In typical St Luke's style, I couldn't find a quiet place to take a look at this week's ads and found myself in an impromptu project team consisting of one art director, one account director, one account manager and me, an art director.
The conversation went something like this ... "God is that the new Tango stuff?
"Let's see ...
Sfx: hysterical laughing. "Genius.
"Nice bum shot ..."
Tango has gone back to its roots - same strategy, same line, same idea and same commentary-style delivery as the original orange man, only with a different agency. Really great work. Well done to both old and new agencies, as this is a brilliant continuation of an old campaign.
O2. "What's that for?
"Some telecommunications company.
Sfx: yawn. "Pretty pictures."
I couldn't add much more to the discussion. Obviously it was felt that a good old branding job was what was needed here to establish the new brand in an already cluttered market. So we have a lot of people drifting around in water. I know this sort of thing worked brilliantly for Orange, but this isn't as distinctive or original as Orange was. It just feels a bit, well, wishy-washy. I guess there will be a mass of underwater imagery coming our way as they get into the specifics of what they are offering.
It is a campaign that runs the risk of washing over us rather than engaging us.
In goes the Morgan Stanley tape. Sfx: groan. "Nice black and white photography, which retains that Morgan Stanley glossy look from previous ads.
"Personal service from a credit card? How?"
I was going to ring the number and ask, but I lost interest. As consumers, we are all rather cynical when it comes to financial companies offering us a personally tailored service. I'm not sure that I believe it here.
Maybe because it's a rather old-fashioned, middle-class world that the Morgan Stanley cardholder is supposed to aspire to.
Bored, my project team drifts off, leaving us two art directors. We watch the Save the Children ad. "Nice animation."
I've seen this ad on TV and its story-telling narrative style, coupled with distinctive animation, really cuts through. It gets its message across powerfully, telling us how poverty robs children of their childhood. My only concern is that the animation actually lets you off the hook as a viewer and allowed me not to do anything about the film I'd seen. Perhaps a final twist of the knife is required here.
Out comes the poster work for Mars.
I've been sent the funnier versions of the ones that are up at the moment.
"Pleasure you can't measure
is the new line and the posters feature things that give us pleasure, such as shopping and funny-shaped vegetables. Only trouble is I can't help feeling that it would be funnier if we saw them rather than were told about them, but then we wouldn't be able to get all that lovely branded typeface in, eh?
Finally the two of us pore over the posters for NSPCC. "Simple and clear - really powerful."
We both love these. The use of children's book illustration makes the message even more shocking. Seeing them up on 48-sheets makes me feel ashamed, and I don't even have children. These posters are a great follow-up to the brilliant TV ad that was on air a few weeks ago, which is one of my ads of the year so far. I was on the tube and overheard three mums talking about it. Now that's what I mean by causing a debate.