Global creative director,
I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the collated response of the Havas creative council – with the notable exceptions of Lord Gerry of Moira (who was unavailable at the time of going to press) and, considerably less notably, myself. I’m at the Golden Clouds Retreat in Arizona, combining mindfulness with regular colonics. Andre, my spiritual guide, says I cannot risk any further impurities throwing off my chakras. And, as we all know, folks, it’s pretty hard to keep work pure. So please find herewith the collected musings, emissions and voidings of the HCC.
Andy Sandoz (Havas Work Club)
The United Nations. As well as the 50 names of people suffering from hunger, the King of Zweden sports the tattoo "Only God can judge me" – so who am I to critique? So I asked our resident Swedes. Jim is upset that Ibra got a yellow card for taking his shirt off, Jacob is delighted that an idea can both do good and upset football fans. So, provocative and positive. I like how it happened live. It’s real. Great work. Gud ger två tummar upp.
Steven Bennett-Day (Helia)
Valspar’s "colour outside the lines" has the promise of something interesting. It appears naïve but, digging a little deeper into the people in the ad, you find real people with an attitude around colour. It feels like an idea in its infancy and, given the suggestion of freedom and experimentation, that’s OK – because there’s plenty of ways it can grow. Valspar has set a mood for the brand – let’s hope everything that follows makes more of the promise.
Mark Fairbanks (Havas Worldwide)
Bill runs his small business with care and dedication. When he needs help with his van fleet, he gets the same care and dedication from Volkswagen. A very simple, real-life idea. And, for 52 years, that has been the hallmark of the work produced by VW and DDB. Consistently good, often great, sometimes brilliant. And while Bill isn’t quite up there with the guy who drives the snowplough or the man who loved his night-driving, he still has that all-too-rare commodity of rewarding the viewer.
Ben Mooge (Havas Work Club)
Carlsberg. Blokes. They hate supermarkets, don’t they? They hate all forms of shopping. Hate it. But they love drills, don’t they? Don’t they, ladies and gentlemen? They love a drill. They have a special drawer of man things. Imagine a supermarket that was really super. For the bloke. Bloke-super. Full of drills and leaf blowers and La-Z-Boy chairs and beer. Loads and loads of beer. Blokes love beer. And drills. And Dirty Dancing.
Lee Hoddy (Conran Design Group)
What I love about this Sunday Times campaign is how something seemingly obscure can be so immediately engaging. Once I’d made the connection with the "see it from the inside" line and the intriguing and beautifully executed cinematic "eyes", I was hooked, scanning for more. It taps into movie nostalgia and solving puzzles. In my view, the crafted aesthetic is up there with some of the most iconic print ads – a powerful creative intelligence that is so astutely linked to the values of the brand. Intriguing. Iconic. Inspired. The eyes have it.
Thank you, dear council. Dear reader, be mindful of what Andre says: "Gratitude is the best attitude." Which is strange because Martini says: "Luck is an attitude." Whereas, over at Longines, they say: "Elegance is an attitude." And then over at…
Executive creative director,
To start: an apology. The one night this month my children decide to sleep for more than an hour after midnight, I can’t sleep.
So I’m creeping upstairs to the spare bedroom to catch up with the endless awards judging and the rare treat, even at 4am, of Private View. My body clock is so out of whack these days, I’m actually looking forward to going on a stag do tomorrow so I can get some rest. Let’s just process that for a moment. So apologies in advance for any crimes against creativity below.
Great briefs can be double-edged swords. A Carlsberg brief must be a heady mix of elation and pressure to deliver on a legendary format. A faultless soundtrack. It is fun, no doubt. There’s not much meat left on the ironic-bloke-vertising carcass, post-Old Spice et al, so top marks for finding a couple of new chops, however oblique (a giant balalaika?). Do track down the long version. Can’t believe the "sorry"/"really sorry" aisle didn’t make the 40-second cut – it’s the freshest gag, in my humble opinion. Shame on you.
Looking at the minutes from the 2014 AGM of The Royal Society of Creatives That Don’t Like Football, I see the headcount was a record seven. I am blessed to be able to judge football creative absent of the emotions people feel one way or another for Zlatan. He’s probably a wanker, but he’s doing something good here for the United Nations, allegedly tattooing himself with the names of 50 people suffering from poverty around the world. Fair play. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but extra half-time oranges to whoever turned an icon’s waxed chest into a comms channel.
Arguably, the best comedy dynamic of quite recent years is the awkward friendship between a Norwich BP garage attendant/meerkat and one Alan Gordon Partridge. Enter the latest from Volkswagen. A typically crafted, likeable story of a boss who really cares… until the punchline, when it all gets a bit "Alan and Michael" as he closes up shop and hotfoots it to his local VW garage to hang out with a handsome sales rep. It might be the lack of melatonin in my system, but it’s hard not to like the protagonist. I doubt that feeling sorry for him was the plan, though.
I can’t decide whether this campaign for The Sunday Times’ Film and Screen Season is quite up to its usual standard, which is very, very high. It feels like the sort of thing I would come up with and think is absolute genius and Ross [Neil] would say "Nice", then come up with something a bit better and I’d be a bit grumpy. But Ross isn’t here. Because it’s 4.58am and that would be odd. So screw him. It’s ace. Great job.
To end: a confession. My son is addicted to Valspar paint. Specifically, those little card swatches from B&Q. And I am his willing accomplice in our weekly heists. "Daddy, maybe we can go to B&Q to get some colours!" There’s no sign that says you can’t take as many as you want, and he’s only two. But I have no excuse. So I’m very sorry, Valspar, for stealing literally all your colours. All 2.2 million of them, which you don’t mention in your ad, but it is very nice. The B&Q logo could be a bit bigger though… and, on that bombshell, I bid you goodnight/good morning.