04 August 2011
Nike. I don’t think this thing for Nike is great. Maybe it’s because I remember the days when every Nike ad kicked ass. "Kick it". "Good versus evil". "McEnroe swears by them". Remember?
So maybe the bar, for Nike ads, is set unfairly high in my mind. Anyway, this one doesn’t make it over that imaginary bar. It clips it.
Remember A Charity. Blimey. This is a bit contrived, isn’t it? OK, so it’s nicely put together and amusing. And the stuntman idea has impact. But is it relevant impact? Please don’t tell me that this Facebook-centric contraption is the best way to get the 50-plus market to leave money to charity in their wills.
Levi’s. When I used to work in monstrous global advertising agencies, we’d play "global bollocks bingo". The more global bullshit you could spot in an e-mail or presentation, the more points you got. See how much global bullshit you can spot in this press release from Levi’s:
"Levi’s will open the doors to the Levi’s Print Workshop in Berlin. The Workshop is a community-based screen-printing space designed to facilitate creative production and collaboration… It will serve as a community-based extension of the Levi’s brand’s global creative platform, ‘Go Forth’, which pays homage to the pioneering spirit of the brand and acts as a rally cry to create positive change in the world today and celebrates today’s pioneers who are taking action to build a new and better future…"
Wow. If you’re playing "global bollocks bingo", that’s a full house!
MTV. The brilliance of MTV idents is that they’ve been doing the same thing for, what, 20 years? Crazy animation or film that segues into the letters "MTV". Look at "MTV idents" on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean. There are thousands of them. This new one is pretty nice. Yup. A nice ident in a long line of nice idents.
Moneysupermarket.com and Comparethemarket.com. Earlier this year, we got involved in pitch for a new insurance aggregator. We pulled out for various reasons. One of the reasons was that we felt that the last days of insurance aggregators as we know them were upon us. And, therefore, that the new aggregator we were pitching for was unlikely to succeed.
I had never used an aggregator before. So while we were doing the pitch, I bought two policies from Comparethemarket – just to see how it all worked. One for my car. One for my motorbike.
The policy I bought for my car was OK. I chose the second-cheapest one. The cheapest was with Sheilas’ Wheels, which I found odd given I’m a bloke. I feared it’d require me to have a sex change if I wanted to make a claim.
The policy for my motorbike was and remains a complete disaster. If I ever try to talk to the insurance company in question, which I’ve needed to as I changed my address, all I get is call waiting. Hours, days, weeks spent on call waiting. One day, I sent them 100 e-mails, just to see what happened. Nothing. Sod all. They are literally impossible to get hold of. God knows what would happen if I had to make a claim.
Anyway, my point is that I think the aggregator model is bust. And I think these ads reflect that. We all love the meerkat advertising. But a free meerkat toy with every insurance policy? Come on.
And the new Moneysupermarket campaign would have been OK in the 80s for Carling Black Label. But for car insurance?
Please, Mr Insurance Salesman. There’s got to be a better way. Find a new-business model. Add some value to your policies. Service me better. Reward me for my loyalty. Find a new way to make my life easier and to deliver me value. Develop some innovative products.
I’m happy to buy beer and yoghurt from clowns. But not my car insurance.
I was first introduced to the wonderful world of advertising more than 25 years ago – a world without the internet, Facebook or Twitter. The location manager was a sort of esteemed god as he was the only person on set who carried a mobile phone, despite the fact that it was the size of a house brick. We didn’t care – it was progress!
The scariest thing has just dawned on me that none of the runners at Stink were even a twinkle, let alone born, when I was starting out. So, with more than a quarter-of-a-century working in "the business", I thought that contributing to Private View would be a cinch. Suddenly, I have got stage fright and am having flashbacks to my disastrous best man’s speech delivered to an austere and remarkably silent military crowd.
So here goes, kicking off with Comparethemarket.com. The meerkats are back in another fresh spot in this long-running campaign from VCCP. In "simples rewards", we see the little fellas interacting with humans in the real world. There are so many things I love about these scripts; they are always funny and entertaining while still delivering a clear message.
This time, it’s what the nation has been waiting for. Buy your insurance through Comparethemarket and you get to claim your very own toy Aleksandr or Sergei. It’s always a tricky one, mixing puppets and people, but this is seamless. Each time, these films take us on a new adventure – they are always a surprise and always a pleasure to watch.
Next up, we have Remember A Charity. All charity work is good work. This is nicely crafted but, for me, it would be punchier and far more engaging with a shorter edit. Stay safe, Rocky!
And now on to Levi’s. This brand is quite close to home for me. Obviously, things have come a long way since I shot "creek" with Sir John Hegarty. I think we had a maximum of five mobile phones on that shoot, although still no Google.
While I think it is good to give exposure to young artists, I am not sure where they are going with this one. It’s a well-cut documentary-style film but, yet again, far too long. I feel that I could just as easily be in Nike or Vodafone world when I’m watching this. Either of their logos could have been slapped on the end, which makes me feel as though Levi’s does not really "own" this spot.
MTV. What can I say? Meerkats on acid! I like this ad. It is a full-on 20-second rush of great animation. I think MTV is the world’s greatest film school, where young promo directors are given a platform to cut their teeth quick and fast. Sterling work from The Mill, there – long live MTV!
Surf’s up with Moneysupermarket.com. How can you not like this ad? It’s epic. A rollercoaster of pleasure, from the sexy Speedos to the exploding barbecues. Great casting, perfect performances, big-wave croc-riding and then all topped off with that genius endline: "You are so Moneysupermarket." But, best of all, it’s not up it’s own board bag.
On our last shoot in Miami, the production manager had a great saying: "Go big or go home." Well, Mother went big on this one and it makes me smile every time. It’s so British, it’s so good, it’s the script I wish had landed in my inbox!
Finally, Nike. It is refreshing to see something simple after the big Nike blockbusters that have gone before. This spot has a charm about it – a nice blend of music with characterful animation. Oh, God, I’m starting to sound like a wine critic and I think it’s time to shut up. But, seriously, I do like this film with its old-school vibe and great choice of music. It makes me want to buy Nikes all over again.