Advertising is like darkness. The more there is, the less you see. I'm certainly in the dark and confused about much of this week's work. So I checked it against the briefs conveniently supplied by Campaign, but which unfortunately won't be available to viewers of the work in the real world.
The Weetos (2) brief says "build the Weetos brand by highlighting the combination of delicious chocolatey taste for kids and the reassuring wholegrain Weetabix goodness for mums".
It's the old "best of both worlds" proposition, but the work, in which an animated Weeto acts like a boxer and a karate expert, doesn't answer this brief. Instead, they seem to be making some kind of strength claim. I did glimpse a few frames of packshot in one of the spots that read something about being fortified with iron. Was I supposed to have spotted that and, if so, why was it only visible in one ad?
Confusion rating: Total.
Orange (1) RockCorps sets out to raise awareness of what is a really great initiative of volunteering for work in return for tickets to an exclusive gig by bringing us an interactive site where friends can upload their voices and recreate songs from bands such as The Ting Tings and MGMT. I can imagine some pretty cool and funny tracks emerging from the site as awareness of it grows. My only niggle is: does it really raise awareness of RockCorps? Or is it better to just view it as a bit of harmless fun?
Confusion rating: Slight.
Patak's (3) is "why Britain loves curry", apparently. Oh, really? Well, I love curry and have a cupboard full of takeaway menus and Andrex to prove it. But I've never bought a jar of Patak's. This feels like a bit of an over-claim.
The film is a story, told by the young Kirit Pathak, now the company boss, about growing up in Britain. The perhaps slightly rose-tinted claim here is that the ad "evokes childhood memories of 60s Indian immigrants bonding with their UK neighbours over curry".
Everyone is happy. People are smiling in a "not in the least bit threatened by or wary of the new neighbours" way that will probably have Enoch Powell spinning in his grave.
Confusion rating: Korma.
Fox's (4) Rocky biscuits bring us the British Biscuit Advisory Board: quite a fresh take on a very old genre - the public information film. These ads are from Mother, so they're Mother trademark daft and there's a website that continues the theme. I wasn't sent the website but Googled it because none of the ads told me what kind of biscuit a Rocky is. The website doesn't either. Will anyone buy a Rocky just because they've been "Advised" that it's a biscuit? Despite all the wacky humour, this feels like a job only half done.
Confusion rating: Dazed and.
The Green Party (6) has had a pop at Labour over losing a European election. Old news? A waste of funds? It certainly is.
Confusion rating: Well, this is politics.
ITV (5) has gone all Sky Sports on us. "We are football united" is one of those chest-beating, shouty, over-passionate mood films that try to convince us that "they" love football as much as we do. Mitchell and Webb's football sketch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MusyO7J2inM) summed it up, really.
"The irresistible force of Portsmouth meet the immovable object of Southampton in a clash that's gonna go down in history as one of the many football matches that are happening this weekend."
This letdown comes after the really nice FA Cup campaign from last season.
Confusion rating: Akin to Cantona's poetry.
That's it. I was worried that my confused condition was making me look like I'd had a stroke until I read this: "I pretty much try to stay in a constant state of confusion just because of the expression it leaves on my face." It's a quote from Johnny Depp.
CREATIVE - Graham Daldry, creative director, Specsavers Creative
I was anticipating the arrival of these ads via my postman, so it was a little disappointing to be sent an e-mail with links to Campaign's website. Where's the romance in that? I had to remind myself that I always look at ads in a space about five inches by seven inches these days and that I hadn't seen a postman since late August, but it left with me with a feeling that something had been lost.
I turned sadly back to my computer screen. The first link was to some ads for Fox's (4). They said: store your biscuits in a tin and eat Rocky bars as part of a balanced diet. It is unusual to be sold biscuits in this way, and the ads are quirky, nicely animated and visually memorable. However, while they try hard to be interesting, their messages create a strong suspicion that the biscuits may not be.
The next piece, a viral ad for Orange (1) RockCorps, should have thrived in a digital environment, but didn't. After a few strangled noises, all was still. I asked my 15-year-old son to have a go, but he thought it was too complicated and gave up. I tried the help button next. It froze. This may be down to the deficiencies of our broadband connection, but it does seem to me that a viral with a help button is unlikely to be very viral.
ITV's (5) "we are football united" worked in so far as it downloaded and played. It has a lot of talking accompanied by some graphics. As a lifelong supporter of Ipswich Town, I like to see some proper football but never do. I was therefore particularly sensitive to the fact that this ad doesn't show football at all, and was left with the impression that ITV doesn't own the rights to any, which presumably defeats the purpose of the ad completely.
Next, the Green Party (6) has some posters to tell us that Labour is old news in Brighton, and attempts to illustrate this by showing key Labour politicians in a newspaper collage. Viewing these online required use of the zoom button to read the copy, and this revealed that while the Green Party might have some interesting things to say about itself, they are not said here. Instead, there's a by-election result that, by the time these posters went up, was probably old news.
Two links left. The first one is to Patak's (3) "Patak". This ad is one-minute long and attempts to make East Is East into a Hovis ad. It's nicely shot, well lit, well cast and no doubt big budget. It played about seven seconds at a time with a 15-second freeze between sections so I had plenty of opportunity to appreciate all this, and also to think about what a great ad it might have been. There was time to look at White Working-Class Mum and wonder what really would have been going on inside her head back in the 60s, and to reflect that Britain does love curry, but not like this. It's a timid rewrite of what must be a vibrant history. Played out on TV, the ad will be too polite to make anyone stop and look.
Finally, two Weetos (2) ads. First, a Weeto boxes a melon, gets his fist stuck and then bursts out of the cereal box, shouting: "I am wholegrain, I am chocolatey, I am Weeto." In the second spot, "chop", the Weeto karate-chops a Lego brick, and then delivers the same message dancing on top of the packet. I am genuinely confused. And that's good old-fashioned, analogue, what-planet-are-they-on-style confusion too.
Clients: Spencer McHugh, brand director; Ian Smith, head of brand
communication; Alex Snape, senior digital advertising manager, Orange UK
Brief: Raise awareness of Orange's volunteer programme, RockCorps
Writer: Iain Tait
Art director: Andrew Zolty
Project: Boxing, chop
Client: Sally Abbott, marketing director, Weetabix
Brief: Highlight Weetos' chocolatey taste to kids and its wholegrain
Weetabix goodness to mums; a win-win at the breakfast table
Writers/art directors: Rich Littler, Zac Ellis
Director: Ed Petterson
Production company: Aardman
Client: Peter Baxendell, marketing director, Patak's
Brief: Relaunch Patak's curry sauces
Agency: JWT London
Writer: Jason Berry
Art director: Russell Ramsey
Director: Craig Cash
Production company: Rogue
Project: British Biscuit Advisory Board
Clients: Mike Driver, marketing director; Gavin Forth, marketing
manager, Fox's Biscuits
Brief: Raise awareness of the Rocky brand and drive trial among users
Art director: Mother
Production company: Blinkink
Project: We are football united
Client: Rob Farmer, director of viewer marketing, ITV
Brief: Communicate ITV's live football offering
Agency: ITV Creative (in-house)
Writer: Grant Hawksworth
Art director: Tom Box, Blue-Zoo
Director: Grant Hawksworth
Production company: ITV Creative
6. GREEN PARTY
Project: Labour is old news in Brighton
Client: Paul Steedman, director of target constituencies and General
Election leadership team, Green Party
Brief: Show the visiting journalists and members in town for the Labour
Party Conference that Brighton and Hove is choosing the Green Party over
Agency: Glue London
Writer: Dave Tokley
Art director: Matt Gilbert
Exposure: Poster sites around Brighton