29 June 2012
I saw a cropped version of this ad the other day and I got so annoyed I cancelled all meetings, rushed home and kicked my dog right up his arse. "What happened!" I screamed as I booted his black-and-white rump around the house, children and wife screaming. "Harvey Nichols used to do great ads!" Then I got soaked to the bone by the Storm of Piss. I saw the PR and then the uncensored ads, and everything became clear. There was a lot of noise about this campaign and, as a result, it will probably work, but is PISS a step too far? I was a huge fan of the Benetton campaign when it first came out back in the old days, and I applaud Harvey Nichols for being ballsy enough to skate on similarly thin ice.
Many years ago, when I was a lad, Michel Gondry shot a very cool Levi's ad with human rats and now, several years later, the same agency has created a similar ad for Britvic's J2O, with human cats and dogs, and a human mouse right at the end. It's good fun, it's very nicely shot and there are some lovely touches. And I know the team that created it probably weren't even born at the time of the Levi's ad and that consumers probably wouldn't give a shit, but I feel I've seen this idea several times before. The bigger question is: does that matter? The dog got a sly clip on his arse for that. Not a kick. Just a clip. With a soft shoe.
Next up is a very dramatic piece for Safestore, with a young lad giving his skrunky, old, one-eared bear the emotional "I'll be back ..." speech. It is beautifully shot, the production values are very rich and the performance is really nice.
It's nice. Nice. I've seen it a lot on the box - it makes me neither angry nor happy. The dog looks at me. I look back at him. We look at each other. Unsure of what to do next.
We pitched for BMW a while back and when we didn't win it, I kicked my dog's arse so hard, he turned inside out. Twice. But, unlike my dog, I bear no grudge. This is a beautifully shot film for the global launch of the new BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe. The idea is: it's as rare as an eclipse. It looks great, it has got an awesome music track and the car looks amazing. The idea is not massively original; what saves it is the delicious production.
Notonthehighstreet.com has saved my dog from an arse-kicking on a variety of occasions, so I felt really bad kicking his arse when I saw this ad for Father's Day. It attempts the emotion of the recent tear-jerker John Lewis work and it's very beautifully shot, but it left me totally cold. The end-frame and client info come out of nowhere and feel disjointed.
Finally, a series of viral films for Comic Relief and the Woolly Actors Guild to help support equal rights for woolly actors in movies. It's very contorted and very contrived, but once you join in, it's really funny content. The highlight for me was the Jaws scene with Bungle from Rainbow: the post work is exquisite and the script is very funny - absolute genius. The dog's arse is safe.
Would I ever piss myself over a pair of shoes or a great dress? I haven't yet, though I did wee myself at five years old because of a packet of walnuts in a supermarket (longer story over a glass of wine). Harvey Nichols ads are always a favourite of mine and this one definitely pushes it further than it has gone before. It stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder whether you were actually allowed to show piss in an ad. Is a wet female crotch attractive? Perhaps. Perhaps that's why I like it. Though I did prefer the one where the man wets himself.
From fashionable incontinence to inter-species frolicking with J2O. I don't entirely know what's going on here, but that doesn't stop me liking it. It's shot by a directing duo I am a big fan of: The Daniels. These guys are absolutely killing it in the music-video world at the moment, and it is so nice to see the ad world embracing them too. They have such a bonkers take on the world and you can see that here. They are super-young - like, 24 or something crazy. So young and so damn talented. The ad itself reminds me a bit of that old Levi's spot Michel Gondry did with the mouse heads in the car park, but that is no bad thing ...
Then to storage, which should be one of the most boring subjects to advertise. But Dougal Wilson, of course, makes it seem like the most exciting and dramatic thing around. What's more, the Safestore (2) ad is the second brilliant storage ad he has done (I also loved his Big Yellow Self Storage Company one from years ago). His mastery at how much incredible action he can get happening in one shot always blows me away. And, knowing Dougal, it is probably all in camera. Dougal, is there going to be a storage ad trilogy?
Next is the pretty brilliant and superbly ridiculous idea for Comic Relief. I love the performances and attention to the detail of each film. I couldn't decide on my favourite one in the series, as I liked each one as much as the next. I still can't believe how Monkey lives on ...
I guess a great character has endless appeal.
On to some pretty stunning images for BMW. Again, I'm not entirely sure what is going on, or what an eclipse had to do with a car, but I liked the photography.
The last of the ads is for Notonthehighstreet.com. It took me a moment to figure out how to say the name, but when I got past that, I enjoyed the charming ode to dads. I grew up in Australia, so fathers over there were far more like Alf Stewart or Steve Irwin than this polite chap, but I liked the sentiment all the same. (By the way, is that his wife or his daughter who gives him a gift? Or did I miss the point?)
Thanks for having me.