Executive creative director, BETC London
Another Private View where they ask an industry creative to use 600 words to describe their opinion over five ads. Personally, I’m a stingy wordsmith and, if I can’t sum up how an ad makes me feel in a sentence or two, it’s not really doing its job. So I will try my best to be wordy for wordy’s sake but also give a pretty straightforward opinion on what I think works.
When you’re about to review a piece of Haribo communication, part of you hopes they nailed it. It’s a fun brand… simple.
I must admit, when I read the description for this particular Haribo ad as "adults lip-synching as children", the thought of "here we go again" did cross my mind. This technique has been used before, in other ads, for other products, but what I did find refreshing was the actors’ performances. They took what could have been a familiar technique to another level and added some fun factor. But I can’t help but ask: why not push the crazy?
I think Ikea is one of those companies that everyone would love to crack an ad or campaign for. What I think Mother has done really nicely, though, is establish a great tone for the brand. What I like about this spot is that it also raises the calibre of quality and craft. Simple idea, nicely executed with a great track. ILIKE.
I watched the TSB one a few times. I think it’s nice, unassuming, but a bit ordinary. Didn’t necessarily grab my attention. And I personally have a thing about whistling – it’s not my favourite sound, so the choice of music didn’t quite do it for me. So, in a sentence, it has a nice message and the concept is clear, but that’s sort of all I took away from it.
When listening to the Walkers Sunbites ad, I had a hard time deciding on whether or not I liked the jingle. First time I watched it, it sort of made the ad feel dated but, on a second listen, I kind of liked the repetition and mundane nature of the lyrics. After all, that’s the point, right? But I couldn’t help but think that the execution was stuck somewhere in the middle of the road between really quirky and not quirky enough.
Or maybe I’m just too cynical to just smile at stuff.
This next ad for Pancreatic Cancer Action is super-heavy. The longer I watched, the more worried I felt. I suppose that’s a good thing. The repetitions of the three hypnotic notes of the music also aided in the overall daunting feel of the ad. Was it an incredibly surprising execution? No. Had I been flipping through channels, would it have stopped me? Probably not. I wasn’t even aware of the backstory when I first watched it – that the actors weren’t actors but actual victims of pancreatic cancer.
I wish I hadn’t missed that. It’s difficult to get a powerful delivery from non-actors. However, I can easily say that it did get across a message in a way that leaves you thinking about your own health.
Co-founder and creative director, Krow
Banks – we just don’t trust the swine. So when we hear at the start of TSB’s new commercial that "TSB is not like other big banks", it sounds as believable as being told: "Stalin is not like other big dictators."
Chuck in the whimsical whistled soundtrack and the super-twee animation style and it all feels like a big, bad man is trying to mush us into submission. Shame because, apparently, every penny deposited at TSB stays in Britain. That’s a decent fact but, wrapped in category clichés, it just sounds like the same old sham.
In the Ikea commercial, we see everyday lamps and lights illuminating a forest, and it looks good, but maybe not as good as it should. The story, though, is in the voice. "By 2016, we will only sell energy-efficient LED light bulbs," it tells us, and I mean TELLS US, like we better realise how bloody amazing that is. "Small things can make a big difference," the voice adds threateningly, followed by the last line, delivered like a karate chop: "IKE-AAA. The wonderful everyday." Almost all of the voices we use are horribly bland, but this guy is marvellous, or at least Marmite. If Ikea can make its ideas as good as this one sounds, step aside Garrison Keillor and Honda.
The Haribo commercial is a packet-full of dopey fun. Grey-suited horrors in a boardroom become instantly likeable when they talk about their favourite Starmixes, simply because they are lip-synching to charming and totally believable kids’ voices. It’s brilliantly performed, and the director has had the good sense to keep it all beautifully understated (the actors take on the body language of kids, but so you laugh rather than cringe). One minor gripe – what’s that 50s jingle doing at the end, the one no doubt championed in a boardroom somewhere in Europe? Kids could have done something much better.
In the Walkers Sunbites commercial, a girl called Jane is fiendishly named because, in the silly song we hear throughout, she rhymes with "eat the same" and "multigrain". Jane also wears a cardboard box on her head, possibly to signify the way everything she eats tastes. It’s all quite fun, silly song included, but then Jane goes and eats a Sunbites multigrain, which makes the cardboard box explode, fluttering in colourful pieces to the ground, leaving the now gorgeous, smiling, sunbathed Jane looking as happy as a lark in the park until, to everyone’s surprise, her head explodes. Sorry, wishful thinking.
Only 3 per cent of people who get pancreatic cancer survive, so the Pancreatic Cancer Action film is a fantastic opportunity to make people aware of the disease, and even to spot it early.
Trouble is, it’s so dull, so unremittingly unoriginal and keen to splutter out the kind of heavy-duty imagery that characterise this kind of very, very serious message that, halfway through, minds will wander. It may seem bizarre that we have to work hard to grab and keep people’s attention, even when we’re talking about something that may kill them, but that’s what we’ve signed up for. Hey-ho.