What better way to start than with this year's Marks & Spencer Christmas ad. It's the usual line-up of celebs partaking of what M&S has to offer, but it's done as nursery rhyme characters in a pop-up book. My favourite is Will Young who goes to give Sleeping Beauty a kiss, but makes off with her quilt instead. It's well put together, makes you feel all "holidays are coming" and is very M&S. It's not terribly original, but I'm sure it will be popular ... As will Woolworths and its cast of celebs.
I can't be the only person out there who thinks Orange is all over the shop. Individually, the recent work has been interesting, but these ads only add to the confusion of what Orange is all about. They're done in a quirky Amelie style and are about Orange phone services. The first one is about a gendarme with the eye of an artist who can send picture messages.
The next features a minimalist office designer who can't stop people personalising their workspaces just like you can personalise "Orange world". The third has a bloke missing everything because he's out of sync with the world, but now can get e-mails on his phone. And the last uses different snores to show you can give everyone in your address book their own ringtones.
They're not bad, but hot on the heels of a series of seemingly disparate messages such as "muck about", "Hardnosed Business Man" and "Orange phone trainers", I can't help but wonder how much better it would all be with a big brand idea holding it all together.
Next for all you wife beaters out there, you can now get a barrel of Stella Artois. This print campaign is all about making room in your fridge for it, by chucking out the salmon, the caviar, the lobster, etc. It's basically a similar idea to the award-winning print campaign where objects of desire were sacrificed to open a Stella. Unfortunately, it's just not as surprising and not as stylish. A bit ordinaire for Stella, if you ask me.
The Alpen ads are all about the fact that it has no added sugar. The idea is that it's "sweet, but not too sweet" and to illustrate this, shows us a little girl who clearly isn't sugar and spice and all things nice and a couple of kinky S&M teddy bears. Must be a Swiss thing. They are OK but a bit studenty.
The "Mini guide to romance" TV idents are for a sex therapy programme called Between the Sheets, but they're mainly about how much room there is in a Mini to get your leg over. They range from funny to a bit lame, particularly the one that shows a Mini rocking backwards and forwards in front of a sign that says: "Welcome to Great Coxwell." The funniest shows a bloke putting a long wreath into the back of his car. The VO says "say it with flowers" and we then see the wreath says "slapper".
My favourite of this bunch was for Mr Kipling. It shows a woman deep in the throes of labour. It starts off with her in pain, sweating and screaming. Her husband shouts encouragement: "Come on, Mary!" The reveal is that what we are seeing is a church hall nativity play in front of a shocked audience of children and parents. A bemused woman asks the cake-munching vicar if Mr Kipling has ever directed a nativity play before. His reply is of course: "No, but he does make exceedingly good cakes." It is the antithesis of the M&S ad, and it is probably in exceedingly bad taste, but it is bloody funny.
Client: Jeremy Dale, vice-president, brand marketing
Brief: Establish Orange's customer-intimate approach while promoting
different non-voice-based services
Art director: Mother
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National and European TV
Project: Alpen No Added Sugar
Client: Tony Corp, marketing controller
Brief: Focus on the product's benefit of being naturally sweet rather
than laden with sugar
Agency: Banks Hoggins O'Shea/FCB
Writer: Jason Cascarina
Art director: Andy Lennard
Photography: Alex Mahon and Getty Images
Exposure: Women's weeklies and monthlies, national press supplements,
Metro, Men's Health
MARKS & SPENCER
Project: "Once upon a Christmas"
Client: Jude Bridge, head of brand marketing
Brief: Make M&S the destination store this Christmas
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Pip Bishop
Art director: Chris Hodgkiss
Director: Jeff Stark
Production company: Large Corp
Exposure: National TV
Project: Between the Sheets idents
Client: Emma Lownde, marketing manager
Brief: Mini's association with Between the Sheets
Writer: Dave Cornmell
Art director: Jane Briers
Director: Sam Cadman
Production company: Rogue Films
Exposure: ITV drama
Project: Stella Artois draught barrel
Client: Kerry Collinge, brand manager
Brief: Launch the Stella Artois draught barrel
Writer: Zac Ellis
Art directors: Richard Littler and Steve Williams
Typographer: Marc Donaldson
Exposure: National monthly magazines
Project: "Mr Kipling's merry mince pies"
Client: Kate Taylor, brands director, Manor Bakeries
Brief: Force front-of-mind awareness ofMr Kipling's exceedingly good
mince pies at Christmas
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Joel Bradley
Art director: Phil Clarke
Director: David Lodge
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV