West Herts College advertising course
Hi, I’m Cassie, a creative currently studying on the Watford course. I’m pleased to be asked to take part in Private View and hope that any offence taken by agencies at my comments will be short-lived. At least I don’t have a memorable name. In any case, I can always resort to following creatives home or standing outside said agencies in the rain, holding a placard. I know how you guys love that stuff…
First up, Imperial Leather’s "Foamburst genies" campaign – in which seven "genies" embody the seven fragrances of shower gel. Apparently, the fragrances are "toilet humour", "tiresome parody", "overlong spiel", "cultural cliché", "dubious comedic value", "unclear target audience" and Doc. Nice production values and some thought has clearly gone into developing the tongue-in-cheek characters around the fragrances, but this feels forced. I hate to compare it, but Green & Black’s (and Mother) did this so much better with the "this is not a chocolate bar" campaign recently. Sorry, Imperial Leather – don’t foam us, we’ll foam you.
I’ve watched the Camelot ad half-a-dozen times and I still can’t think of anything much to say about it.
In it, people are talking about the Lotto jackpot – to be precise, they are singing about it. Down a manhole, in a call centre, in a cafe (not in a library, though – that would just be silly). It seems a shame – Camelot has done some good work in the past. The recent Monopoly Scratchcard ad cleverly homed in on the time-stopping feeling of "what if" that scratchcards give, for example – but this ad just doesn’t tap into any emotion at all. Unless that emotion is: "Jesus, I’m singing in public – AND I’M BRITISH!"
Next, another ad that tries to tap into raw feeling. I’m not a beer-drinker or a footy fan, so I’m the wrong audience for Carlsberg’s "the ride", but I can’t help feeling that using a rollercoaster to denote emotions is a bit of a clichéd route. The ad is well-shot and the different football tribes are cleverly observed (supporters, WAGs, managers etc) but, like a rollercoaster lacking a crucial bolt, the ad falls down without a strong idea.
Suzuki’s "good neighbour" features a dippy-looking suburban couple buying a Suzuki 4x4, only to find themselves overrun with requests from neighbours for "urgent" lifts under false pretences. It’s well-executed with some nice touches (such as the neighbour’s poodles with neck braces that are actually lampshades), but the idea is weak and the scenario is unbelievable. Takeaway messages are "buy this car if you’re a mug" or maybe "buy this car if you want your neighbours pissing you off". There’s also no detail on the car other than a close-up of a sun roof to explain why "When you see it, you just have to have it". It’s a throwback to 50s "buy this Caddy and the gals will swoon" car advertising: no benefit, just take our word for it, it’s on teevee.
Finally, another car ad – this time for Mercedes-Benz’s Magic Body Control technology. With chickens. CHICKENS. Not a car in sight, just some slightly ominous gloved hands cradling said chickens. A quick Google search confirms that, yes, chickens will keep their heads immobile if their bodies are moved around – even if Upside Down by Diana Ross is playing. And that’s a claw-tapping, comb-nodding tune. It’s a clever, lateral idea, simply executed, that illustrates the product perfectly. Huzzah! I’m off to KFC to celebrate.
Bournemouth University advertising course
To be the one writing rather than reading Private View is a change to my usual role of "the student" who spends three years quoting and studying the words of accomplished experts, only to be repeatedly told that our personal opinions have no value – so thank you, Campaign, for this rare opportunity!
On to the latest releases in adland.
It’s no surprise that Camelot has emphasised the bigger jackpot and charity funding using the marketing spiel of a "new dawn", rather than stating the price rise of its tickets. The song performed by the "typical" representation of the British public makes for a cheesy, but nonetheless upbeat, show. I can’t help but feel a party political broadcast vibe to this execution, as if I should be waiting in apprehension for David Cameron to pop up with the broken-record quote: "We’re all in this together."
A previous ad by Imperial Leather focused on its new formula of adding more bubbles to its shower gel, working nicely to communicate the improved product attributes. Its latest ad, "Foamburst genies", seems to use the formula of the tried-and-tested successes of the Old Spice and Diet Coke ads involving the elusive topless male. I understand the concept of a genie in a bottle, but the poetic monologue given by this mystical Scotsman included lines such as: "I’ve seen a tree transform with a springtime blossom."
This evoked the same reaction I had to Miley Cyrus’ VMA "performance" – I was left questioning the rationale behind it.
It’s not very often I see an ad then hope for there to be a "behind the scenes" feature video on how it was created. Carlsberg’s ad to mark its three-year sponsorship deal with the Barclays Premier League has made me crave more. Everyone from WAGs to a lonely fan praying is included on this journey, only to reach the celebratory peak of the rollercoaster, Carlsberg in shot. A somewhat clichéd metaphor of a rollercoaster to depict the ups and downs of a football match hasn’t taken away from the beautiful visual execution.
It seems love at first sight does exist for Suzuki’s new four-wheel drive. This car certainly gets curtains twitching among an array of neighbours living in what I can only presume is a suburban cul-de-sac. Humorous scenarios of neighbours in "need" of the car, such as a hospital dash for a woman’s fictitious labour, are played out. This was a nice way to showcase the diversity of the car’s use. The aspirational "keeping up with the Joneses" desires the neighbours display is something a client dreams of – however, I’m yet to know anyone to salivate over a Suzuki 4x4 like they would over some of its competitors.
Moving on to the second car ad on the menu this week: Mercedes-Benz. First of all, it’s nice to see Mercedes-Benz inject some long-overdue personality into its ads, distancing itself from the previous sleek shots of cars driving against dramatic landscapes. This brand-focused ad uses the ingenious visual analogy of a chicken’s head remaining static despite its body being moved to reflect the stability of the car. The move towards attracting a younger market has avoided the dreaded "cringe" factor in a bid to be cool and managed to keep on-brand.
Who knew poultry could be so mesmerising and elegant? With the help of Diana Ross’ Upside Down, this ad comes out the right way up.