Caitlin Ryan

Executive creative director,

Marmite – I loathe it. But only because I’m a chippy Aussie pathetically loyal to my nation’s version of the black stuff.

Marmite advertising – I love it. The Marmite brand strategy is robust and consistently, stunningly simple.

Like a wonderful creative cocoon, it keeps producing butterflies all over the media landscape.

What I think helps with this particular TV execution is that it plagiarises the reality TV "animal rescue" format: familiar enough that you get the gag quickly and funny enough that you want to keep watching.

Its humour is well-handled and it’s packed full of wonderfully observed detail. A great example of how to use longer lengths – which, as an industry, we seem to be struggling to conquer.

Agent Provocateur. Two days into Karmarama and I’ve already worked out that the boys here are quite partial to a bit of soft porn (probably hard porn too – but it is only day two). Me… not so much. I have nothing against it when done well. When done badly – unless done so badly, it’s funny – it’s boring.

In this film, the narrative is so achingly clichéd, it makes my teeth hurt. And it’s long. I know it’s supposed to be voyeuristic, but everyone knows that a quick danger wank is so much more exciting than a long, drawn-out one (OK, I didn’t know that – but I am quoting Sid McGrath, who assures me this is the case).

It’s directed by Penélope Cruz, but still seems to be disappointingly misogynistic. Why does this always happen with lingerie advertising? I get that men buy lingerie for the little woman (and/or the other woman). But, really, have we not evolved at all? Do we women have no purchasing clout for something that we will ultimately wear? It all feels very Stepford Wives in its assumption. It would be wonderful to see a lingerie brand look at erotica through a female lens for once. It feels like it’s time.

The Sun. This ad is nicely crafted and, again, handles humour well; I am just scratching my head over the message. Do we not think consumers get by now that they can interact with content on lots of different devices and, because those devices don’t have wires (hence the giveaway name "mobile"), they can watch said content in the bath, up a tree, on their commute? Why are so many brands spending their money to keep telling consumers the same thing?

Dr Martens. I was hoping this would be good – because, personally, I really like what Dr Martens has been producing in the past couple of years. I think, as a brand, it understands the idea of creating a dialogue and a relationship with its consumer. But to do that successfully, it needs to be edgier with a kick-ass conversation platform, and this one just doesn’t quite cut it for me or, I suspect, its consumer. And it is a bit of an awful pun for a shoe brand.

Skoda. Well-executed, gorgeous art direction and a sweet piss-take of the myriad auto ads showing people on the side of a road gawping at a passing car because it is apparently so extraordinary. Skoda is a brand that can pull off a joke like this and endear itself to people in doing so.

The danger is the subtlety of the humour might be missed – you miss the inversion and this becomes yet another ad showing people on the side of a road gawping at a passing car because it is apparently so extraordinary…


Craig Mawdsley

Joint chief strategy officer,
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

It’s an interesting time to be in advertising. More opportunities and more threats than ever before. Some of us have our heads planted firmly in the sand and others are investing in the bold experiments that may shape potential futures.

This week’s batch of work for Private View rather neatly illustrates this divide and reminds us that there’s no substitute for a good idea.

Marmite is simply brilliant. It arrives festooned with complaints and with the Advertising Standards Authority pondering whether to rule against it. Like one of the best sketches on The Day Today, it is a note-perfect parody of our earnest care for animals. It staggers me that anyone could have been offended by this given that the Marmite branding is clear and prominent from the start. And it’s heartening to see that the client seems to be standing strongly behind the work so far. It would have been shared and viewed millions of times online without the controversy, as it’s just so good and seems to expertly walk the line between sensation and strategy. This is the best thing I have seen in ages.

The Sun is desperately trying to work out what happens when its dwindling paper circulation becomes uneconomic. Its latest answer is to buy football TV rights and put them behind a mini-paywall called Sun+. The TV ad for it starts out like every other football ad and then becomes funnier and more engaging. More Sun, basically. Its football proposition seems to be "a bit like Sky, but much less self-important". Worth a look.

The Skoda ad is apparently available online for a limited period before breaking on TV. My, aren’t we lucky. I can’t understand why anyone would bother watching this online when there are cats on skateboards available. It looks like hundreds of other car ads previously created by the central communications department to run in 27 countries and cause minimal offence. Skoda used to make such lovely ads.

Dr Martens has a new positioning encouraging you to #standforsomething (why a hashtag? Who are they expecting to Tweet and what exactly about?). It’s a decent mood film and a plausible positioning (for individuals and eccentrics who don’t follow the crowd), but not a great creative idea. Feels a bit average, and that’s not really good enough nowadays, is it?

Agent Provocateur has invited Penélope Cruz to design some underwear. Then she wrote and directed an online film to promote the lingerie. I can understand why people would want to watch an online film featuring loads of women wandering around in their pants. Many businesses have been built on the back of that insight. Quite how many of the people watching it are women who might buy such lingerie, or men who have relationships with women to buy lingerie for, I will leave up to you to speculate. As for the quality of the film – don’t give up the day job, Penélope. I watched it on the laptop while listening to the end of the fourth Ashes Test. The film is much more interesting with Geoffrey Boycott doing the voiceover.

Marmite will prosper in our brave new world. The Sun might just make it work. Skoda, Dr Martens and Agent Provocateur need to try a bit harder.