PRIVATE VIEW BY TIM ASHTON

A funny thing happened the other day on the way to picking up my Giro, as you do (or, preferably, as you don’t). I was sitting in the car, dreaming of times past, when I noticed an advertisement - a poster in fact - for the first time as a ’consumer’. ’Answer machine. pounds 2.40’ for the Economist is a great poster by all accounts but I had never really looked at this campaign before without my ad hat on. In advertising, we are notoriously bad at putting our consumer hats on. Instead of seeing AMV, the Grosvenor House, Souter, etc I saw the very real possibility of a subscription. In short, it works. Three months out of the business is good for seeing and thinking like ’the target market’. I’ve become a full-time consumer. As the consumer, the vast majority of ads appear not only bad but, quite honestly, irrelevant, especially considering the myriad other forms of communication at our disposal.

A funny thing happened the other day on the way to picking up my

Giro, as you do (or, preferably, as you don’t). I was sitting in the

car, dreaming of times past, when I noticed an advertisement - a poster

in fact - for the first time as a ’consumer’. ’Answer machine. pounds

2.40’ for the Economist is a great poster by all accounts but I had

never really looked at this campaign before without my ad hat on. In

advertising, we are notoriously bad at putting our consumer hats on.

Instead of seeing AMV, the Grosvenor House, Souter, etc I saw the very

real possibility of a subscription. In short, it works. Three months out

of the business is good for seeing and thinking like ’the target

market’. I’ve become a full-time consumer. As the consumer, the vast

majority of ads appear not only bad but, quite honestly, irrelevant,

especially considering the myriad other forms of communication at our

disposal.



Who can honestly say that a print campaign for Liberty is the best use

of funds? I love Liberty. Its quaintness. Its Britishness, heritage and

idiosyncratic patronage of undiscovered designers. Its pretty

purple-framed pictures that are its current press

advertising ... uhhm ... I don’t think so.



The ambition of NatWest and its agency to create a soap with a running

storyline featuring a family at work and play with their friends from

the bank is an admirable if expensive one (ref Seat). When the number of

executions and frequency drops, however, so does the impact and saliency

of the idea. Thus, this latest hilariously titled ’Costa Nothing’

execution felt insubstantial and formulaic. Ask yourself difficult

questions: does the consumer sit back, rub her hands and say; ’Shh!

Derek it’s the latest one in the NatWest campaign. Can’t wait to see

what’s happened to the family this time.’ My suspicions are maybe only

in the Watson and Crouch households.



As a consumer, I love the Canon Ixus. I’ve bought one. As a consumer, I

love its size, its quality and weight (reassuringly heavy), its APS

prints, its zoom lens, its exclusivity, its downright cultist chic.



Given all the above, I was disappointed to see the intervention of an

art director, writer and famous photographer reducing my camera to an

advertising man’s ad.



I love the latest commercial for the Meat and Livestock Commission. This

campaign has been largely overlooked by the village and juries. At

times, I can see why but in this harassed New Father spot (I am that

man) they’ve got it just right. Stills from the ad with more adventurous

recipes would make a welcome addendum to the usual cling-filmed

polystyrene tray of meat.



Sekonda. Beware of expensive imitations. Do you like that line? So did

I. Shame they’ve dropped it really and, with it, the tone of voice that

was spot on for this brand. ’Designed by experts. Priced by an idiot’ is

the line at the end of a Smith & Jones-type sketch which is shot so

deliberately naff I worry that naff is what you are left thinking after

30 seconds. It made me laugh but was it ’at’ or ’with’?



Pledge. Now there’s a brand. And here’s a commercial. The story of a

dining room table over the past 20 years is a sweet idea. I can’t help

feeling the story of an advertising desk would make for a more dramatic

story. There was a memorable sequence Mel Smith shot in the Tall Guy

when Goldblum is reminiscing about his ex-girlfriend. In comparison,

this journey through time is a little dull. A simple music track,

perhaps piano, would work a whole lot better than the nauseating

voiceover en famille telling us exactly what we’re seeing as we’re

seeing it. And I personally wouldn’t have included the little chuckles

of laughter throughout as if prompting us how to respond to this jolly

caper, but they did. After all, they work in advertising and I don’t.

What do I know?





NATWEST

Project: NatWest credit cards/Air Miles

Client: Ian Schoolar, head of brand communication

Brief: Only NatWest credit cards let you earn air miles as you spend at

home and abroad

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Bruce Crouch

Art director: Graham Watson

Director: Simon Cheek

Production company: Spirit Films

Exposure: TV and cable

S. C. JOHNSON

Project: Pledge

Client: Chris Librie, marketing director UK

Brief: Re-emphasise the long-term benefits of using Pledge

Agency: FCB Writer and art director: John Bacon

Director: Mick Rudman Production company: Annex

Exposure: National TV

LIBERTY

Project: Liberty brand

Client: Julia Bowe, marketing director

Brief: Bring Liberty to life

Agency: Bean Andrews Norways Cramphorn

Writers: Jeremy Clarke, Gary Soloff

Art directors: Graeme Norways, Jeff Ford

Photographer: Jonathan Root Typographer: Dave Jenner

Exposure: ES magazine

CANON

Project: Canon Ixus

Client: Karen Pengally, advertising and promotions controller

Brief: Position Canon Ixus as the most stylish camera

Agency: CDP

Writer: Loz Simpson

Art director: Rob Kitchen

Photography: Bob Carlos Clark Typography: Mark Osbourne Exposure: Style

press

SEKONDA

Project: Sekonda watches

Client: Keith Brooks, chairman

Brief: Reposition Sekonda as stylish and value for money

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writer: Tony Barry

Director and art director: Kevin Thomas

Production company: Blink

Exposure: Cinema and satellite

MEAT AND LIVESTOCK COMMISSION

Project: Pork mince

Client: Chris Lamb, consumer marketing manager

Brief: Focus on the simplicity of cooking pork mince

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer and art director: Stuart Buckley

Director: Paul Gay Production company: Outsider

Exposure: National TV



PRIVATE HEAR



To listen to this month’s Private Hear, dial 0990-116 686. You will hear

the following ads: The Scottish Express ’listen’ Vauxhall Vectra ’ABS’

London Transport ’Mark & Sally’ The Times ’ITF Fantasy Cuckooland’, and

Tim Ashton’s review of the ads.



In association with the RAB.



Topics