PRIVATE VIEW: Bruce Crouch, the creative director at Soul

As I write this, my glass is half full (literally and metaphorically).

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

spring/summer 2003

Agencies: TBWA/Chiat/Day and 180 Amsterdam

Creative teams: Dean Maryon and Laen Sanchez (180); Lew Willig and Scott

Duchon (TBWA/Chiat/Day)

Typographers: n/s

Photographers: Matt Jones and Moshe Brakha

Exposure: Global top-end magazines


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

Client: n/s

Brief: Create a campaign which helps people without disfigurements to

behave normally when meeting people who don't look like the rest of us

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Mick French

Art director: Henry Rossiter

Typographer: Doug Foreman

Photographer: Andy Flack

Exposure: Selected magazines


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

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