23 September 2011
I'm afraid this week's Private View may be something of a disappointment to many of you. There are no smiling assassinations, no pleasurable put-downs of your friends' and colleagues' work.
Just love and respect. And an appreciation that good work has been done, in testing times, by hard-working and talented people. Because, this week, there's something to admire in all six pieces. Something to suggest that someone has gone the extra thankless mile.
Dior. Jean-Jacques Annaud, the veteran film director, has created a stunningly art directed and seamlessly post-produced piece of film for J'adore. No idea what it's all about, but that's rather the point. Like fashion, perfume doesn't adhere to the same codes of advertising as high-street products. They construct elusive, gossamer worlds that make no attempt to empathise with us. Which only makes us want them more. They are the cool kids at school. And we're the inbetweeners desperate to get invited to their parties.
Hi, I'm a friend of Charlize ...
NatWest. The idea, in case you haven't seen it, is that Michael Vaughan, in the best tradition of Candid Camera, is a ringer for one of the worst village cricket teams in England. Disguised by make-up and a wig, he takes to the field. The expectation is obviously of a dazzling match-winning performance. He's caught for 28. Whoops. Far from spoiling things, this little hiccup lends a lovely humility to the idea and to NatWest's involvement in grass-roots cricket. This is great fun online content. And judging by the attention it has received, a deservedly popular one. I loved it and I hate cricket. Properly hate it.
Kodak. A clear and engaging product demo ad, which I imagine the client is thrilled about. And so should the creatives be. They've obviously put a great deal of effort into making a really charming and feel-good piece of film that was clearly shot on a limited budget. Great track too. Nothing groundbreaking but enjoyable nonetheless.
Toyota. Another simple product demo with a clear benefit. Not as intrinsically interesting as the previous demo, but it's lifted up by a well-crafted animation style that evokes an 80s Beastie Boys promo and a bespoke track that contains enough information to negate the need for the usual patronising voiceover that talks down to us at the end of most ads.
Foster's. I like the TV for this. A bit of a guilty pleasure. The outdoor is a good extension of the thought brought to life with a clever piece of tech that encourages playful, active engagement with the brand when you're out and about. Basically, you can shoot yourself in a variety of smart or casual outfits and upload them to Facebook and share with your friends. Go on, you know you want to. Great to see how technology, social media and smartphones are rapidly transforming outdoor into such a vibrant living medium.
Bupa. OK, so I lied to you. But I did it for the sake of the greater good and the positive theme of the article. Unfortunately, this is where the love runs out. God knows I've tried, but I seriously can't find anything to admire about this spot. No extra miles were walked here. Lifestyle blah, blah, blah about something or other. Don't remember what. An ironing board that's really a surfboard. Really? Full of lazy and bland casting generics. Definitely lets the side down in an otherwise excellent week. Shame on you.
Gentlemen, I tip my cap to you all. (Not you, Bupa.)
Private View is the last unticked item on my to-do list before I head to LA to shoot a TV spot. My wheelie suitcase is packed and Addison Lee will be here in 40 minutes to take me to the airport.
So this creative smorgasbord gets no more than a hurried once-over. Which I suppose is no bad thing - it's how real people eat up their advertising.
The first link takes me to Foster's, which has done a "first ever". This, apparently, is the first-ever digital bus shelter that allows me to create and share content on Facebook. The experience is sort of OK. But does the world really need a poster that does what can already be done on a phone or a laptop? If we all have to carry bus shelters around with us to update our status, everything's going to get very complicated.
Sadly, nobody has ever let me near a perfume commercial. They can be brilliant - there is no rational story to tell, just vat-loads of emotion to serve up. This Dior fragrance film is from my ex-TBWA colleagues in Paris. Model turns up backstage at fashion show. Air kisses Grace Kelly. Marilyn Monroe applies lippy in the background while Marlene Dietrich sits on a chair showing her pins off. It all feels familiar and flat - an old idea, done badly. Which is a long way from a new idea, done well.
And now Bupa. This is nicely filmed and tries to sell me a tailored health plan by explaining that healthy means different things to different people. (Maybe, but I reckon we could all agree that healthy is not having kidney stones or a broken femur.) This looks like it started off life as an inspiring lifestyle film but got changed along the way into a heavy-lifting, direct response spot with big supers saying "search online" and "from 98p a day". Shame, because it ends up as neither.
The blurb with the next link says that Toyota is launching a series of pop video-inspired ads. Hmmm ...
sounds like any number of other ads. But then I watch, and the animation is good. The music works. And I pay attention to the whole thing. And what the hell - a car ad that looks like a pop video is a move on from a car ad that looks like a car ad.
Meanwhile, Kodak has made a commercial about cheap printing. Two urchins plaster an entire garden in colour run-outs of a football crowd, before having a kick-about in front of their home-made capacity crowd. There are some nice touches in the storytelling. But, sadly, these are undermined by the story itself, which is clunky and contrived. I just hope they recycled all that paper afterwards.
Last up is some decent online content from NatWest (5). Some years ago, Goldsborough Cricket Club notched up the worst innings in cricket history against their local rivals Dishforth (all out for nowt). With the help of NatWest, a return match was arranged. What nobody knew was that the Goldsborough side contained a secret weapon, a heavily disguised Michael Vaughan. Needless to say, the underdogs won, although, surprisingly, only just. A smart, engaging idea that I imagine will work well with cricket fans. Back of the net, as we football fans like to say.
OK, I'm off to Terminal 5 now. May your next brief be a gem and the client a pussycat.