There are many things in life that I’ve always found a bit pointless.

There are many things in life that I’ve always found a bit pointless.

Personalised number plates, supermodels, politicians, reggae, Pot-

noodles, French nuclear tests, Latin, Budgie the helicopter, horse

racing, committees, trendy oversized overpriced restaurants that sell

crap food, films with or by Kenneth Branagh, ice-dancing and banana

liqueur, are just a few.

But the one thing that I’ve always found absolutely, completely, totally

senseless is smoking. I’ve never smoked and any campaign designed to

stop other people doing so certainly gets my vote.

There have been many anti-smoking campaigns, from the shock route during

the early Saatchi and Saatchi period, to the anti-social approach

courtesy of John Cleese. Now Northern Ash has gone for out and out

trauma in its latest ad. The whole 40 seconds shows a middle-aged woman

coughing into a blood-spattered handkerchief. We then see the endline:

‘Lung cancer doesn’t come in extra mild.’ It’s not going to win any

awards for subtlety, but it seemed pretty effective to me. Let’s hope

I’m right.

Despite the subject matter, Hamlet has been the UK’s most enduring and

endearing ad campaign. Conceived in the 60s, by the copywriter Tim

Warriner, the ‘happiness’ concept has helped forge many a creative


The latest execution, ‘hangman’, is apparently the first Hamlet cinema

ad for seven years and is bound to cause a bit of controversy because it

has broken the voluntary agreement not to advertise cigars on the big


It shows a game of hangman, in which the ‘h’s are missing, so we end up

with ’appiness is a cigar called ’amlet. At 60 seconds, I thought it was

a bit laboured. The very best of the campaign were 30 or 40 seconds


Fred the flour-grader, in his various guises, has been around almost as

long as Hamlet.

This time, he meets up with an Indian couple to promote his Homepride

Curry Sauces. The difference is (surprise, surprise) that Poonan and

Naresh are from Liverpool. With a scouse accent that makes Brookside’s

Sinbad sound like Hugh Grant.

Hardly a mould-breaking idea. Not too many reputations are going to be

made on the back of this one.

Yet another charity film, this time for the Anti-Racist Alliance. We see

the smiling face of a successful thirtysomething black man, intercut

with events from his life. We eventually discover that he has been

stabbed and is bleeding to death, as his past life flashes by.

This is edited to a contrasting music track, Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful

World. Painstakingly crafted it unquestionably is but, once again, I

think that 60 seconds could have been lopped off the film. Another

thing, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do after it had finished,

send money or what?

The third charity ad is yet another terrific full page for the RSPCA,

which is still the most consistently good charity campaign. The aim of

this ad is much more clear. To lobby or write to your local MP, to push

through a bill that will give equal protection to wild mammals as

domestic animals.

I heard on London News Radio as I was writing this that the bill is

being put to Parliament. Hopefully it won’t be defeated, as it was last


Finally, the British Meat commercial simply looked like a charity ad.

Shot in black and white to the tune of Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love,

it shows a sulky teenage girl who won’t eat because of boyfriend

trouble. Mum turns up with some comfort food in the shape of grilled

peanut pork (though probably not the sort of pork she had in mind) and

all is well.

Produced by the agency who gave us this year’s best commercial so far -

the Walkers crisps Lineker and Gazza spot - it’s reassuring to know that

they do put a foot wrong sometimes.


Project: RSPCA

Client: Kate Parminter, head of public affairs

Brief: Support the bill seeking to give wild mammals the same legal

protection from cruelty as domestic animals

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Diane Leaver

Art director: Paul Brazier

Photographer: Stock shots

Typographer: Joe Hoza

Exposure: National press

Meat and Livestock Commission

Project: British pork

Client: Gwyn Howells, marketing manager

Brief: Show that pork is not only healthy, but also easy to cook and

needn’t be too traditional or formal

Agency: BMP DDB Needham

Writer/art director: John Webster

Director: Trevor Melvin

Production company: Blink

Exposure: National TV

Campbell’s Grocery Products

Project: Homepride Sauces

Client: Alison Levett, marketing director

Brief: Position Homepride Sauces as authentic flavours for the British


Agency: Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury

Project team: John Weston, Gaia Pollini, Marc Sands, Mary Stow

Director:Andy Wilson

Production company: Impossible Films

Exposure: National TV

Anti-Racist Alliance

Project: Anti-Racist Alliance

Client: Marc Wadsworth, founding member

Brief: Show that racism in all its forms destroys lives

Agency: Maher Bird Associates

Writer: Steve Deput

Art director: Graham Kerr

Director: Zak Ove

Production company: n/a

Exposure: National cinema and cable TV

Northern Ash

Project: Health promotion

Client: Derek Smith, chairman

Brief: Discourage young women from smoking

Agency: Yellow M

Writer: Chris Rickaby

Art director: Mark Martin

Director: John Hogg

Production company: Waterside TV

Exposure: Regional cinema and posters


Project: Hamlet

Client: Mike Ashdown, senior marketing manager cigars and tobacco

Brief: Solace in the face of adversity

Agency: Collett Dickenson Pearce

Writer/art director: Tim Brookes

Director: Phillip Lihou

Production company: Moving Picture Company

Exposure: Cinema

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