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I want to expand on the theme of yobbery in adland. It seems to me that the debate is about several different things quite separate from the issue of taste. Many of the voices that have been raised recently appear to have been lamenting the passing of old-time craft skills as much as anything.

I want to expand on the theme of yobbery in adland. It seems to me that

the debate is about several different things quite separate from the

issue of taste. Many of the voices that have been raised recently appear

to have been lamenting the passing of old-time craft skills as much as


Gone are the days when all copywriters harboured ambitions of The Novel.

True, only one ended up with a fatwah on his head, though personally I

believe the people responsible for the ‘ambassador’s party’ should be

very, very afraid. The fact is, the youngsters coming into the business

today are neither better nor worse than those of old. But they are


They aren’t necessarily either writers or art directors any longer.

Their role models aren’t Brignull and Godfrey, but Trev and Al, concept

creators who like to take an idea all the way from layout to playout.

The Pot Noodle campaign, for example. Shot on a camcorder with a total

lack of respect for the art of the lighting cameraman, it’s brash,

vigorous and enviable. These films weren’t created by aesthetes planning

to show their reel on the steps of the Tate. They sabotage the notion of

art in advertising. The only cultural reference points you’ll find in

them are those of advertising itself. Nevertheless, they are very

artful. Gorgeous, even.

The Holsten Pils campaign isn’t exactly heaving with middle-class values

either. If anyone cries ‘yobbery’, don’t be fooled. This is good old-

fashioned advertising with a strong idea made appropriate for the here

and now with its stridency and its language. Full marks to the Dean

Street team for giving Holsten Pils a distinct personality.

For advertising that’s actually trying to be yobby, there’s something

rather public school about the Quartet commercial. While I’m full of

admiration for the energy of the independent duo who persuaded a

production company to shoot this film, I can’t help wishing it had been

with a different script. Open on a yuppie running his business from the

kazi. Cut to toilet roll and super: Quartet. Recommended by arseholes. A

crappy pun, and absolutely no chance of a job at Lowe Howard-Spink with

that on your reel, lads.

That fine agency has always stood for good taste in advertising and the

Stella Dry campaign doesn’t buck the trend. Perhaps that’s the problem.

I’m reminded of a graffito: ‘If you think you’re at the edge, you

haven’t gone far enough.’ I’m sure these ads could have gone further.

But that’s the conundrum, isn’t it? When advertising does successfully

mirror the chippy attitude of modern youth, the pundits interpret its

youthful vitality as brutalism.

There’s nothing brutal about the Courage Best posters and again I can’t

help feeling a little disappointed. There’s a brilliant strategy in

there, taking the mick out of all those Northern bitters, but maybe it

needs TV to really sparkle. What we see here are the foundations of a

great campaign. Let’s hope someone gets to make it.

Last up, a campaign for London Buses which is neat in both senses.

However, what Londoners could really do with is a couple of billion

being spent on a viable public transport system rather than a few bob on

a handful of posters. There are some things advertising can’t hope to do

even though everyone in Greater London House is trying their damnedest.

What’s clear from the work today is there’s plenty of talent in our

industry. Maybe the days of hot metal and long copy are behind us;

nevertheless in every campaign there’s an idea. In a couple of instances

it’s the very rawness of the executions that make them successful. Let’s

not mistake freshness for yobbishness - as I suspect we sometimes have.

Reeves and Wright

Project: Quartet toilet paper

Client: D. W. Curry, managing director

Brief: Raise awareness of Quartet as an alternative to the big brands

and own brands

Agency: Ads ‘R’ Us

Writer: Tad Safran

Art director: Sigi Phyland

Director: Sean Hinds

Production company: Will van der Vlugt

Exposure: Regional cinemas

Holsten UK

Project: Holsten Pils

Client: Phil Plowman, marketing director

Brief: Reinforce Holsten Pils’s purity and integrity

Agency: GGT

Writer: Robert Saville

Art director: Jay Pond-Jones

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Paul Weiland Films

Exposure: National TV and cinema

Scottish Courage

Project: Courage Best

Client: John Roberts, group marketing controller, ales and stouts

Brief: Position Courage Best as brand leader in the South

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writers: Simon Dicketts, Richard Dean

Art director: Martha Riley

Photographer: Richard Mummery

Typographer: Andy Dymock

Exposure: Press and posters, Southern regions

Whitbread Beer

Project: Stella Dry

Client: Susan Purcell, marketing manager

Brief: Refreshingly easy to drink and deceptively strong

Agency: Lowe Howard-Spink

Writer: Shay Reading

Art director: Simon Butler

Photographer: Tim O’ Sullivan

Typographer: Simon Warden

Exposure: National tabloids and men’s magazines


Project: Pot Noodle

Client: Jeremy Woods, marketing manager

Brief: Demonstrate that Pot Noodle is the hot, tasty snack that’s better

for you than you thought

Agency: Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury

Writer: John Parkin

Art director: Dominic Beardsworth

Director: Armando Iannucci

Production company: Tomboy Films

Exposure: National TV

London Transport Buses

Project: London Buses

Client: Mike King, advertising and publicity manager

Brief: Encourage occasional bus users to use London’s buses more


Agency: Young and Rubicam

Writer: Jonathan Budds

Art director: Christine Jones

Photographer: Nick Waplington

Exposure: London posters

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