Ultra! Don’t you just love the word ultra? It’s an advertising word, born and bred. And it’s no more likely to crop up in everyday conversation than polyunsaturates or riboflavin. Yet turn on your TV and it’s unavoidable.

Ultra! Don’t you just love the word ultra? It’s an advertising

word, born and bred. And it’s no more likely to crop up in everyday

conversation than polyunsaturates or riboflavin. Yet turn on your TV and

it’s unavoidable.

Clinging nightly to everything from tampons to toothpaste. What the hell

does it mean?

Well, according to the latest edition of the Collins National

Dictionary, the word ultra is defined as: ’Our last version of this

product was a bit crap so we’ve now made some spurious pseudo-scientific

advancement in the vain hope of pulling the wool over the eyes of the

gormless. Please buy it, please. I’ve got a wife, two kids and a

Vauxhall Vectra riding on this.’ Blimey.

Apparently, Sure Ultra Dry Cream vanishes in to keep you drier than the

leading aerosol and roll-on. And, as it’s now half-price, you get ultra

dryness at an ultra low price. Can’t argue with that. Well you can, but

life’s too short.

When it comes to washing clothes, I am and always have been a detergent

luddite. Of the pre-ultra variety. Liquids, low temperatures, baskets,

bags and balls just passed me by. I’m a strictly

bung-in-the-Bold-and-bang-it-on-boil sorta bloke. (It plays havoc with

my whites but it may just have sparked the fleeting grey clothing craze

of ’98.) But I digress. These Persil Colour Care Tablets commercials

with their catchy endline, ’New Persil Colour Care Tablets’, leave me

absolutely stone cold.

The product’s far too advanced for my humble grundies and the films are

card-carrying members of the tedious ’all blokes are rubbish’ school of

selling. I don’t buy that either, I’m afraid.

By the time you read this, we’ll finally have a National minimum wage.

The COI’s campaign to illustrate the benefits of the magical pounds 3.60

is concise, straightforward and down to earth. Just as it should be. The

1.9 million folks who’ll benefit wouldn’t have it any other way. Neither

would I.

It doesn’t bode well for the National Savings campaign that in a recent

survey (reported in this very journal), 20 per cent of people thought

that an ISA was an energy drink and 7 per cent believed it was a new

car. Oh dear. Sure, these commercials are very sweetly shot, but a brief

like this was never going to set the world on fire and a bit of me

wonders why they didn’t just brand ISAs as Ultra PEPs and be done with

it. That’s the sort of language us consumers understand.

Young girl. Regulation skimpy bra-less top, pierced belly-button,

split-skirt and huge headphones, lost in gay abandonment as she (I

believe the current vernacular to be) rocks in silence to the new

Ministry of Sound compilation CD, Dance Nation Six. Good God - as James

Brown might have exalted. This is a fabulous little film. Sort of Kiss

FM versus Radio One Love feat.

Real Life @ Docu Soap Innit.

I was so impressed that I immediately dressed up as a young person and

crept timidly into HMV to purloin a copy of said waxing. Imagine my

horror upon studying the sleeve notes and discovering that there was not

a single Ultra Sound or Ultra Nate track on the whole CD. Dagnammit.

’Tis literary serendipity like that which might have made my column

stand tall. So to speak.

Last? Best. NSPCC.

Those of you who know me will know how proud I am to work in this thing

called advertising. The NSPCC campaign should have every man jack of us

walking round with our heads held high for the rest of our careers.

This is a campaign which aims to raise pounds 300 million. To maildrop

every household in the land. To achieve nothing less than change the

culture of our nation. It’s an astonishingly well-integrated

achievement. A crusade, no less. And it will succeed. Because it

deserves to. Because it’s brilliant. Full stop.


Project: Dance Nation Six

Client: Mark Rodol, chief executive

Brief: Get Dance Nation Six to number one in the compilation charts

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Creative team: Pete Cain, Louis Bogue

Director: Jack Price

Production company: RSA Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: National Savings

Client: Chris Moxey, commercial director

Brief: Communicate that everyone should have some money in National


Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Tim Cordell

Art director: Alex Bamford

Director: Trevor Melvin

Production company: Blink

Exposure: National TV


Project: Sure Ultra Dry Cream

Clients: Fernando Acosta, senior brand director, Steve Miles, brand

development director, Aylin Savkan, brand manager

Brief: Convey the fact that Sure understands women’s needs

Agency: Ammirati Puris Lintas

Writer: Nicky Bullard

Art director: Ali Peaty

Director: Dan Nathan

Production company: Serious Pictures

Exposure: National and Satellite TV


Project: Full Stop campaign

Client: Marian Rose, head of marketing

Brief: Raise awareness of the NSPCC’s Full Stop campaign and inspire

people to get involved

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Kes Gray

Art director: Dennis Willison

Director: Malcolm Venville

Production company: Malcolm Venville Ltd

Exposure: National TV


Project: National minimum wage

Client: Paul Freedman, director of publicity

Brief: Announce the arrival of the national minimum wage

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Writer: Alex Derwin

Art director: Dom Sweeney

Director: Mark Brozel

Production company: The Clinic

Exposure: National and Satellite TV


Project: Persil Colour Care Tablets

Client: Jan Harley, European marketing manager

Brief: Launch Persil Colour Care Tablets as ’the simplest way to clean

and care for your coloured clothes’

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Writer: David Rossiter

Art director: Geoff Turner

Director: John S. Clarke

Production company: John S. Clarke Productions

Exposure: National TV

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