New Year’s Eve. Bloody rubbish isn’t it? In order to discover why, I recently conducted an experiment under laboratory-controlled conditions.

New Year’s Eve. Bloody rubbish isn’t it? In order to discover why,

I recently conducted an experiment under laboratory-controlled


Should you wish to recreate its startling results for yourself, you’ll

need the following fine ingredients.

One small room filled to the ceiling with total strangers, all

preferably starved of alcohol for the previous nine months. One straight

pint mug.

One ex-lover. A selection of alcoholic beverages, the likes of which you

wouldn’t normally touch with anyone else’s bargepole: cognac, whisky,

worm-inhabited tequila, Italian liqueur, that sort of thing. One

accurate clock. One set of car keys. (Porsche is a good choice, lest you

still don’t look a big enough prick even after devouring all of the

above.) And finally, one hangover cure.

Now, as fate would have it, Campaign has just sent me the whole

aforementioned kaboodle in a big brown bag marked ’Private View’. So

hey! Let’s experiment!

First, pour a generous measure of Martell Cognac into the pint mug.

Study the poster campaign as you sup, thus: I love the illustrations and

I think they’d look startling on a street corner, but I find the

sentiment a bit too, well, familiar. Blame Glenn Baxter. Next add a big

slug of Famous Grouse whisky: what a superb campaign this is. Here’s a

creative team that knows how to handle its drink. Beautifully simple,

brilliantly branded and a fabulous musical score to boot. Mine’s a large


Now stir in a ludicrous amount of DiSaronno Amaretto. Disawotto? Don’t

ask. True, the film features the sort of girl who’d make a pope punch a

hole in a stained-glass window and, yes, it reeks of Dolce Vita-esque

Italian style. But is this really the way to Amaretto? ’In Italy,’ reads

the endline, ’there are no half measures.’ Trouble is, there’s not much

branding either.

If you’ve been following my instructions to the letter, you should by

now be feeling tipsy (much to the chagrin of Tinky Winky). This is quite

normal, do not adjust your clothing. Yet.

Tempus fugit! As we say in Brum. The millennium is arriving - unless

you’re wearing an Accurist, of course. In which case, it’s already here.

Yep, out goes anorexic Annie of press ad fame and in comes countdown

interruptus, courtesy of Accurist’s millennium countdown clock at

Greenwich. Apparently, ’no-one’s celebrating the millennium until we say

so’. Well, the year 2000 is undoubtedly coming and it’s a very neat

summation of a very big idea, but isn’t it suffering from premature

encapsulation? Surely, first we gotta party like it’s 1998 ...

Approaching the climax of our experiment, you should by now have your

mojo working overtime and your mood swinging like a pendulum.


Time to leave before you do something you might regret. But who’s


When they come to write the A to Z of 1997, D will forever stand for

Diana, Dodi and Drink Drive. Unfortunately, if an event of such global

magnitude doesn’t stop would-be drinkers in their tracks, what hope is

there for a humble advertising campaign? ’None for the road’, however,

is a terrific idea and I wish them well with it. Teetotalitarianism for

drivers I say.

And finally, if you don’t wish to hear the results of our experiment,

please look away now ...

And lo. After the joy of the night before, God delivered the Morning

After. Luckily, she also gave us Alka Seltzer XS and that’s what I call

A Result. Thank heaven for small, fizzing mercies. Thank AMV for

brilliant advertising. Thought they’d never top ’two men in a boat’?

Well, they just done did. This time it’s ’worm in a bottle’: crawling

from the liquid wreckage of last night to seek solace ’n’ salvation in

the Seltzer. It’s a little masterpiece, born out of recognition of the

condition. Let’s face it, we’ve all been that worm. It’s just that the

very worst time to be him is on the very first day of the year. New

Year’s Day. Bloody rubbish isn’t it??

Seagram UK

Project: Martell

Advertiser: Tina Pilter, UK brand manager

Brief: Contrast Martell’s relaxed personality with the pompous image of


Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Writer: Mick French

Art director: Henry Rossiter

Illustrator: Simon Spillsbury

Exposure: 96- and 94-sheet posters

Matthew Gloag & Son

Project: Famous Grouse Whisky

Advertiser: Bill Farrar, marketing director

Brief: Inject more warmth and humour into the brand

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Mary Wear

Art director: Damon Collins

Director: Gerry Hibbert

Production company: Hibbert Ralph/the Mill

Exposure: National TV


Project: DiSaronno Amaretto

Advertiser: Tim O’Connell, marketing controller

Brief: Reposition DiSaronno as the authentic, versatile Italian spirit

Agency: CBC

Writer: Louise Roberts

Art director: Paul Burch

Director: Sara Dunlop

Production company: The Annex

Exposure: Carlton and LWT

Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions

Project: Drink drive campaign

Advertiser: Tony Allsworth, head of publicity, road safety division

Brief: Driving after drinking even a small amount of alcohol can make

you a danger on the road

Agency: DMB&B

Writer: Johnny Pittard

Art director: Steve Wakelam

Director: Joe Public Production company: Partizan Midi Minuit

Exposure: National TV


Project: Accurist brand TV campaign

Advertiser: Andrew Loftus, managing director

Brief: Only Accurist can officially tell you when the millennium starts

Agency: TBWA Simons Palmer

Writer: Patrick Burns

Art director: Gavin McGrath

Director: Brian Baderman

Production company: All Films

Exposure: LWT/Carlton ITV, Channel 4 , Channel 5, satellite


Project: Alka Seltzer XS

Advertiser: Nick Wall, group brand manager

Brief: Alka Seltzer XS is perfect for ’when you’ve had one too many’

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Pat Doherty

Art director: Greg Martin

Director: Paul Berry

Production company: Passion Pictures

Exposure: National TV


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