PRIVATE VIEW: Paul Shearer is the joint executive creative director at Leo Burnett

Just returned from nearly four years working in Holland, a wonderful place with equally wonderful people. Advertising is, however, in the grand scale of things, about as important there as mountain climbing. So it was with much curiosity that I returned to see what, if anything, had changed.

Having spoken with a lot of friends in a lot of different agencies, the biggest difference is that the blame culture is not just alive, but thriving.

It's always somebody's fault if the ad turns out shit - either the director didn't deliver or the creatives were working to their own agenda or it's the planner's brief or the account man was, well, just being an account man.

This attitude sucks and to prove it I shall be apportioning blame for the failures of this week's work accordingly.

First up, a campaign for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Anyone who puts effort into raising awareness of such a disease deserves credit but, unfortunately, the visual idea here seems more suited to PlayStation and lacks emotion.

I'd expect the account team and planner to lay the blame squarely at the door of the creative team who, in turn, should pass the buck on to the photographer (Blame league table: creatives, 10pts; client, 0pts; account man, 0pts; director, 0pts; planner, 0pts; photographer, 10pts).

Next, the BBC. A simple idea that encourages us to save time to listen to the sound of digital radio. Beautifully observed and actually says something about the product. The couple at dinner eating everything at once is my favourite (even though one of the spots does tell you not to drink, I will in this instance overlook this extraordinary suggestion).

So, rather annoyingly, I can't find anyone to blame (Blame league table: creatives, 10pts; client, 0pts; account man, 0pts; planner, 0pts; director, 0pts; photographer, 10pts).

Next, two spots for Harveys furniture store. The ads have taken the route of jealous neighbours trying to out-do each other. Not my cup of tea, but any ad that has the line "he gave me a pearl necklace" deserves a bit of credit. Blame all around, but if I were the agency I would be lavishing blame on the director (Blame league table: creatives, 20pts; client, 10pts; account man, 10pts; planner, 10pts; director, 10pts; photographer, 10pts).

Two spots for Tizer next. Nice animation covers the fact that once again we have advertising that says bugger-all about the product. The planner's definitely getting it for this. Go on creatives, kick his bookshelf over, and while you're at it, kick the account man for, well, just being the account man (Blame league table: creatives, 25pts; client, 15pts; account man, 15pts; planner, 20pts; director, 10pts; photographer, 10pts).

Next an MTV spot that trys to free some brave folk who dare to speak their mind in Burma. A young girl sits in her bedroom. Slowly, she loses her home comforts until her room looks more like a prison cell. It's honest, so good luck. Warm feelings all round and an agency huddle under the mistletoe (Blame league table: creatives, 25pts; client, 15pts; account man, 15pts; planner, 20pts; director, 10pts; photographer, 10pts).

Last, a spot for the children's charity NCH in which a young boy witnesses his mother being physically abused by his father. It says it's not legal to show you what a child witnesses every day. Seen this route before but it still works with effect. My only bugbear is I wish someone would come in and smack the twat. So let's smack the account man instead. It seems only fair (Blame league table: creatives, 25pts; client, 15pts; account man, 25pts; planner, 20pts; director, 10pts; photographer, 10pts).

That's it. Unfortunately, I can't remember what the moral of this piece is ... ah, that's it, work as a team, win as a team and fail as a team, and, as they say in the Netherlands, embrace failure and say cheese.


Project: Lost faculties

Client: Ken Walker, director of marketing

Brief: Raise money and awareness of the cruel unpredictability of MS

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Mike Campbell

Art director: Colin Jones

Typographer: Tim Quest

Photographer: David Rowland

Exposure: Regional press


Project: NCH

Client: Craig Zeital, advertising supervisor

Brief: Highlight the emotional damage done to children by witnessing

violence in the home

Agency: TBWA\London

Writer: Clive Pickering

Art director: Neil Dawson

Director: Johnny Maginn

Production company: Another Film Company

Exposure: National TV


Project: BBC DAB digital radio

Client: Gilda Witte, head of radio

Brief: Five new radio channels from the BBC

Agency: Fallon

Writer: Andy McLeod

Art director: Richard Flintham

Director: Jorn Haagen

Production company: Academy

Exposure: National TV


Project: MTV Burma Action

Client: Nina East, producer

Brief: Create awareness for Aung San Su Kyi, the Burmese leader under

house arrest

Agency: StrawberryFrog

Writer: Martina Langer

Art director: Andy Howarth

Directors: The Dempsey Twins

Production company: Rose Hackney Barber

Exposure: MTV worldwide


Project: Tizer rebrand

Client: Jacqueline Pye, brand manager

Brief: Update the image of Tizer, signalling a step change in its


Agency: BDH\TBWA

Writer: Doug Laird

Art director: Chris Lear

Director: Pete Candeland

Production company: Passion Pictures

Exposure: National TV


Project: Sale

Client: David Rich, head of marketing

Brief: Highlight some of the great deals in the sale while retaining the

humour and style that made the launch ads so memorable

Agency: Soul

Writers: Mike Oughton and Cameron Short

Art directors: Mike Oughton and Cameron Short

Director: Steve Reeves

Production company: Another Film Company

Exposure: Satellite and terrestrial TV