As constructive put-downs go, Paul Arden's reaction to the student book put together by WCRS's own Steve Little some years ago takes a bit of beating. Having flipped wearily through Steve's magnificent oeuvre, Paul asked: "Why are you trying to do advertising?"

Lesser men may have taken this as an unhelpful career pointer. Steve understood. Why was he striving so hard to emulate what he already saw around him? He realised that his mission was to stand out. To differ.

To provoke. And, to prove it, he strides our corridors to this day, his awards clanking on great chains around his neck.

Well, I'm afraid that on seeing this week's batch, I got a nasty touch of the Ardens. Most of the work on offer is reminiscent of something else.

The India Tourist Office press campaign is mainly reminiscent of itself, endlessly over the years. In a kinder mood I could put this down to consistency and having the common sense to stay with a successful ploy - but I've got the Ardens, so it appears repetitious and easy to ignore.

The Kraft dressing ads feature stunning visuals, but much more effort has gone into the vegetable arrangements than in linking the product unforgettably to them.

The Mental Health Awareness campaign is a sympathetic attempt to support recovering mental patients and will undoubtedly have consumed weeks of willing people's lives, so I'm loath to put the boot in. But those damned Ardens are giving me a twitchy leg, and I find the pull-back to reveal - Oh! She's not frantically washing her hands because she's still an obsessive compulsive, she's a vet about to end a dog's boyhood dreams - a bit irritating. A device is rarely an adequate substitute for an idea.

You will definitely have seen the BBC6 Music ad. The one with the wedding where the DJ doesn't play the couple's smoochy tune but goes off on a noisy one of his own and gets clumped by the bride's mother. Want to see it again? Hmm, didn't think so.

It suffers from the same double malaise that afflicts the Powerade campaign, built on the premise that the drink keeps you so active that any moment of the day not spent doing sport is a wasted one.

The hyperbole within both campaigns is based on claims for the products, not on credible insights which make us laugh with recognition. Because of this, they don't cross the line into being genuinely funny. Both of them are also delivered in good old neo-thug naturalism, which is fast becoming the new orthodoxy and must therefore be resisted or put to brilliant new use.

Yorkie shows us how it's done. Simultaneously using its heritage and flying in the face of its competitors' activities, it has come up with a strong, simple idea that will run and run and sell chocolate by the truckload. The launch ad is good fun, although they don't make life easy for themselves by casting the world's most impenetrable Scotsman as the newsagent. Even my girlfriend, whose father is so Scottish that he's called Angus, plays the bagpipes and lives in England, had trouble deciphering his brogue.

But it's a small quibble - I don't mean to be a churl and it isn't because the other campaigns are unrepresentative of current advertising that I'm so lukewarm about them. It's actually because they epitomise what most of us are doing and have to rise above.

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