UKG2 takes the recent fascination with talent shows and celebrity and acknowledges their boring domination of our TVs. The ads feature the worst talent show on earth .We follow various acts (my favourite is a six-foot-something Goth interpreting a Bonnie Tyler 80s rock anthem through movement and dance) doing their thing with the line: "Not on our channel." This is fun, well-done entertainment, which, after all, is what advertising should be. This reflects the mood of the nation right here, right now.
Vladivar vodka features a cultish character called Har Mar Superstar, a camp, kitsch anti-hero who stands for anti-establishment, anti-pretension ... well, I presume that's what he's about, as he wiggles his way around his stately home clad in various delightful pink satin numbers. I admire the attempt to do something a bit different in the vodka market; the only thing is that this falls a bit flat. Shot in a way that is too reminiscent of other ads, such as Pot Noodle, so you're left feeling as if you've seen it all before. I imagine there is loads of other, more anarchic stuff that will accompany this and if there isn't, there should be. Har Mar should be allowed off his pink fluffy leash to go where the cinema regulators will not allow. Not so much now as a few months ago.
The online campaign for the Royal Marines, although nothing new, carries on the tradition of good Army recruitment advertising. There are three executions: one with a map that asks if you can orienteer; one with an image of a soldier jolting up and down that is revealed to be the view as we do some press-ups and one with a clock ticking away challenging us to hold our breath for a minute. All with the endline: "99.99 per cent need not apply." Online is big enough and old enough to hold its own in the advertising arena. So dare I say that I think that the writing lets it down. It's crude and lacks the craft and wit of great advertising copy.
Renault is back with Thierry Henry to flog the Clio. And why not? He was great in the first ad, all French je ne sais quoi. Unfortunately, the sequel (as with all sequels - The Godfather Part II being the exception) is not nearly as good. Maybe because the first time we were engaged, we were surprised by his charm, his performance, his va va voom. The second time, the novelty has worn off, we need more than a French bloke with a funny accent and, yes, we are given some cool Blue Note-style jazz graphics and Animal (the muppet) playing the drums alongside Henry in his jazz band, but it is not enough.
Peugeot has decided to do some sponsorship around some movies. I've managed to glean this from the line on them, "Take me to the movies", and the fact that they mimic films. The first is done in the style of The Terminator, the other in that of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This is a difficult one - sponsorship idents are a tricky length and need to be seen in situ.
They need to be simple and clear. The Spaghetti Western version is really nicely done, with a women in a stand-off with a traffic warden. As her meter clicks on to penalty she reaches for her keys to her Peugeot 206 GTi 180 and he his ticket. He wins. Not good, but not bad either.
I have left the Branston Pickle ad until last, because I really didn't know what to say. Let me share with you the lyrics to the little ditty that accompanies various pickles on forks forming a face: "Bring on the Branston tang, I love pickled onions, I love piccalilli, baby beet is a bit of alright when you toss them in a salad on a Thursday night."
You see my problem. This is sooooo yesterday that it might just be the new tomorrow.
WHYTE & MACKAY
Project: Vladivar/Har Mar Superstar
Clients: Fiona McKennie, brand manager; Glen Gribbon, marketing director
Brief: Put Vladivar back on the agenda among 18- to 24-year-old regular
vodka users and provide a platform that makes Vladivar stand apart from
Agency: The Union
Writer: Adam Smith
Art director: Mark Williams
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Production company: Stink
Exposure: Channel 4, five and satellite TV
THE ARMY/COI COMMUNICATIONS
Project: Royal Marines recruitment
Brief: Communicate the elite nature of the Royal Marines and pre-qualify
Agency: Glue London
Writers: Gavin Gordon-Rogers and Seb Royce
Art director: Gemma Butler
Designers: Leon Ostle and Simon Cook
Exposure: Outdoor pursuits and fitness websites
Client: Richard Kingsbury, marketing director, UKG2
Brief: Launch UKG2 to a younger, more sardonic audience
Art director: Mother
Director: Sean Mullins
Production company: RSA
CROSS & BLACKWELL
Project: "Juggling beets"
Client: Jayne Paynter, sour pickles marketing manager
Brief: Announce the launch of Branston's sour pickles range
Writer: Jack Stephens
Art director: Rob Nielsen
Director: Jerry Hibbert
Production company: Hibbert Ralph Animation
Exposure: National TV
Project: Peugeot sponsorship idents
Client: Dean Drew, advertising director
Brief: Continue establishing the link between Peugeot and five movies by
developing sponsorship idents for the 206 GTi 180 and 307CC
Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper
Writer: Angus Wardlaw
Art director: Alexei Berwitz
Production company: Independent
Project: Clio "drummer"
Client: Chris White, manager, communications and marketing
Brief: Further strengthen the brand's appeal to a youth and male
Writer: Ira Joseph
Art director: Jack Steers
Production company: @radical.media
Exposure: Online, cinema, satellite and terrestrial TV