Private View: Steve Henry, the executive creative director at HHCL/Red Cell

Up here at HHCL Towers, we've got a new theory about advertising.

It was an idea originally put forward by our planning director, Riccardo "Camp Dracula" Huntington. But it's such a good thought that I'm thinking of claiming it for my own.

It's the belief our industry is quite prepared to settle for something we call "well-branded entertainment". And, while well-branded is better than poorly branded and entertainment is better than patronising crap, it misses something.

Because it doesn't fully exploit the roles that brands play in people's lives. It's how beers have been advertised for years, because the belief is that there is nothing differentiating to say about a beer, so let's just entertain people.

And it works, up to a point - although you're only as successful as your last funny ad. And it's subject to dramatically diminishing returns. What you might call the "Heineken" effect.

Let's kick off with some movie posters for Stella Artois. They're witty, and they help to reinforce a great piece of programme sponsorship for the brand. But do they make me reappraise the brand? Not really.

Now another beer - Boddingtons. In the past, this beer has been a model of well-branded entertainment - funny beer ads with leggy models in them (given the Bartle Bogle Hegarty propensity for sexy casting, I'm slightly disappointed that the Woolworths work hasn't featured a bunch of leggy models, demonstrating the unarguable sexiness of shopping at Woolworths).

But this ad isn't really up there with the classics. And I don't believe it will convert anyone not already in the congregation.

Adidas. A bunch of overpaid people who happen to be able to function well without using their hands kick balls around once again. Is it Pepsi?

Is it Nike? Is it Carling? Is it Frosties? No, it's Adidas, as I said at the beginning of this paragraph. Pay attention, Steve. This time scooters are involved, as opposed to Roman costumes or cartoon tigers. These ads are undeniably popular - but it seems to me that there is something inherently flawed in the thinking, which means that an ad for a trainer is virtually indistinguishable from an ad for a lager.

For me, the Adidas ad is inadequately branded entertainment. Whereas the latest Bacardi ad is fantastically well branded. You could freeze-frame any second of this ad and realise that it is unarguably a second advertising Bacardi.

This is branding done by experts, and the idea of the Latin Quarter is a very powerful one. (If BBH had invented it, instead of McCann Erickson, it would have been winning creative awards for the past five years.) Personally, I don't find the storyline that entertaining - although the sheer number of Bacardi bottles in the ad makes me laugh.

The BBC ad for D-Day is beautifully shot, it oozes integrity and seriousness, and it suggests to me that the Charter may be coming up for renewal. Because it's Auntie dolled up in her sober, spinsterish, Sunday best. This is reasonably well-branded and entertaining only in the broadest sense of that word (I mean, D-Day was never laugh-a-minute stuff).

And then there's the Mother work for Orange.

Well, by now, if you've been following my argument, you're going to know what I feel about these ads. But by God, they're funny. You're going to laugh out loud, and you can't help but feel that the people who put these mini-masterpieces together are amongst the most talented people ever assembled in our industry. This is very well-branded and it's off the Richter scale for entertainment.

But, in my humble view, you have to ask a question. In a marketplace this competitive, is that enough? Could this brand stand for more than just the brand with the ads that make me laugh?



Project: Stella Artois screen tour

Clients: Emma Cranstoun, marketing manager, Interbrew UK; Judith Moore,

brands manager, Bass Ireland

Brief: The Stella Artois screen tour is showing classic films in unusual


Agency: Lowe

Writer: Diccon Driver

Art director: Alan Wilson

Photographer: Frank Herholdt

Typographer: Neil Craddock

Exposure: UK and Republic of Ireland magazines and press


Project: Heist

Client: Phil Rumbol, UK marketing manager

Brief: New Boddingtons draught barrel - fresh cream every day

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Jon Fox

Art director: Rik Brown

Director: Eric Van Wyk

Production companies: Independent and Etic Films Prague

Exposure: Northern England TV


Project: Road to Lisbon

Clients: Uli Becker, head of global communications; Arthur Hold, brand

marketing manager; Eva Bauer, global advertising manager

Brief: Show that Adidas, players and fans all share the same passion for

Euro 2004

Agency: 180 Amsterdam

Writer: Andy Fackrell

Art director: Andy Fackrell

Director: Ringan Ledwidge

Production company: Small Family Business

Exposure: Global cinema


Project: Platform

Client: John Burke, spirits marketing controller

Brief: Welcome to the Latin Quarter

Agency: McCann Erickson

Writer: Rick Chant

Art director: Barney Hobson

Director: Howard Greenhalgh

Production company: Exposure Films

Exposure: National TV and cinema


Project: D-Day

Client: Gemma Mogg, marketing manager

Brief: Promote the BBC's coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-Day

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Daryl Corps

Art director: Daryl Corps

Director: Stuart Douglas

Production company: BBC Broadcast

Exposure: BBC TV


Project: Gold spots

Clients: Jeremy Dale, vice-president and marketing director; Ian A

Smith, advertising manager

Brief: Build the brand's affinity with cinema

Agency: Mother

Writers: Yan Elliott and Luke Williamson

Art directors: Yan Elliott and Luke Williamson

Director: Bryan Buckley

Production company: Hungry Man

Exposure: National cinema