PRIVATE VIEW: Patrick Collister, the executive creative director of ehsrealtime

Definition of a coward: someone who thinks with his legs.

There seem to be a lot of clients legging it at the moment. Running


And who can blame them? These are not good times. Human instinct says

survival is about keeping your damn head down. Lie low. Keep stumm. Yet

the last couple of recessions have shown us that those who are boldest

emerge strongest.

In our own market, in the agonies of the early 90s, Abbott Mead Vickers

BBDO didn't lay off a single person. It pursued creative quality

single-mindedly. When spends began to improve, it emerged as London's

biggest agency. You don't get to be biggest and best without


I see little courage in today's campaigns, with one exception. It's not

only that budgets seem to have been reduced, so do ambitions.

I presume Virgin Atlantic's business was already hurting before Osama

bin Laden crippled it. Celebrity endorsement is a tried and trusted

advertising route. Years ago, I remember Chris Whittaker and John

O'Sullivan presented a campaign to a client that relied on using

well-known personalities.

"Love it," the client said, "but I can't justify spending that sort of

money on that sort of star. Tell you what, though, why don't we use

famous people no-one's ever heard of?"

That's what I feel here. Iggy Pop and Miss Piggy devalue what I thought

the brand was all about. I hope Virgin survives. I also hope the airline

will then let its agency do the noticeable, effective advertising it was

wont to do. That way, with BA in trouble too, Branson could get to be

biggest and best across the Atlantic.

Warburtons is a brand attempting to escape the curse of great

advertising in its past. Ever since Mike Court made stars of the

Warburton family, the brand has been crying out for advertising that

captures family values in a way that is charming and empathetic. Oh, and

without using the Warburtons themselves.

These commercials seem to me to be slight. I think the agency could have

been braver - more warmth, more sentimentality perhaps. Bigger


These are quite nice ads. And I think Warbies deserves better than


Someone's tried quite hard to be funny with the CBBC commercials.

Dubbing chat about the size of their arses on to a couple of sumo

wrestlers may be what turns 12-year-olds on. It didn't do it for me. The

ads want us to watch The Saturday Show. Why? I don't know.

Debenhams. This is a press ad. On telly. Sexy girl with great breasts

looks alluring. Title fades up: "Come home to a real fire." I suppose

the strategy is to get blokes to rush into the store and buy Janet Reger

underwear for the wife. As a critic, I say: "Okay." As a punter, I say:

"No way." If I came home with a lacy little number, my wife would be


"I give you two children, I give you a square meal once a week, I keep

the place clean. And you want sex as well?"

There are some commercials for childcare recruitment, which are

well-intentioned and not offensive.

And there's the Super Noodles ad. It's a West Side Story spoof. The

fatties triumph, hurrah! Bellies are beautiful! Tell me this isn't a

brave strategy.

The creative work before the creative work is inspired. The film itself

is pretty good and I suspect there's brilliant yet to come.

It breaks the mould, it makes a point, it's gleefully human. It will

sell a lot of noodles. The sort of tucker I too could well be into

before long what with these chill winds blowing through adland. Scared?

Me? You bet.


Project: The Saturday Show

Client: Annabel Cameron, brand manager

Brief: Launch The Saturday Show on CBBC

Agency: Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters

Writer: Simon Riley

Art director: Tim Brown

Director: Alex Winter

Production company: BBC in-house

Exposure: TV and cinema


Project: Super Noodles

Client: Richard Kingsbury, marketing director

Brief: Clearly differentiate Super Noodles from other food groups

Agency: Mother

Writer: Mother

Art director: Mother

Director: Fredrik Bond

Production company: Harry Nash Film Productions

Exposure: National TV


Project: Warburtons bread

Client: Maggie Quinn, marketing manager

Brief: Dramatise the passion of the Warburtons family bakers

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Hugh Todd

Art director: Adam Scholes

Director: Kevin Thomas

Production company: Thomas Thomas

Exposure: National TV


Project: Childcare recruitment

Client: Karen Smalley, lead project manager

Brief: Present childcare as a rewarding and worthwhile career

Agency: D'Arcy

Writer: Steve Whiteley

Art director: Paul Reading

Director: Andy Lambert

Production company: Partizan Midi Minuit

Exposure: Satellite, cable and national TV


Project: Autumn 2001 range

Clients: Sasha Willox, brand marketing controller; Richard Campbell,

head of advertising and promotions

Brief: Launch Debenhams' autumn collection of designer fashion

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Jo Moore

Art director: Simon Robinson

Director: Joe Roman

Production company: Rose Hackney Barber

Exposure: National TV


Project: Seats

Client: Alison Copus, director of marketing

Brief: Present Virgin Atlantic's unmatched holistic pack of benefits in

a memorable and innovative way

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Writer: Robert Campbell

Art director: Mark Roalfe

Director: Jeff Stark

Production company: Stark Films

Exposure: National TV