PRIVATE VIEW: This week BMP DDB's Larry Barker is joined by his comedian Dad Ronnie for a slice of Private View turkey and several crackers


Yo-ho-ho. Well that's the Xmas bonhomie out the way - now down to


The observant among you will notice that my language is somewhat

moderated this week.

Let me assure you, this is entirely due to the proximity of my father,

rather than the presence of any brilliant work. A big thank you to him

for helping out this week. And Happy Christmas! (Well, it saves the

price of a stamp.)

There is some "not bad" stuff this week, so you can expect a little

goodwill to all men, etc. But let's not go mad, eh?

Je deplore Piat d'Or. It's bloody awful terrible wine and these ads do

it justice. For some reason, in a campaign that's meant to capture the

essence of France, they've used pictures of what looks like the Isle of

Wight. Waiter, I think these ads are corked.

The Audi press campaign is tempting fate, and this reviewer, with the

line "got a better idea?". Quite patently not, is the trite answer. But

I jest. Once you fight your way through the body copy, these do make


They'd certainly get your attention and that's a start.

The cut of the BBCi spot that I received on my VHS was about an hour and

a quarter longer than the one on TV. And, as is often the way, nothing

like as good. The 'finger people' tend to look either funny, beautiful

or revolting. On this cut there were more of the latter and it suffered

accordingly. This certainly grabs the attention, but the message goes in

one ear and out the other. Two fingers or a thumbs up? I'm torn.

Thorntons. Mmm. Robson Green in a box. Quite. Are we genuinely supposed

to believe these women would rather get their lips round a hazelnut

cluster rather than a ... whoops ... sorry, Dad. Can't say I'm wild

about these. In fact, I fear they may well be the Yuletide Log.

Good to see that Orange can still turn out a good-looking spot. Not

exactly new news, your text messaging, though. And, pretty soon, we'll

run out of ways to illustrate this same old story. A decent bash at it,


A nice tender moment captured well. But one I doubt will trouble the


Marks & Spencer. I have to say that the three words, or rather letters,

I was expecting at the end of this celeb-a-thon were B, B & C. It has

that "isn't Christmas lovely but we haven't actually bothered to make

any new programmes" sort of feel about it.

And, sadly, that is the message this commercial delivers by the

snow-covered bucketload. In happier times it would probably have made

you feel all cuddly about the brand, because it's a joy to behold and

full of nice things (not least of which is Zoe Ball - she'd have had no

trouble getting a room for the night). I fear, though, that in today's

harsh climate, and with the brand's somewhat dented reputation those

three little words could well be "I don't care".

But it's Christmas and perhaps we should be more generous of spirit.

This ad did make me feel all Christmassy - much like it's antecedent,

the star-spangled Woolworths ads that used that used to turn up annually

like a favourite, if somewhat senile, old aunt. M&S, the posh Woolies.

Now there's a brand positioning.

Finally, this is the time of year when man forgives his fellow man and

lets bygones be bygones. A time for reconciliation and the hand of


Yeah, reckon.


I have to say I was a little worried about writing this piece.

Especially when I found out there was no money involved. But my main

worry was that I wouldn't understand any of the ads. Because I'm afraid

to say that most of what you see on the box these days is just a blur of

fast cuts that's over in seconds - leaving you none the wiser.

I'm glad to say that I at least understood what these ads were trying to

sell me. Just about.

I thought the Audi ads were funny. Well, silly I suppose is a better

word. I think if I saw these in a magazine I would stop and take a

second look. As to what they are about, I had to read the copy to find

out. I wonder whether this should have been a bit bigger. I don't think

I'd have read it otherwise.

The Piat d'Or ads are trying to tell me that their wine captures the

essence of France.

So why they are showing me pictures of an anonymous coastline? The

headlines are not very original - and when I see the word "taste" I

think more of food than wine. Like father like son, I suppose. I'd have

loved to see what it said on the bottles, but that would have meant

turning the poster on its side.

Orange. What a marvellous endline - a work of pure genius, shame about

the ad. No, seriously though, this is very easy on the eye and a would

be a welcome break from the crash-bang-wallop of most ads. To be honest,

whenever I see a beautiful-looking ad without a car in I automatically

presume it is a car ad. They seem to be a breed apart. I needed to see

it twice to get the point, but in the end it made sense and I enjoyed


The BBCi ad is repulsive. Incessantly repulsive. It certainly grabs your

attention but, I think, in the wrong way. The selling message was

completely lost on me. At first I didn't even realise there was a


Thorntons felt a bit like a comedy sketch - so I feel on safe ground.

Quite funny if a little over the top. Not much else to say, really.

Finally, Marks & Spencer. This was highly enjoyable and the kind of

thing people like to see at Christmas. I'm not sure I recognise all the

people and the dub on Hugh Laurie was a bit low - but otherwise very

well made. The "three little words" idea is simple, yet clever.

When I was editing my TV shows I'd always be asking the director to hold

the shot a little longer, to simplify the edit, to make sure people

could hear the joke. It's easy to forget who you are making these things

for. And it's not other sound engineers, editors and directors. And from

watching most TV commercials it seems that the same thing happens there.

My son reliably informs me that it is the clients that force you to cram

so much in. But I'm sure that over-indulgent directors and advertising

people are guilty too.

And it's a Happy Christmas from him.


Project: Audi Foundation posters for schools

Client: Nick Broomhall, consumer events manager

Brief: Drive entries for the Audi Foundation Young Designer of the Year


Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Nick O'Bryan-Tear

Art director: Al Welsh

Typographer: Ali Augur

Photographer: Pip Rook

Exposure: National schools


Project: Thorntons Christmas campaign

Client: Richard Burgess, head of advertising

Brief: Position Thorntons Continental as the ultimate Christmas gift

Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy

Writer: Malcolm Duffy

Art director: Paul Briginshaw

Director: Who?

Production company: Great Guns

Exposure: National TV


Project: BBCi

Client: Steve Conway, marketing director

Brief: Launch BBCi - the BBC's interactive service

Agency: Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters

Writer: Simon Riley

Art director: Tim Brown

Director: Alex Winter

Production company: In-house

Exposure: National TV


Project: Texting

Client: Nicole Louis, head of brand communications

Brief: Stimulate use of text messaging

Agency: Lowe Lintas

Writer: Tony Barry

Art director: Damon Collins

Director: Kevin Thomas

Production company: Thomas Thomas

Exposure: National TV


Project: Piat d'Or relaunch

Client: Emma Chamberlain, marketing manager

Brief: Introduce Piat d'Or to new wine drinkers with a campaign that

captures the essence of the south of France and reflects the origins of

the number-one French wine brand

Agency: Potter Dow

Writers: Stuart Blake, Paul Delaney

Art director: Ian Potter

Typographer: John Keogh

Photographer: Ric Hawkes

Exposure: 48-sheet posters


Project: Marks & Spencer

Client: Jude Bridge, head of external marketing

Brief: Reclaim Marks & Spencer's traditional role as the destination

store for Christmas

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Writer: Ben Short

Art director: Cameron Short

Director: Paul Weiland

Production company: The Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National TV

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