Executive creative director, Sunshine
Advertising, eh? We’re still at it. Amid the myriad new (arguably better, arguably more effective, definitely more exciting) options open to us in 2016, traditional interruptive advertising still rules. If we’re going to persist with this for a few more months, let’s at least stick to THE RULES.
If you’re going to burst into someone’s front room and interrupt someone’s favourite programme, make sure you’re either incredibly entertaining or incredibly interesting. Or bearing biscuits.
Basically, if you’re going to make a TV ad, it had better be a bloody good one.
This film for Ariel (5) is a bloody good one. A really bloody good one. It’s pitch-perfect, unexpected and properly lump-in-your-throat moving. Washing powder using its ad budget to provoke a debate and inspire social change. Quadruple hats off to all concerned. If a non-bio can find a purpose of this strength, anything can.
Project Literacy for Pearson (4) is definitely adding something to the world. The campaign itself is excellent, raising awareness for one of the world’s biggest root causes of, well, an entire alphabet of problems and taking direct political action. And I liked that the film made a vast subject understandable and tried for an unexpected tone. It’s beautifully crafted. And yet… it didn’t get me in the guts. Considering that it features a dead baby, forced prostitution and a young girl about to have her clitoris cut out, you’d think I’d be reeling from the shock, crying and running straight to Downing Street. Strangely, it works far more powerfully broken down into its key visuals on Twitter. They’re interruptive in a good way.
"Incredibly tasty, phenomenally thick" is a great advertising line. No bullshitting the audience. Says what it does on the packet-of-dehydrated-vegetable-matter. Getting a man who can’t tell the time and doesn’t know how to blow his own nose (I’m A Celebrity… learnings) to front the new Batchelors Cup A Soup (3) campaign is a funny move. I don’t believe he knows how to boil that kettle, though. I would have liked to see him trying to work it out. In fact, I’d like to see an entire series of Joey, topless, trying to work out life’s basics. On the Internets. With a live challenge hour streamed on BuzzFeed. This feels like the start of a big platform. Bigger than a 30-second TV ad.
Kudos to the team who have finally managed to sell in a Google Cardboard idea! If this gets us closer to virtual reality for a mass market, I’ll attempt to gloss over the brand involved. The obvious question is: what now? Does this come from the core of a bold new digital strategy? Is McDonald’s (2) going to become an entertainment brand? That would be exciting. It all depends on what it puts in those goggles. I just hope the headset doesn’t smell of chips.
Finally, The Co-operative Bank (1). Nobody mention Paul Flowers! The Crystal Methodist! Hang on… here’s a "guerrilla gardener" planting some… flowers. Loads of them. Flowers all over Elephant and Castle. Flowers, flowers, flowers. I was going to say that this is a prime example of an interruptive boring ad, but I’ve been an idiot. This is, in fact, a postmodern masterpiece.
Creative partner, 18 Feet & Rising
Wow, so many do-gooders this week in Private View. The pro-social movement is upon us. Advertisers have seen the light. They have ripped up the deal they signed with the devil all those years back. But which of these Mother Teresas is the real McCoy? Whose campaign is going to land with the public in a way that makes them feel something, say something or even do something?
First up, a familiar face that frequents under-the-sink cupboards across the world. Powerful stuff from Ariel (5). And finally a hashtag (#sharetheload) that works. What makes this feel fresh is telling the story from the point of view of the dad. The father/daughter relationship is a special one and, in this spot, he sees the error of his ways. Ariel needs to get in behind this now. How is it going to challenge men at home who will sneer at this idea? My friend recently told me his little boy loves loading up the washing machine. Can Ariel create a toy that encourages fathers and sons to get involved in the washing? When I was growing up, we had a simple housework rota up on the fridge. What if Ariel released one we could all download? This film is a fantastic comment on equality; now Ariel needs to create some tools to tackle behaviour head-on.
The Project Literacy film by Pearson (4) is a wonderfully crafted spot. The characters have real emotion behind their eyes. The thing that falls flat is the "help by sharing this film" message. To make a concrete change in literacy, nudging people to volunteer or donate would have immediate real-world benefits.
Nice piece of innovation from McDonald’s (2). A box originally used for housing the odd green chip or burger crust now takes you into cyberspace at the touch of a button. Well, the touch of a button plus a few folds here and there. Great to see kids getting crafty with cardboard and out of their screens for five minutes…oh, wait. If this global corporation is truly committed to tech innovation, I’d like to see it roll it out on a larger scale. If you want to get your hands on some Happy Goggles, you would have had to get on a plane to Sweden during 5-12 March. Looks like I’ll be heading to the one on Oxford Street and settling for the plastic toy.
The best thing about this Co-operative Bank (1) spot is the line: "I met Layla on a traffic island." Paddy McGuinness, eat your heart out. What I lack from this spot is what The Co-op’s role in it was. Did it pay for the seedlings that allow the guerrilla gardening to happen? Did it unite this couple in its plight for more green? Does The Co-op just support hippie-hipsters or can it help me too? This brand has a huge audience who love it for things beyond wrapping, but they will probably look at this spot and think: "Euurrgghh."
This Batchelors Cup A Soup (3) ad would have been OK a few years back when Joey Essex first came on to the scene. Or when people still used the word "thick" in regard to lacking intelligence. Having seen some of Essex’s more emotional reactions to life lately, I wonder if he has taken a slightly different place in the nation’s heart. He talks openly about how his mum’s suicide affected his ability to learn at school, so a campaign about how stupid he is doesn’t feel quite right. But, hey, he cashed in his cheque and, as far as clarity of message goes, we get it: the soup is thick.