PRIVATE EYE: Steve Henry, a partner and the creative director of HHCL & Partners

The other week Larry Barker was complaining, quite correctly, about

the terrible work which is being produced right now. So let's see what

this week's bunch is like.

Weetabix Crrrunch. The idea is that this product encourages couples to

talk to each other - a totally admirable and original claim. But it's a

bit of a strategic stretch for the product, isn't it? After all, what

are the alternatives? Dashing out the door with your toast and


Divorcing your partner while stuffing your face with egg soldiers?

Having an affair with your personal trainer while nibbling your Coco


The positive truth in Weetabix is surely a health-based one. But the

bigger problem for me is that the execution shows advertising cliches;

the over-stretched mum and the terminally hopeless dad. Which undermines

any positive intent they may have had with the strategic idea. This mum

is never gonna talk to this dad (and my guess is that a blow-job's out

of the question).

Doris Lessing recently said that the feminist movement had demeaned men

for far too long. Discuss, in relation to the portrayal of the average

bloke in ads.

Haagen-Dazs. Some good intentions on the strategic side, again. The aim

is to be honest about the indulgence of the product and to encourage

people to explore their sensual side ... by eating ice-cream. The ads

feature spoof new-age guru-speak with the slant on food - Lunchpack

Chopra meets Bhagwan Pizza Express. They could have pushed the humour

and the honesty further, but it's an interesting start.

Land Rover. Sorry. I must be in a minority, because I think the strategy

(4x4s are good in the wild) is unrealistic and unoriginal. Partly

because it's shared by about 30 car companies. This particular variation

of it is witty, charming and well-shot, and may appeal very successfully

to mums with young kids who like pictures of wild animals (which is

quite possibly the target market for 4x4s, anyway).

Theo Fennell. As I understand it, Theo Fennell is a very original


This ad, while stylish and attention-grabbing, doesn't really complement

his skills.

PlayStation 2. This is more interesting - it's got great animation and

an explosive energy. And it doesn't patronise its audience. The best ad

in this genre ("I have commanded armies") actually made heroes out of

the target market. This execution in a great campaign is honest,

overflowing with imagination, and engaging.

And then there's Durex. At HHCL we're playing around with the idea of

"creating responsible desire" - and you can't get a better symbol of

responsible desire than a Durex. This ad made me laugh out loud several

times. But one bit worried me. The sudden eruption of sperm as the lad

approaches his date suggests that, like Onan in The Bible, this guy has

"spilled his seed upon the ground".

As is usual in The Bible, the exact take-out isn't clear - is Onan a

wanker, or someone suffering from premature ejaculation, or just a

clumsy Alan Titchmarsh who's bumped into Charlie Dimmock? Possibly all


But either way, he didn't have much use for a Durex.

Whatever. Whether this ad is genuinely motivating or not, it's

undoubtedly funny and striking - which isn't bad these days. And it

makes it a lot better than most ads.

I think Larry was suggesting that the dearth of great ads was down to

cautious clients and cautious research. He's right about both of those -

but we're part of the problem too. Because a lot of the time we create

ads which don't treat consumers with enough respect.

There's a set of words I really like, and which comes, somewhat

bizarrely, from McCann's motto - "The truth, well told". How many ads

live up to that?


Project: Theo Fennell

Client: Theo Fennell, managing director

Brief: Launch and drive sales for the new "strip" range of jewellery

Agency: G3

Art director: Richard Melik

Portrait artist: Jonathan Yeo

Photographer: Paul Biddle

Exposure: Quality consumer magazines


Project: Haagen-Dazs

Client: Elizabeth O'Mahony, senior marketing manager

Brief: Get people to re-evaluate the brand but still continue to

communicate the intense pleasure of Haagen-Dazs

Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper

Writer: Dominic Gettins

Art director: Oliver Caporn

Director: Brian Baderman

Production company: All Films

Exposure: National TV and cinema


Project: Nameplate campaign - Hippo

Client: Anthony Bradbury, UK marketing communications manager

Brief: Establish a coherent tone of voice across all models through the

parent brand communication

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Writer: Mike Boles

Art director: Jerry Hollens

Photographer: Nick Georghiou

Exposure: Posters


Project: Durex condoms

Client: Leigh Taylor, group category director, family planning

Brief: Make Durex relevant to a youth audience

Agency: McCann-Erickson Manchester

Writer: Neil Lancaster

Art director: Dave Price

Director: Daniel Kleinman

Production company: Spectre

Exposure: MTV Europe and UK cinema


Project: Sony PlayStation 2

Client: David Patton, vice-president, marketing

Brief: Bring the Third Place to life, live more, play more

Agency: TBWA/London

Writer: Graham Cappi

Art director: Graham Cappi

Director: Tim Hope

Production company: Passion Pictures

Exposure: UK cinema


Project: Weetabix Crrrunch

Client: Tony Corp, marketing controller

Brief: Launch new Weetabix Crrrunch as a breakfast cereal that stays

crunchy for longer

Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners

Writer: Derek Apps

Art director: Tom Notman

Director: David Garfath

Production company: The Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National TV