfe, integrated comms,
Brief: Force smokers to consider their habit and the distress it causes
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Matt Lever
Art director: Helen Board
Director: Jim Gilchrist
Production company: MJZ
Project: McDonald's breakfast
Client: Jill McDonald, chief marketing officer, McDonald's
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writer/art director: Tony Durston
Director: Vince Squibb
Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: National TV