Executive creative director,
"Right, guys, I’ve just come from the client. They made it pretty clear that they do not want to be impressed by this one. They’d like something middle of the road. Not rubbish. Just not too good. A five out of ten would be perfect. Anything too catchy will work against us. And they don’t want us wasting time innovating. Think… the last Coldplay album… not the first two."
Everyone sets out to make their best work but, somehow, sometimes, we end up fulfilling this brief. But hopefully not this week.
Irn-Bru is sponsoring the Commonwealth Games – the games we skilfully created ourselves to keep all the best countries out and give us a fighting chance of winning more than wooden spoons. Scots, the film says, revel in their underdog status. They "reach for the stars and come up with clouds". It’s a glorious celebration of fandom at all costs. Usually a broken heart. So what better home for the Games, when the locals expect defeat, not triumph, but will hope against all odds for the latter. It’s beautifully written. There’s a great shot of three people dressed up – two as table-tennis bats, one as the ball – with the accompanying line: "We may dress as numpties." Made me smile. Beautifully made and most definitely the first Coldplay album.
The Imperial War Museum next. Great institution. Loved the blurb that told me the story. Great animation company. The soundtrack by Soviet Science, I love. But then I felt strangely unmoved by the film. It tells the story of stories from the battlefront that made it home when many soldiers didn’t. It’s a beautiful thought, but the conversations are visualised with speech marks that make their way home from Europe. For me, the animators’ skills would have been better spent depicting the reality of war rather than symbols of punctuation. This should be harrowing and emotional, but the butterfly-like inverted commas are too lightweight. I won’t say which Coldplay album, but it definitely isn’t the first.
Three is sorry. Sorry for all the holiday spam its customers send back home from their holidays. Aircraft wing, after aircraft wing, after aircraft wing. It’s the Blackcurrant Tango company spokesman done very well and on a smaller scale. Hotdog legs is my highlight. A good early Coldplay single.
Lexus’s… Lexusii… (whatever the plural of Lexus is) are apparently amazing in motion. The title at the end says so. To prove as much, the car doesn’t move an inch in this film. Instead, we are treated to a stop-frame-in-real-life extravaganza in which a body shape makes its way across a cityscape. There are great moments – jumping from the building, swimming under water. But the style of animation is super-lo-fi. Not that amazing. And the car bolted on the end just sits there and does nothing to live up to the bold claim. Remember Volvo "twister"? That was amazing in motion and definitely track two from the first Coldplay album.
Halfords has a bike whisperer. I can’t imagine that, after years of trying to correct the negative image of bike purchases from Halfords, telling the world that this idiot works there will help. He’s a "Canadian comedian", apparently. Maybe his handlebar moustache swung it. Over three minutes, he insults most of the customers and fellow members of staff he meets and generally confuses. Bikes aren’t cheap. So people need advice and a friendly salesperson to talk to. Not someone who translates a bike’s bell-ring into rubbish. Sorry. A third-album filler track, for me.
Executive creative director,
Google Creative Lab
It has been a while since my mug’s appeared on the pages of Private View, so I may be a bit rusty. Also, I was fortunate enough to judge the Titanium Lions a few weeks back and was incredibly spoiled by the standard of the work submitted. But that’s the great thing about our business – every single brief written, every single day given to every single creative person gives us all an equal shot at the Lions, Pencils, fame and… immortality. Every year. We all start from the same place.
Halfords’ film features a fellow Canadian (a comedian, in this case), Tony Law, who reckons he can talk to bikes. He’s kind of like that guy who sort of did the same but with horses. The spots are quite fun, part sweet, part silly. They look like they’ve been shot for real in a Halfords branch, which adds to their charm.
Researching the "horse version" on IMDB informed me of this little gem: "‘Horse whispering’ is somewhat of a misnomer. Native Americans would sometimes tame a horse by jumping on its back and biting its ear to make it stop bucking (the pain would be worse if the rider’s teeth were jerked by the horse’s head). Some observers misunderstood what was happening and assumed the rider was whispering in the horse’s ear to calm it."
I personally am going to stick to bikes.
Irn-Bru. A beautifully written spot celebrating "the supporter" ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Scots are unlike any other fans – they are "natural-born supporters". This spot celebrates them. It has got some great verses including "We are the underdogs with the heart of a lion" as well as "And when the sporting gods shine on our pasty faces, Martians need ear plugs". What can I say? Robbie Burns would be proud.
Lexus. As part of the "amazing in motion" campaign, stuntmen in LED suits light up the Kuala Lumpur skyline. The idea being to make it look like a single figure moving through the city. The technique is really interesting and it looks like it must have been quite a challenging shoot to pull off. It’s really impressive to look at when you realise what exactly you’re looking at and it even resolves quite neatly into the car.
Imperial War Museum. Many soldiers never made it home from the war but, because of the Imperial War Museum, their stories did. A lovely animated film shows quotation marks flying from France back to the UK and landing in the museum, where the First World War Galleries are located. The sound design of soldiers writing letters to loved ones juxtaposed against the animated quotation marks alongside the beautifully illustrated world brings an air of optimism to the sadness of the past and will hopefully go on to inform the next generation about the brave people who lost their lives and the loved ones they left behind.
Three. What I love about this campaign is how they followed the Vranakises on holiday in order to make it. I kept asking them not to bother us but lost in the end. When abroad, we hold our plates up and photograph the garishly garnished catch of the day. Niko buries me in the sand and Stefano sizes up historic sites by playing with the perspective, making himself look like a giant three-year-old next to them. Then we bombard everyone we know with these images – up until now at great expense. Relatives, friends, neighbours, cousins twice removed. It’s real. It’s what real people do. Insightful, honest and funny, with a great lo-fi aesthetic to it. And now it’s free! No need to apologise.