Many great organisations have got away without one. Many others change theirs every year. You're in the business and how many can you recall, let alone have any significance for you? Yet every week around the world, thousands of creative teams sweat out drivel such as "Threepwoods tap washers - where tomorrow meets yesterday" and, embarrassed, accept the praise of the account and client team, all the time knowing it's bollocks and doesn't make a rat's arse of difference to the communication.
Lucozade Sport, with the line "Water. Plus", watery graphics and an earnest voiceover, makes the astonishing claim that Lucozade is more than water and Lloydspharmacy, with stuttering direction and a confused construction, makes heavy weather of the honourably simple: "Your local health authority."
"The girls are ready, are you?", the revised strapline for the 24-hour Lynx effect, is, as these things go, pretty nice and if you're a bloke, pretty reassuring. But its main function is to help decode a marginally confusing idea that elicited five different explanations from the five different people who I showed it to. Mind you, in this arena, does absolute slavish comprehension really matter? If you're a bloke, you won't resent the 72 viewings necessary to get to the bottom of it.
One of the more meaningful and enduring straplines, "Never knowingly undersold", has rarely been advertised and doesn't appear on the new John Lewis poster campaign. Just about everything else does, though, and I bet I'm pushing at the art director's open door when I say this will be a first-class campaign when they take away all the extraneous babble to leave just the headline and the logo.
If you buy Kingsmill bread, you'll be contributing to buying kit for your local sports club, which means pudgy blokes won't have to run around the park playing football in their underpants and children won't have to use shovels for cricket bats, as shown in its commercials. This is a likeable campaign, which sounds like faint praise. But that's because one of the many downsides of our awards obsession is that you're taught from a very early age that work is either great or it's shit. But it isn't, it really isn't. If you're into cricket, you salute only the centuries but even a brilliant Test batsman will average less than 50 throughout his international life.
Oddly, Fire Safety, although it has all the ingredients, just didn't move me like some of the previous work. I genuinely hope it's my failing.
In its slow and lingering death, Bates (or Dorlands, whichever you prefer) spasmed again last week as the remaining staff without jobs to go to were laid off. So, through no lack of talent, commitment or intelligence, another four creative teams are sadly traipsing round with their books. If you want teams from the very new to the highly experienced, each of whom is excellent by any standard, contact me through Campaign and I'll direct you on.
There but for fortune.
Client: Evelyn Strouts, head of branch marketing
Brief: Focus on blinkered John Lewis shoppers, encouraging them to shop
in more departments this autumn
Agency: Burkitt DDB
Writer: Jon Leney
Art director: Richard Donovan
Typographer: Alison Wills
Exposure: Regional press
Project: Brand initiatives
Client: Mark Green, commercial director
Brief: Promote the new diabetes testing and prescription collection
Writer: Mark Prime
Art director: Lee Hanfon
Director: Peter Georgi
Production company: Rogue Films
Exposure: National and satellite TV
Project: Smoke alarm maintenance
Client: Communications Directorate, office of the deputy prime minister
Brief: Remind people to check their smoke alarm batteries
Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper
Writer: Olly Caporn
Art director: Olly Caporn
Director: Steve Reeves
Production company: Another Film Company
Exposure: National TV
Project: Lynx 24-hour
Client: Margaret Jobling, European brand director
Brief: Communicate the benefit that Lynx lasts 24 hours
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Mark Hunter
Art director: Tony McTear
Directors: Traktor and James Pilkington
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: Pan-European TV and cinema
Project: Kit on
Client: Jo Sykes, director of marketing
Brief: Drive awareness of the promotion to generate registration
Writer: Rob Janowski
Art director: Keith Courtney
Director: Carl Prechezer
Production company: 2am Films
Exposure: National TV
Client: Pascale Muylaert, marketing category director
Brief: Create an integrated launch campaign for Lucozade Sport Hydro
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Kit Dayaram
Art director: Colleen Philips
Director: Philip Andre
Production company: Harry Nash
Exposure: National TV