In fact, the latest RAC commercial is bland beyond belief. A huge glowing orange hand descends from the heavens to locate broken-down cars and give them a sort of comforting stroke. I have no idea whether this sort of thing works, but it feels like the agency has simply been taking dictation from the client.
Second is Clearasil Shave Gel, which helps to prevent spots, apparently. A male centrefold is used to nail the proposition that no spots and no stubble means no girl can resist you. Fair enough, nothing wrong with this idea. Mind you, I can think of quite a few girls who can resist, but that's nit-picking.
Sometimes, informing matters more than entertaining; I learnt that years ago working on the COI Communications Aids awareness account. Which is why this next commercial from HM Government is spot on. It's preparing us for a booklet we'll soon be receiving about the terrorist threat. It points out that warning signs aren't necessarily panic signs. It's a smartly observed, smartly executed response to a very tricky brief.
Next is a commercial promising some free spy gadgets when you buy a pair of Clarks shoes. To dramatise the offer, we see two spy kids being dropped off at school in an Apache attack helicopter instead of the more normal Volvo estate.
Promotional briefs are often a creative graveyard, but this one has been done with wit and commendable ambition. For me, it's not up to the standard of the Clarks brand work, which I absolutely love, but it's not bad at all, nipper.
Next are two nice ads for something called Flash Mark & Stain Eraser.
They make their point simply and elegantly. What's more, given that my daughter Maisie has just discovered the joy of felt-tipped pens, these ads have all but persuaded me to go out and buy some.
Now to the last, and easily the best, ad. It's for Nik Naks and spoofs THAT legendary scene in Alien. Only this time it's a knobbly savoury snack that bursts out through the unsuspecting guy's chest.
Spoofs are hardly the height of advertising originality, but this has been done beautifully. And the ending is 24 carat. To the strains of Le Freak by Chic, a voiceover tells us that Nik Naks are "monstrous, deformed and available in four stupid flavours", before asking us to "eat the freak".
Huge and sincere respect to all those involved. It made me laugh. It made me want to watch it again and again. And it made me very jealous.
Roll on the new footie season.
Project: Nice chest
Client: Rob Morgan, marketing director
Brief: Dramatise the freakish nature of the Nik Naks product and its
unique proposition in the snack market
Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Writers: Serge Pennings, Stephen Clarke
Art directors: Serge Pennings, Stephen Clarke
Director: Rocky Morton
Production company: MJZ
Exposure: Terrestrial and satellite TV
Client: Ted Hart, marketing manager
Brief: Promote the Bootleg spy kit pencil case, available for £5
when you buy a pair of Clarks Bootleg shoes
Agency: St Luke's
Writer: Andy Drugan
Art directors: Simon Friedberg, Adam Arber
Directors: Jake & Jim
Production company: Exposure
Exposure: National TV
Project: Mark & Stain Eraser
Client: Michael Gillane, brand manager
Brief: Flash Eraser removes tough marks and stains, even those you
Agency: Grey London
Writer: Ben Stilitz
Art director: Colin Booth
Photographer: Jenny van Sommers
Exposure: Women's national titles
Project: Preparing for emergencies
Client: Nick Lindop, senior advertising manager
Brief: Design a public information booklet and develop a supporting
Writer: David Cornmell
Art director: Jane Briers
Director: Stuart Parr
Production company: Blink
Exposure: National TV
Project: Consumer services
Client: Gary Elliott, head of brand
Brief: Announce that the RAC has won the JD Power Award for being the
leading provider of breakdown services in the UK
Agency: Windmill Partnership
Writer: Phil Wiggins
Art director: Sam Hurford
Director: Sam Hurford
Production companies: Windmill Partnership, James Bretherton
Exposure: National TV
Client: Beccy Duncan, marketing manager
Brief: Launch Clearasil for Men as the new range of high-performance
male grooming products with the added bonus of spot prevention
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: Simon Welsh
Art director: Darren McKay
Photographer: Tim O'Sullivan
Typographer: Gary Todd
Exposure: Men's magazines