I hope this doesn't apply to Smirnoff advertising. Never having quite recovered from losing its "through the bottle" campaign, Smirnoff has settled down with its "If Smirnoff made ..." campaign. (Not to be confused with the "If Carling made ..." campaign.) This latest TV execution ponders the question "If Smirnoff made contact lenses" and features a man who saves the day by finding his girlfriend's missing tooth - all thanks to his Smirnoff-strength contact lenses. Hmmm. So far, this campaign has worked better on posters, the TV ads are too overblown for too little reward. However, J. Walter Thompson has been quietly improving its creative output over the past couple of years and I have no doubt that the best executions are yet to come.
From one drink to another, the Merrydown posters or Downmerry posters, depending on your point of view, are refreshingly different. Simple, light-hearted and effortless, they remind me of the great posters of the 1900s when advertising was new and easy. A slight quibble is that half the joy of these ads is being able to turn them round and see them the other way up. Not so easy when they are stuck to a building, but I'm sure I'm not the only person who has tried standing on his head after several pints of cider.
Less good is the BBCi work. Both executions start off promisingly and are funny enough in themselves, but fall flat when we get to the bolted-on product bit. They aren't awful, but I just think that the BBC deserves bigger and better.
Next, a viral campaign for Monster.com. Usually "viral campaign" is a euphemism for "stuff we couldn't get through the BACC" but in this instance the ad is going to run on telly anyway so it must fall into the "sneak preview" category. This ad for its new online service My Monster Premium is every bit as good as the previous brilliant Monster.com ads, so should you care for a sneak preview I suggest you e-mail dave-cleverclogs-droga@saatchi&saatchi.co.uk and get him to send it to you.
Orange has famously changed its marketing director and changed its agency. Does its first commercial reflect this change? Well, the ad is arty, stunning to look at, has a cool track and you can't work out what it's actually saying ... so no change there then for Orange. On the positive side, it has the beginnings of a new tone of voice. The endline "muck about" has a welcome freshness to it and perfectly captures the combined fun and uselessness of picture messaging. Better still, the new agency and new marketing director have not been afraid to have a go. To me this ad seems to be feeling its way towards something new, while not being entirely comfortable in its own skin. I sense the future's very bright indeed.
Lastly, some ads for the Department of Health. A tricky brief; to lecture the young about sexual diseases, but this set of ads manages to deliver the lecture without appearing heavy. The parallel with the lottery is a good one and the use of scratch cards with lines such as "who's got the iffy stiffy?" and "scratch my box" are inspired. A perfect marriage of idea, media and message. Claps all round.
Overall this is certainly the best selection of ads that I have ever been given to review in Private View. On the strength and promise of the work on these pages I see no dark cloud on the horizon for 2003. Happy New Year.
Project: "Upside down heads"
Client: Chris Carr, managing director
Brief: Put Merrydown back on the cider category radar
Agency: Campbell Doyle Dye
Writer: Sean Doyle
Art director: Dave Dye
Typographer: Dave Wakefield
Photographers: Michael Johnson, Brian Cronin, Jeff Fisher, Giles Ravel
Exposure: Six-sheet posters, press, fly posters, bottles, postcards
Client: Giorgia Longoni, European marketing manager
Brief: Develop an edgy, extreme viral ad for Monster that would get
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Writer: n/a
Art directors: Guy Bradbury, Eoghain
Director: Martin Krejci
Production company: Dawson
Exposure: Viral to one million registered users
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Project: Adult sexual health
Client: Karen Gregory, senior marketing and communications manager
Brief: Reduce the number of sexually transmitted infections among 18- to
30-year-olds by increasing condom usage
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Writer: Jon Elsom
Art director: Ken Sara
Photographer: Paul Reas
Exposure: Consumer magazines, ambient - scratch cards, beer mats,
Project: BBCi Lifestyle
Client: Steve Conway, head of marketing and communications, new media
Brief: Attract more women to the web, especially non-users of BBCi
Agency: BBC Broadcast
Writer: Ben Friend
Art director: Anton Ezer
Director: Rory Rooney
Production company: Spectre
Exposure: National TV
Project: Photo messaging
Client: Jeremy Dale, marketing director
Brief: Photo messaging is free
Art director: Mother
Director: Chris Cunningham
Production company: RSA
Exposure: National TV, cinema
Project: "If Smirnoff made ..."
Client: Philip Gladman, marketing director, Smirnoff Red
Brief: Create a new execution within the current campaign idea "If
Smirnoff made ..."
Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Writer: Bruce Menzie
Art director: Simon Brotherson
Director: Clarie Wedgeworth
Production company: Serious Films
Exposure: UK cinema