Chairman and executive creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
At this exact moment of writing, the sun is out, business is looking up, we seem to be crawling out of the recession and that tennis fellow, those rugby boys and the cricket chaps all seem to be doing rather well. What’s not to like?
Well, let’s see, shall we?
First up is an online film from Coral that spoofs/borrows/plagiarises (delete as appropriate) the recent Arsenal "running man" YouTube film. I’m not much of a football fan, so I hadn’t seen the original, which is a rather charming film of a Vietnamese fan who chases the Arsenal tour bus for miles before the team welcome him aboard. The Coral film shows a rather podgy Wayne Rooney running after the Chelsea coach. It’s not a bad little joke and it looks like it was pretty cheap to pull off. It makes Coral feel in touch with the fans and it has had nearly a quarter-of-a-million hits on YouTube already.
Next up is Channel 4’s "return of the superhumans". Surely the toughest brief of the year? I mean, how do you follow what was the UK’s most-awarded ad? In this case, you don’t. Sadly, the new film is a shadow of last year’s corker. It is still pretty gritty and challenging, but lacks the heart, emotion and total and utter brilliance of the original.
Changing channels, we switch to ITV’s "summer of soaps". In the trail, we see a collection of actors from Coronation Street and Emmerdale reciting lines from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. It’s a simple thought executed in a classy way, although I’m not sure Cameron from Emmerdale has much of a future with the Bard.
The ever-prolific Rankin has created a campaign for French Connection called "from sketch to store". It doesn’t have the quirky humour one has come to associate with French Connection (shame, really – I rather like that stuff). This work seeks to bring the brand back to its fashion and design roots. However, as you would expect from Rankin, the shots are cool as hell.
Finally, we come to my favourite of this week’s offerings. It’s a new campaign from Tesco by Wieden & Kennedy. I was a fan of the first work W&K did for Tesco at Christmas. But, since then, the work seemed to have lost its way. Thankfully, this is a welcome return to form – it’s based on the insight that food should be more than just fuel, which is a solid one. It has a cool track, the voiceover has a touch of the Lurpak about it and it has some charming filmic touches. If only the in-store experience lived up to the promise of the ad.
Right, the sun’s still out, business is still looking up, I’ve finished this week’s rant. What’s not to like?
Doing Private View so shortly after Dave Bedwood so bravely put his appendage on the line to give those who felt scorned a chance to retaliate is a daunting prospect. I did think (briefly) about upping the game and doing something involving electric shocks and eels but, as this is my last act before disappearing to some sun I can actually dress appropriately for, I’ve taken the opposite tack: put thousands of miles between me and adland’s finest.
As there has been quite a wait for the "real" new Tesco work, let’s get that out of the way first. It seems all our supermarkets have decided they don’t need to talk about themselves any more – it’s much more interesting to do food porn instead. Now Tesco, not to be outdone, has joined in. The problem, though, is that this ad could be for any one of them. There’s definitely a splash of Sainsbury’s about the spot, not to mention a dollop of Lurpak and a pinch of Heinz. There’s something interesting about "love every mouthful" and I don’t doubt that the campaign will mature and blossom. While I’m here, though, I can’t let the now ever-present fruit machine endframe pass without comment. I just don’t get it: "Every little helps" was a wonderfully succinct way of demonstrating the lengths Tesco would go to for its customers. "Every broccoli/strawberry/Stilton helps" doesn’t quite deliver the same sense of purpose.
Channel 4’s "meet the superhumans" was probably my favourite ad of last year. It was such a powerful and beautiful thought that, in a moment, it completely changed the way we think about disability and sport. Yet again, this spot moves the conversation up a notch. We’ve got gritty production, a kicking soundtrack and a good old British bit of "sledging". A greatfollow-up to a truly pioneering original.
I’ve got to admit, ITV hasn’t featured high in my viewing repertoire for quite some time, but things are changing: some great commissioning, the arrival and retention of top talent and now a shiny new look and feel. It’s on a bit of a roll. That said, I wasn’t quite sure what this commercial was supposed to be telling me. Is it trying to make a link between the improvement in ITV dramas and its ongoing soap-opera schedule? Or is there a special "summer of soaps"? I’ve never seen Emmerdale or Coronation Street so it’s difficult to comment, but this film is OK. It’s not a new idea (the BBC has been doing this for years) and some of the performances are a little on the iffy side, but it’s a nice film.
Thank heaven for YouTube. Without it, what outlet would there be for funny remakes of things that were originally shown on YouTube? And so the guys at Coral’s agency decided it would be hilarious to do a remake of Arsenal’s recent "running man" story, but to make it a fat man in a Chelsea strip and a Wayne Rooney mask. And, yes, it is actually quite funny. "Mr Rooney" puts in a good comic performance with a coquettish lift of the leg as he scoots by. I can’t help thinking that they just wanted to make a funny film. I’m not really sure what it says about Coral.
Last up is some print for French Connection. What I can say is Rankin is a very gifted photographer and he is fond of a nipple, but we knew that already.
So, some great work, some good work and some OK work; perhaps I needn’t have cancelled those eels, after all.