PRIVATE VIEW: James Lowther, chairman of M&C Saatchi

This week, it's the three Bs ... bikes, beer and bingo. (Makes a change from bombs and Baghdad.)

I must confess I know absolutely nothing about bikes, either of the motor or mountain variety. Though I did once have a poster of a smouldering young Brando on one, in the days before his weight would have crushed it. My general impression of motorbikes is that they are less a mode of transport (as in "travel"), more a mode of transport (as in "ecstasy") being essentially huge vibrators for blokes. So I shouldn't have been surprised that the Yamaha campaign merely shows these magnificent beasts in various hunkily analogous situations - a gymnasium, a butcher's freezer, a Damian Hirst shark tank and on a roller coaster. The shots are good and er ... the bikes look fantastic. Maybe, that's enough.

But I couldn't help yearning for an over-arching and unique thought and some evidence that a copywriter had been somewhere in the vicinity. Why is it that so often ugly things get great ads (VW) but beautiful things get moderate ads? Maybe teams don't think they have to try so hard.

Muddy Fox, on the other hand, makes an effort. It's a mountain bike.

So it's not too far a leap from its name to the plot of this ad ... a load of mountain bikes chasing a pink-coated huntsman across hill and dale.

It's well shot and edited and probably presses all the right buttons for mountain bikers, if that is, they have any buttons left after having their privates viciously pummelled by the bicycle seat.

In fact, it all looks quite fun. So Tony Blair's bound to ban it then.

After all that, you'd need a beer. And the first beer on the menu, Cobra, is quite charmingly off piste itself. First, because it's Indian. And second, because of its remarkable line: "Ingenious because less gaseous." Now, having associated Indian fare with precisely the opposite qualities, ie. gaseousness of a quite Olympic nature, I found this concept quite hard to wrestle with. Fortunately, the ads chose to focus on the ingenuity rather than the gas ... one Indian making a hair-dressing salon up a tree for his elephant-riding customers, another making a car wash with elephants.

Nice quirky romps with a good sound track, though they suffer from dramatising more about India than the product. Not one for the Pantheon of great beer ads, but up there for "Best Use of Elephants" (The elephant that I came across last year in Cambodia was evidently unfamiliar with the "less gaseous" concept).

Heineken ads have always been known for their ingeniousness. This time they seem to have taken a leaf out of George W Bush's book and dropped huge tonnages of metal on to unsuspecting folk below ... in the form of large barrels of their new 5% Premium beer ... destroying their pavements, crushing their cars and even themselves.

The ingenious twist is that apparently people are dead chuffed about it ... just what old Don Rumsfeld said all along, eh? A neat campaign. I apologise for the horrible analogy.

Last up, Gala bingo. When the great caller in the sky summons the winners to the rostrum of ad fame, there won't be too many bingo creative teams making the walk.

All the more credit then to the team who did this campaign. Instead of the usual tedious litany of lucky winners celebrating or spending their winnings, this has a fresh insight that: "Everyone loves a winner."

So their heroes aren't the ladies who win, but their nearest and dearest who prepare to suck up to them - a bulldog flossing and mouth-freshening before giving her a slobby kiss and a bloke trying to car-valet his way into her affections. Funny and nicely executed even if I didn't like the spider one much.

But A for effort. And B for brave.


Project: Heineken Premium 5 % launch

Client: Leslie Meredith, marketing director

Brief: Announce the arrival of Heineken Premium 5 % in your local

Agency: Clemmow Hornby Inge

Writers: Christer Andersson and Alex Ball

Art directors: Christer Andersson and Alex Ball

Typographer: Rob Sutton

Photographer: Bisse Bengston

Exposure: National 48-sheet and six-sheet posters


Project: Gala Bingo

Client: Richard Sowerby, group sales and marketing director

Brief: Create a differentiated, competitive, branded positioning for

Gala within the bingo category

Agency: Leo Burnett

Writer: Jonathan Budds

Art director: Anita Davis

Director: Traktor

Production company: Traktor

Exposure: National TV


Project: 2003 motorcycle brand advertising

Client: Miles Taylor, brand manager

Brief: Build desirability of the four key models within the 2003 range

and continue to position Yamaha as the most technically innovative

motorbikes on the market

Agency: BCLO

Writer: Simon Davies

Art directors: Richard Kramer and Andy Purnell

Exposure: Consumer motorcycle press and men's lifestyle


Project: Muddy Fox relaunch

Client: Andy Lloyd, brand manager

Brief: Make Muddy Fox the most talked-about mountain bikes

Agency: Tom, Dick & Harry

Writers: Russell Schaller and Ben Clapp

Art directors: Russell Schaller and Ben Clapp

Director: Ben Sedley

Production company: Garretts

Exposure: Satellite TV


Project: Cobra Beer TV

Client: Karan Bilimoria, chief executive

Brief: Make Cobra part of the repertoire of beers in bars, supermarkets

and off-licences as well as restaurants

Agency: Team Saatchi

Writer: Kevin Millicheap

Art director: Jim Salter

Director: Shamin Desai

Production company: Highlight Productions, India

Exposure: National and satellite TV and cinema