Sensation. At the Royal Academy, yes. At the Grosvenor House? I
don’t think so. While modern British art is fresh, funny and capable of
getting inside your head and derailing your day, modern British
advertising is coasting.
Take the campaign for Berlei (ink on dps. 1997). Simply designed and
plainly written, these ads promote Berlei as the comfortable line in
The models aren’t intimidating, the sell isn’t sex and the management at
Berlei are doubtless delighted to be back talking about detail and
design. Just one snag. Just as their bras are in the comfort zone, so
are their ads.
VirginNet does things differently. Faced with the challenge of telling
us you can get a month on the Internet for free, some mother’s decided
to dramatise the idea of freedom. Fair enough.
But, as ads go, this one’s not so much a shark in formaldehyde as a
couple of swingers in the Forsythia.
Scotland Against Drugs also fails to get under the skin. ’Whatever you
want to be, you don’t want to be on drugs’ is a very pat advertising
line that I can’t believe is going to have any influence anywhere.
Especially not in the inner city. In Clydebank, Cumbernauld and East
Kilbride. Perhaps it would have been an idea to get some people who know
about drugs to address the problem. Did anyone ask Irvine Welsh or
Damien Hirst if they might have been able to make a different kind of
connection? To persuade me not to take drugs, you’ll need something a
bit more stimulating than this.
As you will if you’re going to get me to gamble. Sadly, the new campaign
for the National Bingo Game Association isn’t going to win anything.
Six, ten-second commercials set out to let us know that every day
someone scoops up to pounds 100,000 playing National Bingo. So, as the
ad points out, you could buy a new car, quit your job - this one’s good
- have pounds 100,000 in the bank. Sensational stuff. If only they’d
spent that much making the ads.
Instead, this week’s big budgets went to Cheltenham & Gloucester and
Adidas. C&G on a trip to the Arctic. Adidas on a trip to the future.
Both films look most impressive. However, in the case of C&G, it seems
they forgot to pack an idea.
The best that came out of their luggage along with the snow goggles and
the thermal underwear was some far-fetched nonsense about catching the
abominable snowman, linked to the promise that Cheltenham & Gloucester
helps keep you one step ahead. (Geddit?) And this from the house of
The same Saatchi that has been the patron of all that is vital and
inventive among that other section of our creative community. Now, have
we lost sight of him or has he lost sight of us?
Thankfully, there are signs of salvation in the Adidas commercial.
Conceived as a vehicle to show off the squad of international stars, the
film pits the Cool XI against the clones. Hence Beckham, Ince, Desailly,
Del Piero and Co miraculously take to the field to play against
themselves. Genetically matched, the only thing that can separate the
teams is their boots. It’s a neat idea shot with real style.
The conception of the stadium, the players’ tunnel and the crowd as a
video installation are all original. Film-making which shows players
tackling and competing against their own likenesses is a dazzling
sleight of hand.
If you want to find fault with it, you’ve got to ask what Gascoigne is
doing in the team (despite his recent efforts against the Moldova Ladies
XI) and what’s with Beckenbauer’s acting? Apart from that, it’s the only
one of this week’s ads that might make it in to any kind of
retrospective a year or so from now.
Sensation can be seen at the Royal Academy until 28 December.
Project: Berlei brand campaign
Client: Laura Cannon, marketing director
Brief: Berlei understands women’s problems with bras and offers
Agency: Abbott Mead
Writer: Malcolm Duffy
Art director: Paul Briginshaw
Exposure: Press and posters
Client: not supplied
Brief: not supplied
Agency: Mother Creative team:Robert Saville, Mark Waites, Libby
Exposure: National press
Project: Predator Traxion
Client: Neil Simpson, global advertising director
Brief: Reaffirm Adidas’s position as the number-one soccer brand
Agency: Leagas Delaney Writer: Rob Birley
Art director: Dave Beverley
Director: Mehdi Norowzian Production company: Joy Films
Exposure: Global terrestrial and satellite TV
Scotland Against Drugs
Project: Primaries campaign
Client: David Macauley, campaign director
Brief: Focus on the hopes that children have and how drugs can devastate
Agency: Faulds Advertising
Writer: Chris Miller
Art director: Ruth Yee
Director: Paul Archard
Exposure: Scottish TV
Cheltenham & Gloucester
Project: Mortgages and investments
Client: Chris Steele, general manager, marketing
Brief: Emphasise C&G’s speed and efficiency of service compared with
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Susie Henry
Art director: Susie Henry
Director: David Garfath Production company: The Paul Weiland Film
Exposure: National TV
The National Bingo Game Association
Project: National Bingo
Client: Paul Talboys,
Brief: Promote the fact that every day someone will win up to pounds
Agency: BMP4 Writer: Martin Cox
Art director: Richard Lovell
Director: Dave Stewart
Production company: Shed Films
Exposure: National TV