Creative director, M&C Saatchi
I was talking to a friend about Isis, and how they allegedly fed a mother her own son. My friend mentioned that this happens in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.
I nodded "knowingly", all the while thinking: God, even Isis struggle to be original.
I’m sure Isis aren’t worried about it but, curiously, the slightly more liberal ad creative would go crazy if told "it’s been done before". They might even chew a child’s face off. This inspired me to write today’s Private View with two clear goals: 1) Originality; 2) Make the creatives involved chew a child’s face off.
Goal one is achieved by writing the worst Private View ever, which no-one has attempted before (intentionally). For goal two, I’ll combine the worst feedback from creative directors, clients, account directors, social gurus and PR gods into a rich stew of completely useless, nonsensical lung dribble. Seasoned with such classics as "seen it done before" and "can I give you a couple of builds?".
The Wall Street Journal. Yeah, I like it… though using a zeitgeist spokesperson has been done to death. Remember when Donald Trump used cling-film pants to sell Altoids? So let’s ramp it up with Will.i.am. What about if he smashes his hand down and his chair spins around to reveal Rupert Murdoch with a powerful magnifying glass over his right eye. In his retina, we see a microscopic tattooed image of Will.i.am. Rupert points at it and whispers: "Will ‘eye’ am." Yes, it doesn’t make any sense, but see where it takes you.
Marmite. Yeah, I like it… but do you remember those Reebok ads with famous footballers in the jobs they’d have if they weren’t famous footballers? Ryan Giggs as a florist etc. Brilliant. Gaffney’s good but needs something to make his content stickier. A build: swap him for Judith Chalmers. She’d be the perfect drugs mule. Jetting from country to country, bit of H in here, bit of coke up there, no questions asked. There’s no such thing as a bad idea, so see where it takes you.
Asics. Yeah, I like it… doesn’t remind me of the fat belly Reebok ad or any Nike ad, which is a shame as then it would have been better. Tough brief. I’m thinking social. With scale. Wait for an earthquake to happen then go LIVE STREAM. We make sure those wearing Asics survive. Our team on the ground trips anyone wearing a competitor brand. Finally, use some cutting-edge tech you’ve seen in a SXSW PowerPoint – see where it takes you.
Honda. Yeah, I like it… especially the ASIMO bit. LOVE him; so cute. Can we just focus on that? Wouldn’t it be great if ASIMO was actually a coffin! All this time, he’s just been walking around with a dead guy inside him – massive PR value. But reading super-fast is also nice. Really like fast. Recap: make more out of the ASTHMA; sorry, predictive text… hang on… ASIMO with ASTHMA! See where it takes you.
Betfair. Yeah, like it… maybe the horses distract a little? Think there was a Korean ad in 2001 that used a horse on a unicycle… think it was for Altoids? But REALLY like the bus stop. Can we do something with that? Maybe have that in the car instead? Wouldn’t transport inside transport powerfully dramatise speed? OR the horses are weasels! But bigger. We’ve jumped weasels, otters, badgers, sharks and gone straight to "horse on woodpecker". Add a #, then see where it takes you.
Senior partner, Forsman & Bodenfors
The Wall Street Journal. Testimonials are one of the oldest tricks in the book, often used by companies selling washing powder or toothpaste. Usually, I’m not a big fan of this type of advertising, but (to my surprise) I actually think this one works. To let a modern and progressive artist such as Will.i.am talk about an old and traditional newspaper is kind of interesting. And could potentially get a new generation of people to consider reading the WSJ. Where I think the campaign went wrong is when they did more testimonials, with all kinds of people, talking about all kinds of reasons to read the paper. It is trying to be everything to everyone, which is a really good way of positioning your brand as being nothing to anyone.
Marmite. This is labelled as a digital campaign, so I guess the plan was for the video to go viral. But, the last time I checked, it only had 4,371 views on YouTube (including all the views from the ad agency, the production company, employees at Marmite, Dean Gaffney and me). So instead of writing something mean, I just refer to that number. The one (and only) thing I think they did right in this campaign was to give a former soap star a comeback – that idea has huge PR potential. If you Google "Dean Gaffney Marmite", you’ll see that the news about his comeback with Marmite created quite a few articles. So the initial thought was good, but the execution was not. They had me at hello, but lost me when they kept talking.
Asics. I guess the biggest challenge for any sport brand is to find a tonality and a way of communicating its products that doesn’t end up looking like a Nike commercial. In my opinion, this video failed in finding its own voice. The spot is executed in a nice way but, right up until the end when the logo appears, I think it’s a Nike commercial – but without any of the big stars or the big budgets. I also get the sense that this is the only commercial that Asics can afford to produce this year and it therefore had to find an idea that included its whole range of running shoes. And in its effort to appeal to everyone, everywhere, it ended up not really appealing to anyone, anywhere.
Honda. Good! I think the creatives have found a really clever way to illustrate speed and pushing limits. And the spot in itself is really well-executed. Bravo! Speaking of Honda, it will be very interesting to see what happens to speed and performance as arguments for selling cars in the (not to distant) future – where cars will drive themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if car-makers, which have been focusing on speed, torque and horsepower, find themselves in trouble when people just want a car with comfortable seats where they can scroll through their Instagram feed.
Betfair. Ads for apps – that has to be one of the hardest categories to do something creative in. Usually, the app needs some kind of explanation and demonstration, which leaves very little room for anything else in a short commercial. This spot really hammers home that it’s easy to use Betfair on mobiles with its "tap tap boom" mnemonic, so I guess the spot delivers what it’s supposed to for Betfair. When it comes to the creativity that they’ve added on top of the demonstration – three guys in a remote location watching horses in rally cars – it’s a little bit… weird. I mean, it’s entertaining to watch, and the spot is really well-executed, but since I have no clue what’s going on, the end result is kind of confusing.