31 January 2013
So this is what happens when your writing partner is off for a few days – you end up writing a Private View with the sole fear of how unwitty you are going to come across as. But, hey, how hard can it be, right?
*Two days later*
So I reckon I’ll just get on with what I think as an art director.
We start with another in the series of Visit Wales work. I find this campaign rather charming and it’s nicely executed.
The Welsh aren’t trying to fool us with what they’re not and are instead saying that if you like bracing walks and culture, then Wales is for you. Not rock and roll, not rocket science, just Wales.
Next on the list is Truvia, which seems to be a sugar substitute from some plant you’ve never heard of. Not that this is important. What is important is that it’s sweet, rather like its two anthropomorphised flower heads. I like the idea, I’m sure it will stand out. I also wanted a bit more, but I’m not sure there’s much else to say.
Next is Barclays, which has not been winning many popularity contests lately. So it has decided to appeal to the parent in us all, showing us an understanding of the bloodsucking leeches that our children are and how, when we’re old, we’ll laugh at how they’ll go through it with their own children. But don’t worry, if you invest in Barclays something or other – oh, I’ve lost interest. It’s nicely directed, written and performed, and I warm to the idea but not who’s delivering it.
Ikea, on the other hand, is fully aware of the amount of crap we have in our homes before we have children, so it has made an ad showing us what it’s like to live with a serial hoarder, or, as I like to call them, human beings. It’s boldly executed and all the whizzy things Ikea can offer us to declutter has me wondering how to sort my own cupboards out. I just wish the music wasn’t so down as I love the tone of the previous commercials.
The last thing on the list is some print for an energy drink called Pussy. I’m not sure where to start. It all feels a bit 90s to me, written undoubtedly by blokes but designed with feminine products in mind. I’m not sure who it’s aimed at or why. The energy drinks market seems so sophisticated with the likes of Red Bull redefining its marketing that this just seems a little naïve. Either that or it’s depending on a PR strategy based on the complaints it will receive to double its media coverage.
I went to Wales camping once with some mates, one of whom was seriously mentally ill. We set up camp, built a fire, filled "the nutter" full of diazepam and walked to the local pub (you couldn’t take him to the pub, he’d just try to fight everyone). We got pissed and came back to find "the nutter" sat in front of the fire in the rain asleep. The soles of his cheap boots had melted into a puddle of simmering rubber over the fading embers before him. It was a beautiful sight, one I most remember Wales for. The work for Visit Wales makes much less disturbing use of this country’s incredible scenery. It’s a great piece of thinking, perfectly targeted. Clever stuff from clever people.
There’s nothing worse than having to explain a load of shit you don’t want to (a bit like having to do Private View, really), but I was arrested once for "criminal damage", which later became known as graffiti and more recently and repulsively as street art. My mates and I sat in a police station for most of the night sometime around 1983 forced to explain what hip hop was, and how graffiti was part and parcel of the movement together with the music and the hoods, puffers and Adidas shell tops we were wearing (at the time, we were the only six kids in the country who looked like that). It didn’t work; they just thought we were wankers. We all got juvenile records.
The campaign for Truvia here today has to explain a lot of shit – you know, new innovation entry to market stuff… it’s an all-natural sweetener/sugar replacement… made from a plant that… yeah, whatever already! But this work does a good job explaining a lot of stuff. Better than I ever did in that police station back in ’83 with my hands covered in aerosol paint and laces as thick as Mars bars.
Explaining shit you don’t want to is something you learn to do a lot as a young creative in advertising. Like why the handwriting on all of the cab receipts you’re claiming expenses for from the last two months is the same. And, more crucially, the same as yours. The Barclays ad for the Family Springboard mortgage explains more complex financial shenanigans with great flair. The ad is a cracker in that it manages all the explanation without sacrificing stature as a piece of work. Not easy. And the film is better shot than anything I’ve shot as a director yet. YET!
"Make room for your life," the new Ikea campaign from Mother says. Good thought. Simple, effortless to agree with – I like it. Make room for your death, for your mild depression, for your arse, for your pregnant 13-year-old half-cousin, for the disillusionment of failed love… this thing can run and run.
Now, for Pussy. I must be cautious here, right? No crass entendre. Don’t want to let myself down. So… Pussy… what could make for better private viewing? This glorious creation surely brings us to the screaming climax of today’s work.
Dripping with the effortless seductive simplicity and spunky thrust that good ballsy, cocksure posters need to thump through the tight hole of consumer perception, pounding brand and proposition deep into the very womb of human desire. So sorry. Banging work. Sorry again. Well done all.