PRIVATE VIEW: Tony Davidson, the joint creative director at Wieden & Kennedy

It'd be really easy to sit here and write nice things about all these ads. None of them is terrible. Some of them are quite good. But I don't think "quite good" cuts it anymore. We have to go further. We are so bombarded with ads that they have to be remarkable and original just to get noticed. And none of these is remarkable and original, so sorry if this feels a bit bleak.

It reminds me of when I first joined the business. Paul Leeves criticised an idea I'd done, saying: "It's a bit addy." Years later, I find myself saying it all the time. Pack shot bottom right. Great endline goes here. Why are we programmed to think like ads? And is this a problem?

The Volkswagen Beetle campaign by DDB all those years ago changed the way we did ads. It went against everything that had been done before. Soon loads of ad campaigns had honesty and self-deprecating ideas.

It seems when anything great is done, our business tends to follow and make loads of similar campaigns. How often have you had a brief land on your desk that references another commercial? "We need a bit of what they are doing."

The Dairy Council's milk campaign tells me it's good for my bones, good for my teeth. But it has been telling me that for years. To demonstrate less fat in semi-skimmed milk, it uses a pint with an hour-glass figure. I've seen this before.

DFS. Full marks for trying to break out of the category. Failed celebrities wandering around furniture super stores or prices flashing before your eyes has been done so many times. That said, I can't help thinking I've seen discarded objects before, like shopping trolleys and left shoes. And didn't American Airlines do a great ad with seats?

There is always the argument that if you've got a great campaign why change it. BMW has been trotting out stylish-looking films for a long time. But have its ads become a pastiche of themselves? At least the short films it is making in the US are brave and try to do something different.

Danone is promoting the goodness of its Activia yoghurt - apparently, it's good for your inner self. A little furry character represents this inner self. Furry characters representing part of you have been around for some time now. A personal favourite of mine was "the knowledge" campaign done for ESPN in the US. Check it out.

Domino's Pizza. A campaign about how it delivers on time. And a family with a dad who says "silly us" every time they think it won't be. This whole campaign felt "a bit addy" but at least it didn't fall into the trap of a family dog that pulls silly expressions. So full marks for the totally irrelevant duck.

Adidas. Or is it John Smith's? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there a campaign with a celebrity and some penguins? I know, I know, it's different. That's like saying you can never use a penguin in another ad ever again. But the fact that the product is called "ClimaCool" and penguins come from somewhere cool is hardly the most original thought, is it? I'm not saying brands should never use stars in their ads either. But if you are going to use David Beckham, it's going to have to be one special ad to stand out from everything else he's endorsing.

Like I said at the start, a great ad is a great ad. Maybe we should just carry on the same way as we have been? No doubt next week there will be a brilliant ad that everyone is talking about, which features a celebrity and his best mate (a furry penguin), driving a cool-looking BMW past some discarded seats, on their way to deliver a pizza and a funny-shaped glass of milk.

Sounds quite good actually. Think I'll write it up.


Project: ClimaCool poster campaign

Client: Nick Craggs, marketing and communications director

Brief: Demonstrate ClimaCool's "coolness"

Agency: TBWA/London

Writer: Tim Hearn

Art director: Graham Cappi

Typographer: Tim Hearn

Photographers: Rip Dbox (Beckham), Frans Lanting (penguins)

Exposure: 96- and 48-sheet posters


Project: Domino's Pizza

Client: Lindsay Howard, interim marketing consultant

Brief: Demonstrate that you can rely on Domino's delivery to be on time,

every time

Agency: Arkwright

Writer: Chas Bayfield

Art director: Jim Bolton

Director: Declan Lowney

Production company: Tomboy Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: DFS cinema campaign

Client: n/s

Brief: Encourage people to buy a new sofa by showing them images of old

sofas that have been left behind

Agency: PWLC

Writer: Pete Camponi

Art director: Rick Ward

Director: RAP

Production company: Onward Films

Exposure: National cinema


Project: 2003 brand campaign

Client: Cath Pickering, marketing director

Brief: Relaunch the brand by building awareness of Activia as a

healthier yogurt

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Writer: Richard Beesening

Art director: Martha Riley

Director: Hank Perlman

Production company: Hungry Man

Exposure: National TV


Project: The White Stuff

Client: Jill Eisberg, chief executive

Brief: There's more to milk than you thought - no additives, rich in

calcium and nearly no fat

Agency: BMP DDB

Writers: Jeremy Craigen and Ewan Paterson ("straw"); Robin Garms and

Victoria Buchanan ("reveal" and "glass")

Art director: Mark Reddy

Typographer: Pete Mould

Photographer: Jason Tozer

Exposure: National press


Project: BMW Z4 launch

Client: Paul Andrews, marketing communications manager

Brief: Announce the launch of the new BMW Z4

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Steve Little

Art director: Andy Dibb

Director: John Selby

Production company: Godman

Exposure: National and satellite TV

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content