07 March 2013
I remember the first one of these I was asked to do. It was such a big deal. A write of passage (ba-dum ching). I think I sent a copy to my mum to try to persuade her that I’d got a proper job. Didn’t work.
Anyhow, I thought I would share that spangly, box-fresh, new feeling of "my first Private View" with some friends. Thirty-seven of them. Say hello to the School of Communication Arts class of 2013. And, blimey. I used to think I could be a tad blunt, but I’ve got fuck-all on this lot. I’m constrained. I know most of you. Dammit, I’ve worked with you. We all have baggage. They don’t. So here’s the unfettered stream of consciousness. Sorry.
Cadbury came up first. "There is so much pressure on the creative due to the huge success of the gorilla and eyebrows, I understand that. But they have gone from doing something so original because it is so random to doing the most obvious thing – I don’t see the logic in that." "It’s a lot of effort for very little pay-off." Or from another perspective: "It’s like when someone takes you on a really long road trip, all the kids are asking ‘Are we there yet?’ and everyone’s getting really excited. But, when you get there, it is a shithole."
And then Yorkshire Tea. "It’s like an American nightmare, it’s not shit enough to be British – imagery is wrong, I wanted the people in the teabags to be lowered into a massive vat of boiling tea and burn to death. That’s British." "Would have been funny if the two guys had gone away to have a proper cuppa – that’s what would actually happen in Yorkshire."
Durex didn’t fare much better. "It reminds me of a hospital and so takes us to the ‘wrong place’." "I thought this was about STDs – I was waiting for blood and disease." "It should be about love and sex, but this is so impersonal." "I associate the brand with good advertising and so I feel disappointed." "What’s special about it? If you go online, do something creative – don’t do something between TV and online like this."
And then Foster’s. "Not incredibly inspiring, but cinematic and engaging, especially in comparison to Yorkshire Tea." "These are the same characters as the ones sitting on the beach – ‘good call’ was about situations you could relate to, you hear people saying it down the pub. They should have carried on with that – it’s a mistake to use them for a heritage ad."
And, finally, Anchor. "I think this ad took us on a journey. It has a John Lewis quality and would touch mums." "I think if you watched this again and again, you would catch on to different things – this is the only one I would want to watch again out of the ads we have seen."
It also sparked an eddy of debate: "If you always buy Lurpak, this is not a game-changing ad" was countered with "But it’s only butter, isn’t it – nothing will be a game-changer", which was parried with: "Then why are we here? What’s the point of advertising?" Discuss.
Jayshree, Tom, Martins, Max, Andrea, Rojan, Tom, Maria, Tom, David, Zishaan, Gavin, Joshua, Serhan, Jack, Tom, Charlotte, Duke, Milan, Tom, Melanie, Andrea, Michael, Julie, Nick, Brodie, Rebecca, Ran, Caroline, Laith, Vicky, Jack, Olivier, Mimi, Laura, Hayley and Victor – take a bow. You’re on the bench, now get in the game.
Making ads is hard. Really hard. Making bad ads is hard. Making good ads is hard. In the darkest of nights, it’s very easy to fall back on the tried and tested. The trick is not using them until you absolutely, definitely have no choice. A bit like nuclear weapons. Or recently purchased frozen beef lasagne ready meals.
People really like big stuff. And people really like tea. Yorkshire Tea combines the two, where villagey people worship a giant teacup and all its accoutrements. "Make the product big" is no bad shout but, given this is supposed to be about sponsoring cricket, we’re thinking there could have been (and probably was) something more connected on the table. Isn’t cricket the only sport that stops for tea?
Post-gorilla, Cadbury has been "showing the magical factory" like it’s going out of fashion. Here, it flogs a beautifully made and quite living horse pretty well. While Joyville has never quite done it for us, the idea that its secret ingredient is printed on the pack is great and a lovely comic reward for those who stick it out to the end.
Durex. A dream brief. Or is it? Two films here – part of a social media campaign, we’re told. They’re completely different and don’t do each other any favours. Maybe it’s an insight that works really well in social, but we’re not sure if we’re either surprised or particularly care that the closer you get, the more your heart races, and the films feel a little 1994. Perhaps as far as dream briefs go, it doesn’t get much harder…
We’re left a little unsettled by Foster’s. Not from the ad itself (as if we needed any more encouragement, it really makes us want to drink beer), but from the suspicious content. The conspiracy theorist in us suspects someone went on a lucrative tour of marketing departments, selling provenance and heritage as a must-have for all brand key-onion-egg-doughnuts. We love "good call". But, here, we open in 1888 and not a telephone or lad-based conundrum in sight. There are Brad and Dan, but why are they dressed like that? Because it’s 1888. Wait, what? Is this the emerging threat of the craft lager market, or just plain indulgence? We can’t see that Foster’s drinkers could care less about heritage and those who would only have to read the legals – brewed in the UK. Bring back the beach and the budgie smugglers please and spare us the internal comms.
Then, Anchor butter. Call us sentimental, but it’s really rather ruddy lovely. It’s not wacky, edgy, clever or social. Just well-observed and strikes a chord. There’s probably something hormonal going on here too, as we’re both "of the age".
And while the middle-aged folks are a little less balding and overweight than we would like them to be, consider our cockles warmed.