Apparently, some of my colleagues find doing Private View problematic: doing ads is hard enough without some smart-arse having a go at you in public.
The problem is maybe that we want to have our cake and eat it. If you admit the truth, that doing ads is a team game, then you know that righteous blame for dodgy stuff goes to everyone from the client down.
As should the credit. For instance, planners not having their names on creative awards is a stain on those awards.
I have my own problems writing these columns. The idea of a captive audience able to go over and over the work, which is what the Private View writer is, seems the opposite of what advertising is about. Its primary (and increasingly downplayed) role is to stop a far-from-captive audience turning the page or getting up to make the tea.
I try to address this by only looking at the work once. Even then, one's professional appreciation remains pretty acute regardless of whether, in reality, the work would have been well-executed enough to make you pay attention in the real world.
This time, nature has conspired to render me a more realistic reviewer because when I received the stuff to review I got flu and then had to fly abroad to a meeting. So I'm sitting in New York feeling sorry for myself, the Private View stuff a distant memory. Or is it?
The Vehicle Crime Prevention stuff works well: I could pick the slimy car thief out of an identification parade easy, despite only seeing the commercials once a week ago. One of the commercials is a close-up of a frenzied young man pelting toward camera as if pursued by Paul Jackson with a creative director's contract. He's dropping all kinds of stuff in his haste. And then the camera does an about turn and we see he's actually chasing the slimy thief who hops on a moving bus flourishing a bag he's just stolen from the front seat of the young man's car. Nice evocation of the heart-thumping horror of being robbed plus a groovy nod to The Guardian's "skinhead".
After Eight has a campaign depicting the normally staid mint thins spurring all kinds of misbehaviour later in the evening as supers declare "After 9.30" or "After 10.40". You get the idea. And it's a really good one, which should run and run and hopefully get more and more naughty.
WH Smith. Attractive posters/press ads, I recall. With neat headlines approximating WH Smith. I don't really remember these to the letter. But I do remember feelings of charm and change. Is it the Tylenol Cold and Flu talking, or has the Big Dawg finally gone hand-on-hip?
NSPCC press has a new conceit purporting to depict hallways in homes as streets. This is a resonant way of conveying some children's Home Sick Home, the mere thought of which makes me want to call in some heavy pipe boys from outta town.
There are three ads in the series kinda repeating one idea.
Child and Working Tax Credit is a seriously complex idea to convey in a TV spot. M&C Saatchi achieves it brilliantly and compellingly in its spot made with animated money.
Finally, there was a commercial for something financial which was so unmemorable that if you see its name depicted here, then please know that it was added by my editor, because I couldn't recall it (it was Axa, Mark).
Project: Vehicle crime reduction
Clients: Jo Rushton, senior publicity manager; William Powell, campaign
Brief: Remind people of the simple things they can do to reduce the risk
of car crime
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Richard McGrann
Art director: Andy Clough
Director: Mark Nunneley
Production company: RSA Films
Exposure: Regional TV
Project: Child and Working Tax Credit
Client: Simon Vessey, head of customer communications
Brief: Maximise take-up of the new Tax Credits
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Jerry Gallaher
Art director: Clive Yaxley
Typographer: Andy Dymock
Directors: Mark Denton and John Robertson
Production companies: Blink and Passion Pictures
Exposure: Satellite and national TV
Project: After Eight brand campaign
Client: Andrew Harrison, marketing director
Brief: Reposition the brand, giving it appeal to a younger audience.
Shift the brand from stuffy dinner parties to everyday socialising
Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Writer: Bruce Menzie
Art director: Simon Brotherson
Director: Hank Perlman
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: National TV
Client: John Grounds, head of communications
Brief: Refocus the public's attention on the dangers from cruelty within
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Paul Ewen
Art director: Andy Clarke
Typographer: Roger Kennedy
Photographer: Ernst Fischer
Exposure: National press and magazines
Client: Darrin Nightingale, head of Axa brand
Brief: Increase awareness and consideration of Axa's core business
Writer: Carol Haig
Art director: Phil Martin
Director: Elaine Constantine
Production company: Vanishing Point Films
Exposure: Satellite and national TV
Project: WH Smith
Client: Muriel Stirling, brand director; Nigel Leahy, marketing unit
Brief: Inspire customers to visit stores and browse
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Cameron Mitchell
Art director: Rob Oliver
Photographer: Henrich Knudsen
Exposure: National press and posters