PRIVATE VIEW: Steve Henry, the creative director at HHCL & Partners

As I write this, due to magazine deadlines, England have just lost 1-2 to Brazil.

I don't believe in scapegoats, and the only thought I want to pass on, as a matter of interest, is John Motson's comment from an earlier game where he feared that Seaman had come out too early. And frankly, in the heat of the moment, that can happen to anyone.

Of course this is also the time of year when most of the industry is off in Cannes, chucking money at an organisation that gives none of it back to our industry at all. Now this might suggest that we're not a very smart group of people.

But I'm in London looking at a bunch of work that proves the opposite - that we're eminently capable of producing intelligent, engaging work.

Land Rover - it's an advertising confection, but a typically well-crafted, witty one. As effortlessly classy as we've come to expect on this account.

Audi. Vorsprung durch fucking hell, as they say where I come from. You feel stoned watching this even if you aren't. But - do I want a car designed by someone who was "under the influence of Jimi Hendrix - ie. out of their head? Someone who, half way through thinking about the gear box, forgets what they were thinking about and wanders into the kitchen to make some toast? Well, if it's as beautiful an ad as this, quite possibly.

Now, you could criticise this by saying it's BBH doing another Levi's - but that's basically bollocks. Anyone who criticises this clearly got out of the wrong side of the wrong bed on the wrong morning. It's a stunning piece of work.

And if it doesn't flog cars like shit off a shovel, I'm a Dutchman's monkey.

If all ads were as good as this, we wouldn't have anything to fear from TiVo, media fragmentation and all the rest of it.

Battersea Dogs Home is trying to flog dogs, and as a previous customer, I can only say - go there, it's the dog's bollocks. The ads are sweet, but lack real bite.

Lilt. The shadow of Levi's rears up again. This time, in the form of a spoof - the Lilt ladies running through a series of walls, while stopping to rearrange the furniture and catch their breath. As someone who's done a Levi's spoof in my own time (the Carling laundrette ad), it'd be hypocritical of me to ask whether it's too self-referential to do this. I laughed out loud about seven times.

If all ads were as funny as this, we'd have nothing to worry about in terms of TiVo, etc, etc.

Robert Saville is quite possibly one of the best writers the advertising industry has ever produced and I'd gladly poison his sushi with my own bare hands.

Tio Pepe. The idea here is that sherry is the perfect drink to have before your meal. I can see the planner getting all excited - "I've discovered the perfect opportunity for sherry - let's fight it out in the while-mulling-over-the-menu slot. Now, as a business opportunity, this may equate with defining your target market as gay Welshmen with red hair who live in caravans, but it is, at least, a competitive strategy. It's just that, as a strategy, it feels more right than interesting.

Innocent Juices. I like any strategy that says: "Don't bother with all this exercise malarkey. But the ads feel too familiar. It's not bad - but I've seen this sort of thing before.

Some of this week's ads are good tries, but when you see stuff like Audi and Lilt, you see an industry playing at the very top of its game.

Whether they tickle any well-fed judges, in Cannes or Croydon, is frankly of no interest to me. My instinct tells me that they'll work in the real world, and that's all that matters.

Incidentally, I was reading about Viagra the other day. Apparently you can get it over the counter in some chemist's shops. Well, if you take two of them, you can.

Now, that's what I call well-balanced criticism - a knob gag at either end of the column.

Project: New 2003 Discovery
Client: Les Knight, Discovery communications manager
Brief: Launch of new 2003 Discovery
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Markham Smith
Art director: Richard Dennison
Director: Stuart Douglas
Production company:
Exposure: National TV

Project: Innocent guide to staying healthy on the tube
Client: Richard Reed, marketing director
Brief: Communicate that Innocent drinks are an easy way to do yourself
some good
Agency: Innocent in-house
Writer: Dan Germain
Art directors: Dan Germain and Richard Reed
Typographer: Vinnie Taylor
Exposure: Tube

Project: Life's more fun with a dog
Client: Helen Tennant, director of public affairs
Brief: Raise awareness of Battersea Dogs Home's programme of rehoming
lost and abandoned dogs by highlighting the pleasure of sharing your
life with a dog
Agency: Claydon Heeley Jones Mason
Writers: Simon Haslehurst and Eric Ronshaugen
Art directors: Simon Haslehurst and Eric Ronshaugen
Director: Jamie Lane
Production company: Moon
Exposure: London cinemas

Project: Audi brand campaign
Client: Rawdon Glover, marketing director
Brief: Reflect the true story of how the Audi designers listened to Jimi
Hendrix's music when designing the TT
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers: Adam and Saunby
Art directors: Adam and Saunby
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Production company: Spectre
Exposure: National TV

Project: Lilt Odyssey
Client: Leslie Davey, marketing manager, adult brands
Brief: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - discuss
Agency: Mother
Writer: Mother
Art director: Mother
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Production company: Spectre
Exposure: National TV

Project: Tio Pepe repositioning
Client: Fiona Lovett, marketing manager
Brief: Create a role for Tio Pepe in people's drinks repertoire
Agency: Burkitt DDB
Writer: Jon Leney
Art director: Richard Donovan
Typographer: Alison Wills
Exposure: Colour supplements and listings magazines

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus