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"
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,
Writer: Chas Bayfield
Art director: Jim Bolton
Director: Declan Lowney
Production company: Tomboy Films
Exposure: National TV
Project: DFS cinema campaign
Brief: Encourage people to buy a new sofa by showing them images of old
sofas that have been left behind
Writer: Pete Camponi
Art director: Rick Ward
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
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
Writer: Steve Little
Art director: Andy Dibb
Director: John Selby
Production company: Godman
Exposure: National and satellite TV