Executive creative director,
Private View hits my desk after a crazy week in Australia, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, so this will be influenced by the different continents, cultures and languages that are in my head. But sometimes out of chaos comes clarity and, as Theodor Adorno once said, "The task of art today is to bring chaos into order" – so here goes.
Canal+ and its bear obviously still lurk in my mind when I think about this brand. A brilliant piece that will take some hard work to beat, so this story of football fandom is suffering from a difficult start in my head. As an Australian, I am not a massive football fan, but I get the whole dad-and-daughter story about football passion with Canal+ as its hero. Football obsession is something universally understood and the French Clásico fervour ticks more than a few boxes for fans, I would suggest.
Do I like it? Yes.
Do I love it like that "bear" ad? No.
If I were French and a football fan, would it move me? Oui, bien sûr.
Back across the English Channel and it’s the British Army. The story of young people giving passionate interchanges about the benefits they’ll miss out on if they don’t sign up. If under-30s are the target, I am not sure they’ll hit the bullseye. But, then again, I am biased and would be using other digital platforms where a younger audience lives to create conversation around recruitment.
Speaking of war…
The "lost family portraits" work is simple and strong. The Cafod story of those who have lost family members in the refugee crisis through a series of still photographs drives home the emotional impact of war on normal people. The idea felt real and truthful, and it plays with a construct we can all relate to. Gripping stuff, when you think about it; and, as they say, a picture paints a thousand words.
Which leads me on to the Unicef work. This didn’t move me in the same way.
Diesel has confronted the so-called "fashion porn" industry powerfully, inspired by platforms such as Tinder, Grindr and PornHub. I thought this was new, interesting and clearly manifests the Diesel artistic director Nicola Formichetti’s creative approach. Given that PornHub is the 64th most popular site globally, it’s guaranteed to get a lot of interest. Smart move and it helps Diesel to continue its great non-traditional approach, which can only empower the brand.
Group chairman and group chief executive,
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Seeking out original angles on breaking news stories has always been an important part of editorial craft, with journalists responsible for analysing how each development affects the lives of their audience. Looking at a story from a fresh perspective can add weight to its impact, offering unexpected insights – not to mention boosting sales.
The same approach can be applied to advertising, where successfully finding an innovative new angle is increasingly essential, particularly at a time when editorial content has become such a vital component of brand storytelling. So in this week’s work, I’m looking for new angles, across a rather challenging assortment of stories about football, charities, the army… and underpants.
Canal+ succeeds brilliantly in the busiest and toughest of categories – live football. The ad tells a beautifully observed story of a Marseille superfan who hasn’t missed a live game in 30 years but whose job as a steward means he hasn’t seen one either, until his resourceful daughter finds a way. The fresh angle here comes from a real insight into what it truly means to be fanatical about football. The excitement and atmosphere of the live-game experience are all the more vivid to a fan deprived of the faculty of sight (the steward has to face the crowd). The result is fabulously French and elevates the brand and the channel, as well as the fans.
British Army recruitment advertising is as important a brief as it gets, with a fabulous archive of work and an acute imperative to inspire Generation Z to sign up. The angle adopted here is reverse psychology, with the line: "Don’t join the army." This morphs into "Join the army" after we hear two youngsters defending their decision to join to doubters. The disruption strategy here is sound, but the "better me" dialogue is at times unconvincing. The son delivers a slightly worthy monologue to his father in a super-tidy garage, and neither the setting nor the supposedly transformative conversation feel particularly authentic. The ribbing and joshing in the girls’ treatment works slightly better but, otherwise, the campaign feels light on audience insight. The 16- to 24-year-olds I know are gaming, swiping, WhatsApping and fast-forwarding, so I hope the campaign develops across non-traditional media as well.
From army privates to quite another type of privates, and Diesel Intimates underpants on Grindr. I’ll keep this brief. Never shy of producing provocative comms, Diesel has tightly aligned its media and PR strategy to deliver the range directly into the laps of its users. It’s a shame the creative this time isn’t as bold as the media thinking, but I certainly had fun reviewing this, so thanks.
Cafod brings us the agony of abandonment by showing incomplete family portraits of Syrian refugees, captured by the brilliant photographer Dario Mitidieri. This offers a new, human and powerful angle, and the start of what could be a bigger idea. Just tell me how Cafod fits into the picture and where I need to sign.
Finally, Unicef’s angle on Syria is classic storytelling: an animated fairytale treatment of seven-year-old Malak’s nightmare escape voyage. While the animation is truly beautiful, and the story desperate, I am left wondering if we are already so desensitised to editorial coverage that a hyper-real, "addy" angle is justified. The punch lies in the real sequence at the end, explaining how we help eight million children like Malak. Now that’s an angle, a reason to join the army – and a cause we can all sign up to.