Executive creative director,
Ogilvy & Mather London
Andy Warhol famously said to artists: "Don’t pay attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches." The only thing worse than being talked about, it seems, is to be not talked about.
In a world where video consumption has changed beyond recognition (and all of this week’s work includes film), how advertising is talked about has changed radically too. No longer do we talk about what we saw in the ad break the night before. Instead, YouTube has become the new water-cooler in our lives.
A brilliant instance of YouTube at its best is the Jamie Oliver and Kevin Bacon film from EE. Here, Bacon outwits Oliver with no video buffering courtesy of EE’s 4G.
Every medium creates its own art form and this is a fine example of a two- to three-minute piece of highly watchable content people will want to talk about. It knows its audience and what they want to watch. The length and pacing are perfect. And the line, "Bacon don’t buffer", is a classic, making me laugh out loud.
There’s so much right here. The tie-up with Oliver’s YouTube channel, with its half-a-million subscribers, is perfect: EE gets great content; Oliver gets more subscribers; and we get a great bacon sandwich. This is a textbook example of how to do content tie-ins with YouTube channels and will be copied many times over. I Tweeted it immediately.
Next is a rite of passage film for Lloyds Bank, in which a young guy tells us about moving out of his parents’ house. It’s nicely crafted with well-thought-through insights. It’s probably not going to get everyone talking about it online. Although there’s a nice nod to pop culture in the comments on YouTube with "0:15 Grumpy Cat!".
The nanas are back for Shreddies talking about knitting a fox sweater for Paul, a young Facebook fan. It’s supposed to be a tie-in with London Fashion Week. No LMFAO here. Shreddies should probably stick to the knitting. It certainly won’t add much to the 90 subscribers on the Knitting Nanas YouTube channel.
Mikado chocolate sticks have a quirky individual parachuting into a casino to play a game of a Hungry Hippos, with the line: "Stay original." It sounds distinctive, but the film construct feels strangely familiar. I doubt it’s a great conversation-starter, especially as it seems to have zero online presence.
Last, but by no means least, is a very powerful ad for St John Ambulance that demonstrates the benefits of knowing first aid. It shows a father caught out by his woeful inadequacies when his son falls from a tree. There’s a very powerful twist, which I won’t spoil. Suffice to say, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
A link at the end of the film took me to a webpage where a beautifully rendered interactive lesson showed me how to administer first aid to the fallen boy in the film. There was also a first-aid app I could download (very useful) and some intelligent social listening responses to the comments on YouTube. All in all, it’s a well-crafted integrated journey.
I made a note to tell my wife about it and where to get the app. I also Tweeted it. My friends are parents too. They should know. It’s talkability of a different, necessary sort. Proving, in its importance, that online isn’t all about pop culture, but is also a great force for social good.
Executive partner, JWT London
According to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow back in 1838, "art is long, and time is fleeting". This week’s five pieces of work vary both artistically and in length – from the short to the excruciatingly long. I have to wonder what Longfellow would make of it all.
So, let’s start long: EE. Kevin Bacon and Jamie Oliver making – yes, you guessed it – bacon sandwiches. Online. For three minutes and 45 seconds. I almost failed to get to the punch of the idea because my Mac connection buffered so many times that, by the time I got to Kevin’s monster sandwich (and Jamie’s scripted buffering), I was out of patience. By the time I got to three minutes, I wanted to hang myself. Which is a shame because: a) I’m an EE customer; b) the premise is really good and I like the idea; c) it’s a fine marriage of the current EE brand campaign and Food Tube, an existing online property. Jamie as the patsy (or pasty) and Kevin as his smooth, dry EE foil in the action. I can’t help but wonder if Jamie and Kevin are a bit like a reverse bacon on Ryvita. And who would want that?
Far shorter is the one-minute-and-one-second mood-tape for Lloyds Bank. I’ve spent many years trying to persuade many clients to bypass research and get straight to producing the film itself. This appears to be an effort to bypass the film and go straight to research, albeit on air. By the way, if you still need your parents’ gold bullion to get a mortgage from Lloyds, what does this say about the mortgage product that’s being advertised?
Shreddies – one minute and 39 seconds wasted. We don’t even get a "wear the fox hat" joke out of it. Social is about sharing. Who would want to share this?
St John Ambulance – one minute and two seconds of power and messaging clarity. Delivered without fanfare, with a neat narrative twist.
Mikado. For starters, it’s only 35 seconds. Which meant I could watch it twice to check I was seeing things correctly.
Nice soundtrack. Good attention to detail (although I half-expected a melted Mikado stick to come out of his suit pocket). So far, so good.
And then the denouement. Like James Bond with a softie. Hungry Hippos in the high-roller private gaming room of a casino. Really. The accompanying blurb says the ad "debuted in Germany and will air in markets including Austria, France, Italy, Spain". Is this an apologetic explanation?
So, what does all this tell us? As a business, time is what we crave most but what we understand least. If we’re using online as an environment for content created for brands, we probably shouldn’t assume "going long" is always OK. Leave that to Bond. Equally, if we’re using 30-second spots on TV, every second should be treated as precious. But whether online or offline, the "art" is everything. And so the traditional rules of our game clearly still apply.