Today's private view is mainly about sex, death and coffee.

Coffee first. The supposed thinking behind instant coffee is the boys in

white coats saying: "Hmm, people like coffee but they can't be bothered

with all that grinding and suffusing. Let's give 'em coffee in a trice."

When anyone who's tasted it knows full well that what they actually

thought was: "People in Britain hate coffee so let's rustle up some

ghastly beige concoction they can drink instead." And, in the interests

of integrity, they've always accompanied it with some of the most

viciously unpleasant advertising known to these shores, culminating in

the 80s extravaganza, The Nescafe Couple. This is where I stumble on to

hot coals, because I so hated this campaign, yet it did things we all

dream about.

It increased sales, it clambered on to the front pages of the tabloids

and it put a grateful grin on the face of the client. And you have to

respect that. No, you really do, because I refuse to.

Anyway, the new face of Nescafe is upon us and in many ways it's a lot

prettier than the Medusa which preceded it. Largely, I have to say,

because of the director. The ads are lavish and vivid. They contain a

refreshing lack of coffee beans being lovingly caressed. But at heart

they are still hollow. They show how the Mexican wave was invented by an

accidentally spilt Nescafe, how a man became a billionaire thanks to a

recently drunk Nescafe and so on. They can't shake off the ingrained

habit that Mother warns us against: making the product unrealistically


Mother is with us this week, advertising Q magazine. By Mum's

definition, the Q audience is good-humoured, sexually fixated, atavistic

and male.

Very male. The ads use a device that only quite maley males will

identify with - the car manual visual style - and get even malier by

showing rock 'n' roll wheels (transits, limos, etc) complete with blow

jobs and shagging mattresses. It's not as funny as their idents for the

same magazine, but what is?

More rock in the VH1 commercial, which tells us that at night its

playlist switches from easy listening to noisier stuff by showing a

factory where the smoothies clock off as the rockers arrive for the

night shift. They use lookalikes, or looknotalotlikes, and it would have

been more fun had they used trickery to insert the real people. But no

doubt more troublesome and expensive.

Hovis these days eschews small boys pedalling bikes for small boys

saying "poo" and consuming the contents of dustbins. It's animated and

simple and I quite liked it.

I also liked the deranged campaign for resilient Baby G watches: "It's

safe inside a Baby G." The ads are all shot from inside the watch as its

wearer attempts increasingly insane stunts to prove the endline. She

wrestles with gorillas, pole vaults and attacks tables with her


And so, to death. You have to admire the publicity generated by this

brutal depiction of brutal truths on behalf of Barnardo's, whose money

is stretched that much further. But I think you have to be wary too. The

previous campaign showed children acting out the suicides and drug abuse

their older selves could fall victim to if nothing were done for


It was poignant and shocking but allowed hope that your intervention

might yet save someone. The new campaign has flipped this idea round by

showing dead adults and talking about the child that was hurt long ago.

It doesn't offer as much redemption and one wonders what the next

campaign will have to do to stave off shock fatigue.

What a morbid ending. Sorry.


Project: Q magazine

Client: Stuart Williams, marketing manager

Brief: Promote free CD with 22 June issue

Agency: Mother

Writer: Mother

Art director: Mother

Illustrator: John Lucas

Exposure: Six-sheet posters


Project: VH1 Classic

Client: Fiona Battle, brand manager, UK and Ireland

Brief: Demonstrate the diversity of VH1 Classic's music policy

Agency: Malcolm Moore Deakin Blazye

Writer: Darren Wright

Art director: Lucy Collier

Director: Seamus Masterson

Production company: Maverick Media

Exposure: Channel 5 and VH1 Classic


Project: Hovis

Client: Paula Moss, brands director

Brief: Make Hovis relevant to modern families

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: John Webster

Art director: John Webster

Director: Grant Orchard

Production company: Studio AKA

Exposure: National TV


Project: Baby-G

Client: Kerry Staniforth, marketing director

Brief: Promote the toughness of Baby-G watches

Agency: Doner Cardwell Hawkins

Writer: Damian Simor

Art director: Lee Ford

Director: Carl Prechezer

Production company: Rose Hackney Barber

Exposure: MTV


Project: Giving children back their future

Client: Andrew Nebel, marketing director

Brief: Demonstrate that Barnardo's gives children back their future

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Alex Grieves

Art director: Adrian Rossi

Photographer: Nadav Kander

Exposure: National press


Project: Nescafe global campaign

Client: Tim Cryan, Coffee and Beverages SBU

Brief: Make Nescafe a relevant and provocative coffee experience for

global youth

Agency: McCann-Erickson Worldwide

Writers: Matthew Crump, Kelvin Tillinghast, Toshikazu Kido, Claudia

Steffenhagen, Katie Peabody and Jeff Suthons

Art directors: Peter Barba, Paulo Giorno, Nadine Muller, Kelvin

Tillinghast, Jeff Suthons, Tsutomu Mikami and Frank Houston

Director: Vaughan Arnell

Production company: Godman

Exposure: MTV global, local TV and cinema