It hasn't been a great start to the year in "The World", but in our village I feel the cottage industry could be about to prosper. What I need now is some evidence for this optimism from the Campaign lucky dip bag before someone takes me away.
A wry smile as I look at Adidas' retro collection press ads. I sit opposite Andy "Imelda" Bird who I swear physically trembled with excitement when his vintage Trimm Trabb trainers arrived from Ebay. He likes the way these ads are put together and so do I. Someone (I think they used to call them art directors) has gone to a lot of time and trouble and it has paid off.
There are times when an advertising critique seems irrelevant compared to the subject matter. With the Changing Faces campaign, all it seems appropriate to do is praise the bravery of the people featured and hope the campaign really changes attitudes.
For some light relief I turn to the TV, but I don't get any. Abbey National's strategy is the simplistic "we can't do this (i.e. get you a blind date with Martin Kemp) but we can do this (give you £50 if you find a better interest rate)". As a celebrity vehicle, it is as obvious as a white stretch limo, but there are some nice moments with the star-struck girl. Where this campaign falls down, though, is when Steve from EastEnders becomes a brand spokesman. I saw a life-size cut out of him in a branch of Abbey National the other day and wondered why would I give my life savings to an ex-glam rocker who became a soap sleaze-bag? Oh, and next door was a Burtons poster with the very same spokesman on it.
Now to a real star in financial services - old bottle-bins is back. This time round, the star of the Halifax commercials is animated, presumably to inject some new life into what has been a successful campaign. Nothing wrong with the animation technique, except that it takes your eye off an incredibly competitive stance versus the high- street banks. I think this campaign may need a little Xtra help soon.
I'm aware this column is becoming negative and I don't want it to. What I need is a holiday.
In Wales? Yes, if the Wales Tourist Board can persuade me. Oh boyo boyo, though. These are as subtle as the old Pontypool front row, "the Viet Gwent" as Max Boyce used to call them. Man drops book titled Coping with stress, little boy picks it up. Guess what's coming ... "Dad what's stress?" "Doesn't mean anything here, son." Dylan Thomas would have been proud.
The serious point with both these commercials is don't shoot the strategy, make the creative leap first.
From the heaviest of hands to the lightest of touches. I confess that when I saw a VHS with Barnardo's written on it, I was worried. Would what is a brilliant print campaign translate to TV? Many, after all, don't.
This does because of the deftness of everyone involved. Child prostitution is a difficult subject but the subtlety of the direction overcomes it effortlessly. It is also worth drawing attention to the film art direction (an underrated factor in commercials). The set is sleazy in a non-grubby suburban way, all the way down to the pink bedspread.
So, literal glass empty, metaphorical one drained, but still surprisingly half full.
Project: Originals campaign
Clients: Arthur Hoeld, global advertising manager; Eva Hartmann,
assistant global advertising manager
Brief: Global campaign to support the Originals collection for
Agencies: TBWA/Chiat/Day and 180 Amsterdam
Creative teams: Dean Maryon and Laen Sanchez (180); Lew Willig and Scott
Photographers: Matt Jones and Moshe Brakha
Exposure: Global top-end magazines
WALES TOURIST BOARD
Project: Wales Tourist Board
Client: Roger Pride, director of marketing
Brief: Challenge preconceptions of Wales while building on The Big
Country positioning that was created in 2002
Agency: Red Cell
Writers: Steve Wyatt and Ian Cawley
Art directors: Jez Wordley and Jim Lobley
Director: Mark Wordley
Production company: Wordley Productions
Exposure: Regional and satellite TV
Project: What's the best thing that could happen to you?
Client: Gary Brown, director of product acquisition
Brief: We can't make your life perfect but we can make banking better
Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper
Writer: Steve Meredith
Art director: Ray Brennan
Director: Paul Goldman
Production company: 2am Films
Exposure: National TV
Project: Changing Faces
Brief: Create a campaign which helps people without disfigurements to
behave normally when meeting people who don't look like the rest of us
Writer: Mick French
Art director: Henry Rossiter
Typographer: Doug Foreman
Photographer: Andy Flack
Exposure: Selected magazines
HALIFAX/BANK OF SCOTLAND
Project: Halifax value campaign
Client: James Boulton, head of marketing and customer relations
Brief: Demonstrate that Halifax is better value than the "big four"
banks in current accounts and personal loans
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Writers: Malcolm Green and Gary Betts
Art directors: Malcolm Green and Gary Betts
Director: Numero Six (David and Laurent Nicolas)
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
Project: Child prostitution
Client: Diana Green, head of advertising
Brief: Raise awareness of abuse through prostitution
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers: Adrian Rossi and Ester Katrine Hjellum
Art directors: Alex Grieve and Jon Rob
Director: Kevin Thomas
Production company: Thomas Thomas
Exposure: National TV