21 February 2013
New-look Campaign. Handbag-sized. Not so handy for Private Views. Fewer words. Precisely 150 fewer words. Inconvenient for a rambling fuck such as myself. No room for self-indulgently labyrinthine sentences. Or superfluous punctuation. And I’m a big fan of superfluous punctuation. Parenthesis of all kinds. Commas and hyphens. Colons and semicolons. Slashes and dashes. Oh my.
So. A more brusque Private View than usual from me. Constrained by page-size. Slightly breathless. As such the syntax of this piece hiccups as if I’m masturbating furiously as I write. My apologies. This isn’t the case. Trust me. I find it too laborious to type one-handed.
O2’s new spot features the redoubtable thighs of Beyoncé. I’ve expressed before within these pages my admiration for Mme Jay-Z and her thighs. Together they possess a certain irrepressible grandeur. Please feel free to add your own gag at this point. The ad wears the skimpy clothing of your typical R&B music promo. Plenty of Versace-flash and Swarovski décolletage. With a neat twist of Versailles. Great on paper. Not sweaty or shiny enough on screen. A bit awkward. As is the inappropriately Sean Bean voiceover that jars across the last 15 seconds of the ad. Sean Bean and Beyoncé? Like putting soggy sprouts with lobster. Both delightful in isolation. Rather repellent together. Shame. The ad should have wiggled its ass more and cut straight to the Priority offer at the end. Would have been a contender.
Another ad that must have been great on paper is the new McDonald’s spot. Genuinely charming script. Redolent of the yet-to-be-equalled McDonald’s brilliance of the late 90s. Single-mum biffa invites her glue-sniffing boyf to move in.
Bieberish son gets the right fucking hump at said occurrence. Mutual acceptance established through shared hatred of gherkin. Very real-life. Except real-life doesn’t have embarrassingly maudlin music playing throughout. Too saccharine. Makes the ad resemble a daytime NSPCC commercial. Which is why when I first watched it I found myself expecting a far more sinister denouement. Also involving a gherkin. Of sorts.
I really do like Lurpak. Him Indoors would undoubtedly say I like it too much. Cholesterol. Evil. But it tastes so delicious. Damn its buttery eyes. The ads for the yummy yellow fat are also very fine. This one is a little reduced after so many similar iterations over the past couple of years. But still satisfying.
Executional comfort food.
New Churchill ad. The warm familiarity of that loveably baggy-faced old dog muttering various facts about insurance.
At least she’s a more interesting celebrity than Martin Clunes. Boom-boom.
Two ads for the new Old Spice Wild Collection. The first one has wolves in it. It didn’t make me laugh. Not sure why not. The other ad has hawks in it. It made me laugh like a drain. I really love the hawks one. I would tell you why. But I’ve exhausted my word count with this ridiculous comma-free conceit of mine. I’m such an arse. Just ask my wife. She has much empirical evidence of my arseness.
I’ve just had a week off before starting a new job. A week where the topic of "advertising" was off-limits and, instead, I’d be getting my head around the virtues of Bikram yoga, spinning and abstinence from alcohol. Not a normal week for me…
I took a bit of time off from all the healthy stuff to have a go at Private View, thinking that it might be a good thing to approach with a relaxed state of mind. But did the week’s best ads help me reach a Zen-like state of tranquility – or just make me even more wound up than I usually am?
First to intrude on my holiday bliss was the new Lurpak campaign. And what a great start. This, surely, is why we are all in this business. A brilliant idea when it was launched and an idea that just gets better with time and development. This latest execution is beautifully crafted with the same perfect tone of voice that we’ve come to expect from Wieden & Kennedy. A definite winner for calm Katrien.
Sadly, as soon as I cast my eye over the second entry on the list, the "pre-holiday Katrien" perked up (a little angry, a little on edge). Churchill. Not a campaign I have previously had much time for – but I closed my eyes, did a quick breathing exercise and the positive force within me figured that if Martin Clunes’ driving ban had freed the world from his relationship with the nodding dog, then maybe I was about to see something new from the brand. I pressed play to discover that Clunes had indeed been replaced by something new, in the shape of Dawn French. The fact she was in a dog pound quickly snapped me back to reality. Sure enough, there was "Churchill" – and there he was again, and again, and again. By the end, the brand name had been repeated so many times that it had started to take on a mantra-esque hypnotic quality. I don’t mean in a good way. Brand awareness is important, but there are smarter ways to get there than brain-numbing repetition. Angry Katrien was back in the game.
On to the next, in the hope that balance might be restored.
O2’s Priority proposition is a great one (not as good as EE Wednesdays, of course) and some of the past executions have been interesting. This one just makes me think that Beyoncé must have been a right bitch to work with. The link to the proposition is non-existent and, until the voiceover comes on, I don’t really see what O2 has to do with it. Shame, as this is a tie-up that could really have worked. Angry Katrien edging ahead.
Maybe a spinning class (dull, but supposedly worthwhile) was not the best preparation for the latest McDonald’s ad. The old me has been known to frequent the odd fast-food establishment, but what would the new me think of this ad? Well, both versions of me have an issue with the premise that "We all have McDonald’s in common". Do we, really? I actually think this is quite a lovely execution, but I can’t help but cringe when it gets to the brand bit and happiness is found over a burger. Even the old me feels that there’s more to life than that.
Thankfully, the last ad of the bunch is the best yet. Off the back of a great campaign for the main brand, Old Spice has launched a range of new scents that have a great positioning and on which Wieden & Kennedy has once again surpassed itself. It’s smart and funny and brilliantly executed. It made me happy. And you can’t ask for more from life than that.