Executive creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Not a bad bunch this week. Some I like more than others but, then, where would the fun be if we all liked the same things?
Imagine a world where we all liked broccoli, musical theatre and cricket. Very dull. I can’t stand any of the above, by the way. Especially musical theatre. It actually makes me want to hurt myself.
Progress relies on us all having different points of view, different loves and hates, and challenging each other’s orthodoxy with them. Only trouble with differing opinions is that they can so often lead to compromise as a means to keep the peace. Which invariably knocks the stuffing out of potentially great work. Lose a little here, a little there so that everyone will like it, and all that happens is that no-one really loves it any more.
It’s a constant challenge in an industry centred on collaboration. Which is probably why there’s so much work out there that’s just, well, sort of OK, really. Great work has an awkward tendency to elicit strong reactions. Both positive and negative.
So, on to today’s work to be reviewed. Here’s what I love/hate/don’t feel strongly about either way. Feel free to disagree.
Every idea needs a great execution. It’s not a science. It’s an art form. Deciding how to execute something is critical. Get it wrong, or, in the case of Durex, play too safely, and a good idea becomes a little ordinary. It’s a smart insight based on our obsessive tech-based behaviours. We’re letting them get in the way of our less tech-based behaviours. And during Earth Hour, it is recommending we disconnect ourselves from technology and reconnect with each other. Sort of OK, really.
KFC – proper old school. Could have been written 20 years ago. Yep. And all the better for it. Storytelling is never out of fashion, and neither are beautiful, filmic production values – two things you don’t often see in fast-food advertising. At every stage, it has a feeling of confident collaboration. I really hope that this is successful and spawns more executions. Love it.
Anchor. This charming little family-life insight is not perhaps the biggest of ideas or particularly challenging, but it is genuinely engaging. It owes a great deal to how it was cast and shot. Honest, playful direction that makes for a very watchable spot. I would guess that most people will quite like it. Doubt it will stay long in the memory. Sort of OK, really.
Pepsi Max. A really smart brand idea cleverly brought into being. It appears that the poster at the bus stop is see-through. It is, in fact, a digital panel screening a live feed of the street in front. It then appears, with a little augmented-reality help, that there are aliens, lions etc on the street. It hardly matters that it was probably only at the bus stop for a few hours. The four million hits it has had on YouTube alone was the real target audience. Love it.
Beats by Dr Dre – Cesc Fàbregas. It’s hard to have a great deal of sympathy for a very well-paid and cosseted footballer who needs to drown out the sound of nasty opposition supporters. It’s trying to effect an easy urban cool, but only succeeds in feeling rather corporate and polished. Not my cup of tea. But then, neither, as I said, are cricket, musical theatre and broccoli. And plenty of people seem to like them well enough. Perhaps with the exception of broccoli.
"Entertain the $#!% out of people and put the logo at the end."
I overheard a creative director telling a young creative this once and, although it’s a crude and narrow term, it has stuck with me for a long time and I’ve come to learn that it holds a lot of truth.
Pepsi Max is a great example of this. I’m not overly convinced that it’s as "unbelievable" as seeing a flying man powered by helium balloons or a tiger walking down an urban street… but I don’t care. The idea is super-clever, the ad is entertaining and very well-executed, and I fully appreciate how much work goes into creating something that relies on real-people interaction. Of course, on the other hand, we all love it when we see a product sewn into a story naturally that gets an emotion or reaction out of us.
Enter Durex – we all know there are a trillion things to see on the web and even more people to impress with a picture of our latest culinary experience. This makes it tough to put our electronic leashes down and pay attention to the realities in front of us. Internet life, at times, is better and more interesting than reality – we need a really good reason to switch off. Durex gets this, and what better reason to relax than to take some time to make a little "whoopie" (tip of the hat to reruns of The Dating Game for supplying me with an appropriate PG term for fucking). It’s a great idea and came across very well and was neatly packaged with a catchy and familiar little ditty. But the idea came quite prematurely and I found myself getting anxious for the spot to "get on with it". The pay-off eventually came through in the end but, unlike the activity that is being promoted, I wish it had come a little sooner. I would’ve loved to have seen a 60-second version.
Speaking of taking your time… KFC shows us the rewards of the patient man. You can get the girl as well as a nice slow-cooked pulled-chicken sandwich. What more could a fella want? Gorgeous film: great direction, casting, locations, art department etc… all really spot-on.
Next up: Anchor. As a father of two, I really enjoyed the sentiment and a lot of the footage shown in this spot. I’m not convinced the time-lapse/off-speed technique added anything to the spot besides a freneticism that may not have been needed, but I loved the writing and voiceover choice, and the moments felt real and relatable.
Finally, we have Beats by Dr Dre. It’s nice… another epic sports figure in a slo-mo epic spot. It’s very well-crafted and shows off the whole essence of Beats headphones – that you can cocoon yourself and create your own world. However, ultimately, the style is somewhat familiar. Once more, it’s the standard trope of sports star overcoming adversity – although, in this case, adversity is overcome by blocking it out. Although it doesn’t do too badly in the "entertaining the $#!% out of people" stakes and does manage to put the logo at the end! It also apparently created a little controversy (and free PR) when the Barcelona FC management asked for it not to air on the day of El Clásico, with Barça beating Real Madrid 4-3.
All in all, there is some great work out there but, for me, this week’s Galáctico has to be KFC – finger-licking fantastic.