PRIVATE VIEW: This week, put your hands together for a different kind of Private View. Jeff Stark, one of the industry's best-known writers turned accomplished commercials director, is a man who clearly doesn't want to shoot the next VW spot .

I feel honoured. Private View is normally a director-free zone.

Is this the thin end of the wedge? It'll be account men next, then clients, then a focus group of mothers in Watford. You mark my words.

It's not a bad crop this week. One humdinger, one very good and some tired ideas nicely shot. I've long believed that when viewing directors' showreels, you should read the agency's script first so you're in a better position to judge whether they've ruined a good idea or improved a bad one. With this in mind, I'll score the director's input separately.

VW Beetle. Aha, I thought, a VW spot. That's bound to be good. Wrong.

This is just the old 'car that turns heads' idea done to a vaguely relevant Semisonic's song. Nicely shot, well-graded colour, but when the grading's the most note-worthy element, you know you're in trouble.

Agency 4/10 Director 7/10

The British Film Institute and Andersen Consulting are sponsoring re-releases of classic movies. To remind us how good the originals are, a bunch of Hollywood types pitch ridiculous plans for remakes - a neat idea, well made, with great performances. I wanted to like them, but the writing isn't funny enough to sustain their two-minute length. One thing those Hollywood execs do know is how to trim the flab out of a script. Pity the agency didn't.

Agency 6/10 Director 9/10

Kiss 100. Now for the humdinger. A ventriloquist's dummy brought to life by the sound of a radio and pulling beautiful girls is one of those brave ideas that could be brilliant or awful depending on the execution. Fortunately, it's brilliant. There are some hilarious touches as the dummy struts his stuff and the director never puts a foot wrong.

Agency 9/10 Director 9/10

The Territorial Army is trying to recruit nurses but its press campaign leaves me dead. The ads are formulaic and unsurprising. The gritty photos make me want to turn the page as fast as possible, the type is designed not to be read and any piece of body copy that starts 'Phosphorous reacts violently with anything that has oxygen in it' is failing to suck me in. This is a dream brief and a missed opportunity.

Agency 3/10

The Royal College of Psychiatrists. I suspect this is a 'chip shop' ad, ie it's aired twice to the public in a cinema in Frinton then many times to awards juries everywhere. Frankly, guys, it's not going to win anything. It's all shot in a beautifully art-directed attic with a beautifully art-directed supercool, hip presenter and some beautifully art-directed mental patients.

The lighting is wonderful, it's all very ethereal and that's just the problem. It doesn't engage me at reality level. 'Wouldn't you be more sympathetic if the Alzheimer's patient were your mother?' Yes, but that's neither an original idea nor an arresting one. Funny how ad folk are always at their best when trying to flog me stuff I don't need rather than trying to do good.

Agency 3/10 Director 5/10

TiVo is the enemy. This is the deadly box that's going to ruin all our lives, the one where you can press a button and screen out all the ads from all the programmes. So, naturally, I was ready to hate this campaign but sadly it's very good. Two couch potatoes are amazed by the machine's ability to freeze-frame live TV. But they're so potato-fied they're virtually freeze-framed themselves. There are five spots all clearly designed to run in the same ad break. One small criticism: the last one is so good at telling the whole story, the earlier teasers may be self-indulgent. Unobtrusive but excellent direction, with an endearing hint of The Royle Family about it.

Agency 8/10 Director 8/10

Okay, you Watford mothers, your turn.


Project: Smile

Client: Chris Craft, head of marketing

Brief: The new Beetle will put a smile on your face

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Jeremy Craigen

Art director: Joanna Wenley

Director: Ivan Zacharias

Production company: Blink Productions

Exposure: Central TV


Project: Nurses recruitment

Client: Lt Col Spencer Gammond

Brief: Nurses; give the TA your skills and knowledge and we''ll develop

them further

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Joel Bradley

Art director: Phil Clarke

Typographer: Alex Normanton

Photographer: Dario Mitidieri

Exposure: Nursing & medical press


Project: Kiss 100

Client: Russell Jones, head of youth brands

Brief: Continue the success of Live Sexy Part 1

Agency: Mother

Writer: Mother

Art director: Mother

Director: Fredrik Bond

Production company: Harry Nash

Exposure: C4, C5, selected cable & satellite TV


Project: Changing minds

Clients: Vanessa Cameron, secretary; Deborah Hart, head of external


Brief: Change perceptions of mental illness

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Leon Jaume

Art director: John Selby

Director: John Selby

Production company: Godman

Exposure: Warner cinemas


Project: A unique partnership in film

Agencies: The Leith Agency/CuttingEdge

Clients: Michael Gannaway, head of UK marketing, Andersen Consulting

Brief: Promote the classic films being re-released

Writer: Dougal Wilson

Art director: Gareth Howells

Director: Tony Smith

Production company: Mallinson TV Production

Exposure: National cinema


Project: TiVo

Client: Brian Sullivan, director, new product development and sales

Brief: Launch the TiVo recorder in the UK

Agency: St Luke''s

Writer: Alistair Campbell

Art director: Suzanne Hails

Directors: Lemoine & Miller

Production company: @Radical Media

Exposure: TV

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