Dateline: 6.00am, Soho. I sit down with my equally bleary eyed writer, Simon. It’s the ideal situation: if an idea can leap off the page and grab us at this time in the morning, it’s obviously an idea worth having.

Dateline: 6.00am, Soho. I sit down with my equally bleary eyed writer,

Simon. It’s the ideal situation: if an idea can leap off the page and

grab us at this time in the morning, it’s obviously an idea worth


We decide to come at the task from a brand perspective: that is, does

the work say the right things to the right people at the right time? To

simplify things we agree to apply the rigorous Limbo brandometer test

and, as an afterthought, the totally subjective ideasometer test (marks

out of five for both).

So we get started - to the sound of the Horseguards passing by for their

early-morning trot around Hyde Park. They’ve even remembered their


First up is the Ericsson campaign. The TV tells us that Ericsson ‘keeps

you in touch with the world - longer’. Good point, fairly well made,

although the commercial does seem to come across a bit like Singapore

Airlines - a nice, undemanding watch at this time of day. The press and

print back-up, however, drifts off into a different world. ‘It’s about

time,’ one of the headlines tells us.

Copy like this, combined with art direction that tries to emulate the TV

morphing technique (ambitious in flat media), convinces us that ‘it’s

about time’ to move on to the next campaign. Brandometer: 1,

ideasometer: 0.

Microsoft looms out of the post-dawn Soho mist like a post-dawn Soho

mist thing. Website, mailer, ad. Definitely integrated, unmistakably

Microsoft, conveying an offer while remaining true to the spirit of the


But we have just one or two teensy whinges. First, why is the Microsoft

double business offer labelled ‘hop, step and jump’ as in the triple

jump? Perhaps the client pulled up short. Second, the back of the

envelope asks the recipient: ‘Are we writing to the right person?’ Talk

about getting in the way of the communication. List cleaning duty for

those responsible. Brandometer: 4, ideasometer: 2.

Buried deep in the South Eastern Railways campaign is the essence of an

idea. The ‘are we nearly there yet...’ poster will surely strike a chord

with harassed mums everywhere. The trouble is, the leaflets, which are

supposed to be exciting and fun, aren’t. They’re only slightly excused

by the fact that trying to find exciting and fun things to do in Kent is

like trying to find slow things to do on a Harley Davidson. Brandometer: 1, ideasometer: 2.

The smell of fear heralds the arrival of the Honda Accord campaign from

the Collett Dickenson Pearce bunker. ‘You’ll be as interested in our new

car as our competition are’ threatens the line on the front of the fleet

manager envelope. You just want to add ‘or else’ at the end of a line

like that. At least the art direction, with subtle vignettes and clear

layout tries its best to add style and echoes the feel of the TV work.

But it’s the coercive, assumptive tone of the work that is offputting.

‘The car that will be admired by others,’ and ‘you’ll really admire the

new Accord’. The process of buying a car is a complex, sensitive

business, so what about a bit of courtship first? You wouldn’t approach

a potential long-term relationship by blasting ‘you’re really going to

admire me’ into your intended’s lughole with a loudhailer. As we say at

Limbo, this business is all about being appropriate. Brandometer: 3,

ideasometer: 1.

As people drift into work, Simon and I head off to San Marco’s for

coffee. The staff greet us by name, know what we want and don’t use

loudhailers. How appropriate.

Mike Cavers is a creative director and Simon Antenen is a senior

copywriter at Limbo

Ericsson (TV, press)

Agency: Bates Communications

Client: Ericsson

Objective: Position Ericsson phones as the best on the market

Account handling: Liz Charnley

Copywriter: Lu Dixon

Art director: Chris Dickson

Creative director: Alan Docherty

Printer: Dencal

Microsoft (poster, direct mail, website)

Agency: Evans Hunt Scott

Client: Microsoft

Objective: Convince business users who haven’t switched from 3:1 to use

Windows 95

Account handling: Jennifer Peterson, Bianca Bennett, Stuart Archibald

Copywriter: Mark Attrill

Art director: Graham Dexter

Creative director: Ken Muir

Printers: Capital Printers, Surrey Envelopes, Hexagon Printing

South Eastern Railways (poster, brochures)

Agency: Interfocus

Client: South Eastern Railways

Objective: Promote travel by train in and around the Kent area

Account handling: Jeremy Dickens

Copywriter: Deborah Hogan

Art director: Andy Cronk

Creative director: Drew Saunders

Honda Accord (TV, brochure)

Agency: Collett Dickenson Pearce

Client: Honda

Objective: Launch and establish Honda Accord in a competitive


Account handling: Johnny Hornby, Frazer Gibney

Copywriters: Tony Malcolm, Mike Lawrence

Art directors: Michael Victor, Guy Moore, Neil Bannister, Andy McAddie

Creative directors: Guy Moore, Tony Malcolm, Neil Bannister

Printer: Nexus


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus