CAMPAIGN REPORT ON CHOOSING AN AGENCY: Private view AAR reels - The Advertising Agency Register showcases promotional reels about member agencies to give potential clients a chance to see who might be right for the job. Alisdair Luxmoore presses the play

I believe agencies and clients should complement one another. There are many who are capable of helping you create great work, but you (the client) have to find one you’re comfortable working with.

I believe agencies and clients should complement one another. There

are many who are capable of helping you create great work, but you (the

client) have to find one you’re comfortable working with.

If you are a newly appointed brand manager, fresh from a six-year

placement at the corporate treasury office, don’t go off and choose a

creative hot-house, it will only end in tears.

Equally, if you run your own focus groups every other fortnight and have

just finished the fourth volume of your thesis on brand strategy, you

and an agency that prides itself on planning will tread on each other’s


So what better way to choose an agency than by spending a quiet evening

watching showreels - actually there probably isn’t a worse way, but here

goes anyway.

Advertising is complicated for the average marketer, because unlike

agency employees, we’re generalists, not advertising experts. So it’s as

much about judging the people as it is the work, and we all need short


My favourite is by looking at the glasses they wear, as ever since

persuading Burt Reynolds to update his eyewear, I am convinced I can

work out everything I need to know about someone’s personality by a

quick glance at the face furniture.

1 First tape out of the box was St Luke’s and a very small modern pair

of spex completely supported the very modern approach which dominated

the reel. The way it works is undoubtedly its usp and for the

fed-up-with-traditional-account-suits brand manager, I think its

approach would give much needed refreshment to a tried brand with a

tired marketing approach.

However, it could also be risky, as nicely illustrated by the highs and

lows of Ikea (throw out the chintz and sack the office boy


It could reignite a passionate love of marketing, but it could also

rekindle relationships with recruitment consultants.

2 Next up, Leo Burnett and, oh dear, we do need an eyewear update. Too

big, too round, too American, rather like the reel. Scored very highly

on the number of times ’brand’ was mentioned and therefore seemed to be

targeting the big fmcgs who put brand equity all over their annual


Leo Burnett seemed to be the sort of people who would use words such as

’integration’ and ’consistency’ at the presentation of the new creative

to the main board - very reassuring. And the company’s track record

backs this up with the McDonald’s campaign, a truly stunning example of

bulldozing in a great campaign - well done, chaps. I certainly would not

have minded having you around in my GM card days.

3 The Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe reel started with a eulogy to the

’advertising idea’. Being Lowe Howard-Spink-trained (as in

potty-trained), my ears pricked up but I quickly lost the plot. The

concept of the advertising idea is pretty difficult to explain at the

best of times and Rainey Kelly failed in my view.

I got completely lost in the Beamish explanation but then I am a mere

lager drinker and, while the ’changing times’ proposition is clever, it

is in danger of falling into the trap of slapping the endline everywhere

regardless of whether the advertising message actually supports it.

And the spex? High-tech, very clever, rimless. By the way, I thought the

Virgin flattery was beautifully done and if any agencies I have ever

worked with would like a bit of extra work ...

4 FCA! I know nothing about, but its reel left a strong impression.

Straight in with an absolute cracker for Fisherman’s Friends which I

assume has run at cinemas nationwide, and if not, why not? A good

old-fashioned advertising idea with indisputable product support.

From there on in it was downhill and the impression left was that unless

you’re a card-carrying new lad, we’re not really interested in you. I

think it is great that agencies use the reel to get across their

character so long as they are aware of the impact with marketers.

The eyewear was radical, the approach casual to the point of mocking

and, unless I had a brand where everything else had failed, I’d stick to

a safer bet.

5 All was going well until I ran into the Bartle Bogle Hegarty reel.

My spex and stereotypes method was working perfectly but I am afraid it

fell apart at the final hurdle. With one of the Bs in BBH wearing chief

executive silver aviator glasses and the other in preppy-style rounds, I

thought we had another Leo Burnett. Not at all. The arrogance was

awesome (’We like brands with product deficiencies, a bit of a

challenge’) and their approach very clear - product central to the

advertising idea and long-term brand values at the core of the


Surely it is ridiculous that an agency can claim that one of its brands

(Boddingtons) owns England’s third-largest city. But I’m afraid it’s

true. This reel is in a class of its own. It was a pleasure to see the

ads from Audi and Levi’s again, and no, I wouldn’t be so insolent as to

invite them to a speculative pitch, but I would like to update those



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