The clocks have gone back. The nights are drawing in. Winter is in the air. And I was personally savaged in this very column not two weeks ago. What a rotten time to be asked to do Private View! But wait a second.

The clocks have gone back. The nights are drawing in. Winter is in

the air. And I was personally savaged in this very column not two weeks

ago. What a rotten time to be asked to do Private View! But wait a


What is this? A whole series of ads designed to warm the cockles of your

heart. Ads that make you laugh or sympathise. Ads that entertain and


Heavens above, even ads with ideas in them. Is this some cruel joke? Has

Campaign mistakenly sent me a parcel destined for D&AD by mistake?

Apparently, a frantic phone-call assures me, not.

Perhaps there is a God after all. Hang on a second while I throw my

malicious nib out of the window and empty my vitriol inkpot. Allow me to

gulp down a glass of the milk of human kindness before getting to


Ooooh! That feels better. Well, if not better, at least different.

Let’s start with Super Noodles. How fantastic, in the era of Millward

Brown, clients who demand ten-second product sequences and research that

supposedly tells us how consumers receive advertising, to find a really

great idea with balls. And not just balls - the four spots I saw include

two men stripped to the waist, one naked man, an elderly gentleman

faking a heart attack and a horrid dad blaming his infant son for a

domestic disaster. And only ONE of the four shows anyone eating the

product. Simple equation: brave client + bright agency = great


Sara Lee’s new campaign is sparely shot and deliciously simple. The

endline - Nobody needs Sara Lee - is another brave statement. The

commercials contrast the things you need (sprouts, water, bread) with

seductive and lingering close-ups of delicious, lavish, seductive Sara

Lee products. As I have eaten about three desserts in my life, I wasn’t

moved. However, my PA - the lovely Sam - almost salivated while watching

these then rushed to Tesco Metro to stock up on Sara Lee goodies she

didn’t need.

M&C Saatchi’s Sky Digital campaign comes in two halves. The telly spots

are nice enough, using a fireman doing a rescue and a counsellor

analysing a relationship. In both cases, the thing being rescued is a

frustrated TV. Certainly nothing wrong with that as an idea. However,

the scale, the imagery and the claims of the epic cinema commercial for

the same client are all so much stronger that I guess it must be our old

friends the regulatory bodies at work yet again.

The Scott’s Porage Oats film features a facsimile of the tosser from the

pack - the caber tosser, that is - walking down a snowy street. As he

turns to smile at two passing girls, his kilt is blown up to reveal

whatever it is he has underneath. A box of Scott’s Porage Oats?


Or maybe a huge erection. That’s it. Well, sorry - and this is the

closest I’ll get to being critical - but the proposition that Porage

Oats are the working man’s Viagra did very little for me.

The Sisters of Murphy’s are what nice Irish girls turn into when they

hear the call of some mysterious woman. Their mission is to provide

assistance to Murphy’s drinkers everywhere, which they accomplish by

turning into a cross between a trio of Emma Peels and Bananarama. It’s a

nice campaign.

A very similar idea seemed nicer to me when Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe

did it for Tia Maria, but what the heck.

I have saved the very best for last. The Halfords ad is really

old-fashioned: I can think of no higher compliment for it. It is for

Halfords. It is simple.

It is beautifully shot. It is funny. It is memorable. It makes writing

great ads look as easy as learning to ride a bike. It will flog hundreds

of bikes. It will win tons of stuff.

Phew! Isn’t being nice a strain? I may have to go and lie down.

Mike Court is the creative director of McCann-Erickson

Have your say on channel six of CampaignLive at www.campaignlive.



Project: Scott’s Porage Oats

Client: Mark Potgeiter,

marketing director

Brief: Re-capture the quality and brand values of Scott’s Porage Oats

over own-label brands

Agency: Young & Rubicam Writer: Paul Catmur

Art director: Anita Davis

Directors: Billy & Alan

Production company: Outsider

Exposure: Regional TV - Scottish, Meridian and Anglian

Sara Lee Bakeries

Project: Sara Lee Desserts

Client: Rooney Anand,

general manager

Brief: Recapture the high ground in the dessert market

Agency: Banks Hoggins O’Shea Writer: Dave Alexander

Art director: Rob Fletcher

Director: Dave Stewart Production company: Shed Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: Halfords

Client: David Pattern, head

of marketing

Brief: Put bikes on children’s Christmas lists

Agency: Abbott Mead

Vickers BBDO

Writer: Antonia Clayton

Art director: Tom Ewart

Director: Dominic Murphy

Production company: Blink Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: Super Noodles

Client: not supplied

Brief: Sell lots of Super Noodles

to grown-ups

Agency: Mother

Director: Danny Kleinman Production company: Spectre

Exposure: National TV

Whitbread Beer Company

Project: Murphy’s Irish Stout

Client: Jo Franks, marketing manager

Brief: Make Murphy’s dynamic, assertive and sexy

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty Writer: Hugh Todd

Art director: Adam Scholes

Director: Chris Palmer

Production company: Gorgeous

Exposure: National TV


Project: Sky Digital

Clients: Sue Hartley, brand director; Scott Meneer,

brand director

Brief: Launch Sky Digital and then communicate its key benefits

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writer: Kevin Thomas

Art director: Malcolm Poynton

Director: Kevin Thomas Production company: Blink Films

Exposure: National TV

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