There's a Vittel spot where a rentamodel drinks some Vittel in an elevator which then turns into a shower cubicle; there's one with a Daewoo with a lava-lamp interior, loads of figures and a dreamy voice telling you it's the most relaxing way to buy a car; and there's a Domino's Pizza spot which is a really cruel effort by those little monkeys at Campaign to elicit a bloodbath for their amusement by giving me, of all people, the most extraordinary advertising campaign since Shake 'n' Vac to write about. Well, I'm not going to rise to the bait. Suffice to say, the Domino's pizza campaign has that long-held authority on pizza, a psychic duck, describing the merits of various Domino's pizzas.
On the print side, there is a campaign for Midland Mainline (a rail network?) which involves a decreasingly clever use of banknotes as visuals and another pizza campaign - this time for Goodfellas - which continues the TV theme fancifully suggesting that Goodfellas pizzas are so good that it's the end for pizzerias. We are given scant grounds to believe this.
OK, so maybe none of this work is any of the agencies' best, and it is the silly season, but is it just me or is there now a palpable sense that traditional broadcast advertising is as broadly lacklustre as it has ever been?
I say broadly because there will always be the so-called award-winners. But have you noticed how, globally, these increasingly come via narrower-cast, less regulated media such as cinema, cable, web or from completely unregulated countries in Latin America or Asia?
In the world of editorial broadcasting, the envelope is being stretched all the time: last week, the terrestrial TV news showed a bunch of gunmen on a truck in Monrovia actually being shot. I couldn't tell you what was in the ad break that followed.
In most episodes of the greatest drama on earth, The Sopranos, you'll hear the f-word, the c-word, you see blood and guts and all manner of unholy behaviour.
In the world of broadcast advertising, Trad-Adworld, the poor old advertisers, uninvited guests as they are, continue to be subject to rules largely unchanged for 40 years. We recently had a car commercial re-edited by the authorities because the driver seemed to glance away from the road for longer than was adjudged safe: how can any Trad-Adworld operative, however good, consistently compete against the real world now the gulf between it and Trad-Adworld has grown so vast?
There will always be exceptions, gems. John Smith's was one, though I still take my hat off to whoever was the marvellous operator at TBWA\ London who argued the lamb bhuna and the mum being taken to a home scripts through the authorities. Was it the same person who argued the bear getting the kick in the bollocks through in the John West Salmon spot? If so, please know that I have an open chequebook ready for your services.
The 118 118 work is another exception. The latest, a spoof on the legendary Rocky workout scene, is the best. What I love about this work is the unself-conscious way in which everyone involved seems to have single-mindedly gone at the task in hand, namely get people to remember some tricky phone number. No vested interests have been allowed to get in the way: on the client side, there's no desire to emulate the anodyne suburban slickness of a Vodafone or O2; on the creative side, there's not a single nod to awards juries. Unignorable, unforgettable stuff.
Project: Stonebaked ciabatta quality press campaign
Client: Liz Soffe, senior brand manager
Brief: Position Stonebaked ciabatta as a taste of Tuscany you don't need
to leave home for
Agency: Leith London
Writer: Simon Bere
Art director: John Messum
Typographer: Trevor Mill
Exposure: Colour supplements and monthly food magazines
Project: ReVittelise "lift"
Client: Aoife Burnell, marketing controller
Brief: Demonstrate how Vittel revitalises body, mind and spirit
Writer: Andy Wakefield
Art director: Andy Wakefield
Director: Sue Worthy
Production company: The Brave Film Company
Exposure: National and satellite TV
Project: Domino's Pizza
Client: Chris Moore, marketing director
Brief: Create an engaging way to communicate Domino's Pizza's tactical
Writers: Chas Bayfield and Jim Bolton
Art directors: Chas Bayfield and Jim Bolton
Directors: Chas Bayfield and Jim Bolton
Production company: Arkwright
Exposure: National TV
Project: Summer leisure promotion
Client: Jacqui Cameron, marketing manager
Brief: Encourage passengers to travel to London for £10 by
highlighting what the city has to offer
Agency: Poulter Partners
Writer: Gary Delaporte
Art director: Michael Craven
Typographer: Michael Craven
Photographer: Jonathan Knowles
Exposure: 48-sheet posters in Midland Mainline core areas
THE NUMBER UK
Client: Alex Lewis, brand communications director
Brief: Number memorability/brand stature
Writer: Gary Dawson
Art director: Tony Hardcastle
Director: Jim Hosking
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
Project: Lava lamp
Clients: Rob Smettem, director of marketing publications and affairs, GM
Daewoo UK; Trevor Isherwood, advertising manager, GM Daewoo Europe
Brief: Reassure owners and customers that Daewoo is alive and well and
has the backing of the largest car company in the world, General Motors
Writer: Brendan Wilkins
Art director: Paul Hancock
Director: Will Van der Wlugt
Production company: Will Van der Wlugt Productions
Exposure: National TV