And believe me, when it comes to my kids, I can kvell swell. However, as these NSPCC ads rightly point out, children aren't always a source of unbridled delight. As every parent knows, babies are born with the power to transform the sane into the psychotic. Oh, if only they popped out of the womb with a mute button, or umbilical cord attached to a copy of Toddler Taming, by Dr Christopher Green (no relation, yet highly recommended). Sadly, they don't and, since the demise of the extended family, many mums and dads are left largely to cope alone. In these intelligent print ads (obviously a younger sibling to the TV commercials), the NSPCC extends its brand into parental support, a good, proactive step in helping stop child abuse before it begins. And while I understand and recognise the situations and salute the craft behind the executions, I just wish they didn't leave me so cold.
Last week, I bought a T-shirt with a slogan on the front that read "Fashion Victim". My wife took one look and made me take it back. She said it felt like I was screaming to the world that - honest - I really am young, cool and trendy. "Trying too hard," she sniggered.
I mention this because the new Harvey Nichols campaign is built around the idea of fashion victims. There's fashion a-plenty in these ads: the fashion for "is it stock shot or is it real" photography; the fashion for "let's cut up the type and tape it back together" and the fashion for "at least one of these ads has got to feature football otherwise they'll spot we're posh". Like my T-shirt, the ads doth protest too much. Could be I'm not the target audience. Or maybe Harvey Nicks and my missus are engaged in a conspiracy to force me headlong into Marks & Sparks (which, incidentally, has a rather attractive range of light cotton-mix slacks in its men's spring collection ...).
Is it because time and IBA constraints don't allow us to cram a zillion-and-one details into idents that the best of them tend to rely on a single, simple thought, entertainingly executed?
I don't know if these Mini ads are idents but they feel that way. They're anarchic, funny but with a tone of voice that's forever Mini. Lesson for Harvey Nichols: "Cool is ... never having to say you're cool."
I've got a Clerical Medical policy. I think Nigel Long sold it to me.
This gives me a kind of (in)vested interested in these spots, for which the agency seems to have adopted the fund manager's approach - dull, safe and barely believable. And while I won't encourage CM to be too risky with my pension, I wouldn't say no to a touch of the George Soros pizzazz in their advertising.
The Kit Kat film stars the actor Jason Statham, who treats us to an actorly monologue about his love of Kit Kat. Actually, he doesn't even mention Kit Kat (probably in his contract). But we do get a nature lesson about the sad life of a salmon. People who know assure me that this salmon story isn't strictly accurate. But who am I to carp?
Of course, Jason's the sort you'll find lurking in the shadows of The Getaway, PlayStation's game of ultra-violence, bad language and dodgy dialogue. The commercials seamlessly mix live Point Blank-style footage with excerpts from the game. Great sound builds suspense and the whole thing feels big and vicious. I've got friends whose kids have reached the top in The Getaway, qualifying as fully fledged virtual killers.
Come on. Surely that's grounds for kvelling?
Project: "Full stop" campaign
Client: John Grounds, director of communications
Brief: Position the NSPCC as somewhere to turn to for parents before
they cross the line
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Gavin Kellett
Art director: Nik Studzinski
Typographer: Roger Kennedy
Photographer: Jack Webb
Exposure: National press and magazines
Project: Brand campaign
Client: Julia Bowe, marketing director
Brief: Harvey Nichols is heaven for fashion addicts
Agency: BMP DDB
Writers: Dan Hubert and Amber Casey
Art directors: Dan Hubert and Amber Casey
Typographer: Pete Mould
Photographers: Piers North and Kieran Masters
Exposure: National press and cross-track posters
Project: 2003 brand campaign
Client: Sue Tunstall, head of marketing operations
Brief: Communicate the peace of mind of being with Clerical Medical
Agency: Partners BDDH
Writer: Murray Blacket
Art director: Steve Back
Director: Daniel Barber
Production company: Rose Hackney Barber
Exposure: National TV
Client: Kevin McSherry, senior product manager
Brief: Show what happens when you take the safety net out of the gaming
Writers: Chris Bovill and John Allison
Art directors: Chris Bovill and John Allison
Directors: Tom and Charlie Guard
Production company: Rogue Films
Exposure: European TV
Project: You are not a salmon
Clients: Liam Newton, head of brand marketing; Jon Lambert, brand
Brief: Kit Kat inspires the UK to take more breaks
Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Writer: Jonathan John
Art director: Nick Wootton
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Production company: Academy
Exposure: National TV
Project: 2003 cinema
Client: Emma Lowndes, marketing manager
Brief: Continue and develop the successful Mini adventure campaign into
Writer: Andy Brittain
Art director: Yu Kung
Production companies: Traktor and Partizan