PRIVATE VIEW: Andrew Cracknell, the executive creative director at Bates UK

"Cut to reaction shot."

Do you know of four more ominous words? They usually mean "There is no emphatic ending, so the director and actor can supply it for us" or "there's a joke at the end but it needs helping along."

The new Norwich Union campaign takes it one stage further; the whole idea is a reaction shot, the delirious reaction of someone who's asked for and then been given news of a financial nature that pleases them.

Along with the phrase "Quote me happy!" (the exclamation mark is mine) we see people air punching, shrieking, leaping about and, yessssss, you've guessed it, yelling "YeSSSSSSSSS!" with Premiership-class fervour. (Do you think it would register if just once a sensational goal was marked by the scorer with nothing more than a sheepish lopsided smile, a brief handshake and an embarrassed trot back to the centre line? "Well, I don't know - the ball just seemed to hit my boot and found the back of the net ...")

Now this "good news" route is a well-worn path, and there's nothing wrong with that, as we'll see later. It's how you tread that turns it into the path to glory or the road to hell. And watching these you wonder how different they might be if a little more wit - maybe even a little more understatement - had been applied to the nature of the reaction. At least it could have avoided what must have been one of the more excruciating casting sessions.

Vimto, being purple, is using Purple Ronnie enacting Purple Ronnie poems and it's all very appropriate. Sainsbury's, being Sainsbury's, is using Jamie Oliver for its Red Nose Day offer and it's all very Jamie Oliver. Incidentally, if you go up Jamie's restaurant - and you'd have to go "up" Jamie's restaurant, you couldn't go "to" Jamie's restaurant - take a wedge. Pricey? Thirty quid for a Merlot from Bangalore? You wot?

'Ere - he'll be charging a pony for a jar of Marmite next! The ads are lovely to look at if lacking the sheer fun of the excellent TV. They also seem more like early thoughts. But then you know the brief, you know the idea, you try doing print for Marmite.

It's a lot more difficult than you think.

"Fires start when your attention stops" is the admonishment of the new Kitchen Fire Safety commercial. One small problem for me - a wickedly laughing man is intercut with close-ups of a growing kitchen fire and I'm not sure why he's made to look so demonic. Is it so that when we find out that he's the victim of the fire we're shocked by the twist? If so, it doesn't really add anything to an otherwise solid idea.

Finally, continuing down the path to glory, Audi shows that provided you have the imagination and the money there's always a new way to answer the oldest and most well worn of briefs. How many times have how many teams around the world sat down to the car brief of "Economy" and how many times have they come up with a piece of film as sumptuous yet direct as these huge fish swimming around urban streets? Odd really - the thought at the heart of the creative idea is a hoary mainstream cliche: "drinks like a fish". In the magical but tortuous metamorphosis between the instant of the thought and its eventual realisation, the commercial has come out as anything but.

I've just found out there are people in the US who make a living as Image Consultants to Cheerleaders.

God help us all. Be lucky.


Project: Marmite "love and hate"

Client: Oliver Bradley, group brand manager

Brief: Encourage people to eat Marmite in sandwiches

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Dylan Harrison

Art director: Feargal Ballance

Typographer: Peter Mould

Photographer: Dave Stewart Exposure: National press


Project: Vimto 2003 brand advertising

Client: Lyndsay Jones, brand manager

Brief: Remind mums and young kids alike that Vimto's best because

Vimto's more fun.

Agency: Cheetham Bell JWT

Writers: Giles Andreae and Nico Hercules

Art director: Nico Hercules

Director: Mick Cookson

Production company: Duplexx Productions

Exposure: National TV and cinema


Project: FSi

Client: David George, communications marketing manager

Brief: Dramatise the fuel efficiency of Audi's new FSi engine

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Alex Grieve

Art director: Adrian Rossi

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Gorgeous

Exposure: National TV


Project: Kitchen Fire Safety

Client: Richard Meakin, publicity manager, Office of the Deputy Prime


Brief: Highlight the risk of fire if you leave your cooking unattended

Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper

Writer: Leanne Gold

Art director: Andy Bobbin

Director: Kevin Thomas

Production company: Thomas Thomas

Exposure: National TV


Project: Sainsbury's Comic Relief

Client: Clare Goucher, brand manager, Comic Relief

Brief: Be the sole provider of the Red Nose and give families a good

reason to join in the fun and do their bit for charity

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BDDO

Writers: Peter Souter and Tim Riley

Art director: Mike Durban

Director: Richard Clarke

Production company: The Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National TV


Project: Norwich Union Direct

Client: Brian Richards, director of retail marketing

Brief: Call Norwich Union Direct for a great quote

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Matthew Abbott

Art director: Martin Casson

Director: Mark Nuneley

Production company: RSA Films

Exposure: National TV

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