January, and a chill wind has ushered in the new year, blowing away the beery scents of Christmas excess.

January, and a chill wind has ushered in the new year, blowing away

the beery scents of Christmas excess.

Everywhere, sheepish young account executives don serious frowns in the

hope that once again they can be assessed for their earnest endeavours -

and that the memory of their downing eight pints of Olde Scrotum while

sporting their trousers cranially has faded quickly from the minds of

senior management.

And yet, before these ghosts of Christmas pass, it is worth noting the

parallels between creative work and the people you meet at yuletide


Like an interesting person, a good product message should attract your

attention, tell you something fascinating, then leave you with the

feeling that you’d like to know more.

That said, let us introduce the motley group assembled for this

particular shindig.

First up, the Independent. Open this promotional mailing and we

encounter an actual-size Indie page with a message from the editor and

12 reduced-price coupons. The Indie’s a strange young fogey. A lonely

account manager, desperate to make friends. He tried on a few outfits

before going out but the tweeds and the pinstripes didn’t quite gel, so

he’s pitched up today in a rather avant-garde suit. And it’s worked -

he’s got our attention.

But attention is only potential yet to be fulfilled and, sadly, further

investigation confirms our worst fears - there really is nothing much to

him and the little there is turns out to be pompous and


In marketing, as at parties, it pays to observe the first rule of social

engagement: talk to me about me and I’m interested, talk to me about you

and I’m bored.

Next, there’s a dealer pack for the new VW Golf Mark IV.

It contains five freebie chocolates, each illustrating little details

such as a ’special cluster’ of headlamps and ’coffee cup’ holders front

and rear. The Golf is that nice gal from planning you’ve known for

years. Her demeanour is refreshingly confident and witty. And

enticingly, having said little - and said it rather well - she leaves,

after slipping you her phone number.

Then there’s a DRTV commercial to raise funds for the Cancer Research

Campaign. CRC is the company secretary, a nice old guy you only ever see

at this time of year. His work is invaluable and, if anyone deserves a

pay rise, he does.

He’s telling a story about someone he helped. It’s a nice story - and it

needs to be - because you don’t always want to listen to tales like this

at a party. Unfortunately, someone is playing the Now Collection of

Corporate Video Soundtracks in the background. It distracts and

ultimately damages the pathos of his story, leaving you wondering why it

is that the good guys never get the breaks they deserve.

Finally, an ugly squawk announces the presence of the junior team:

Touchpoint from BT. We don’t know what they’re on, but they’re all over

the place. These enthusiastic young blades seem to be saying a lot of

things about BT’s new Internet entertainment service but, even with the

aid of many fingers, they find it almost impossible to make a point

Like all old farts, we smile fondly, remembering Christmas parties of

yesteryear and the well-hidden skeletons in our own closet, before we

slip off home for a nice cup of cocoa.

The Independent

Agency: Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel

Brief: Encourage trial and long-term readership of the relaunched


Art director: Andy Maxwell

Copywriter: Chris Lorie

Volkswagen Golf

Agency: Barraclough Hall Woolston Gray

Brief: Generate excitement about the new Golf Mark IV and encourage

dealers to attend a ’ride and drive’ event at Donnington

Art director: Tooky de Vall

Copywriter: Charlie Smith

Cancer Research Campaign

Agency: Wunderman

Cato Johnson

Brief: Advertise for funds on television for the first time. Make people

aware that the CRC relies on donations in order to

carry out its work

Creative team: Paul Walton and Shaun Moran

Creative director: Steve Aldridge

BT Touchpoint Kiosks

Agency: Partners BDDH

Brief: Generate awareness and interest in Touchpoint multimedia kiosks

around London

Art director: Yann Jones

Copywriter: David Fleetwood


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