So Solly dies and Ruth, his widow, phones the classified department of the Finchley Herald. ’How much to say someone’s died?’ she asks.

So Solly dies and Ruth, his widow, phones the classified department

of the Finchley Herald. ’How much to say someone’s died?’ she asks.

’It’s pounds 1 a word,’ they tell her.

’So put this in - Sol’s dead.’

’Sol’s dead - is that it?’

’What else is there? He’s dead.’

’That’ll be pounds 5 please - there’s a minimum charge of pounds 5.’

’I pay pounds 5 anyway?’ A pause. ’So put this in - Sol’s dead. Volvo

for sale.’

As Tim Ashton pointed out in this column, it’s different when it’s our

money. Such economy, such precis. The crap we’d cut out. We might still

go on imaginative journeys in the name of attention-getting and

image-building, but would they be quite so circuitous? And wouldn’t we

be a little more careful with their appropriateness?

With most countlines, for example, the content and the conduct of the

advertising gives you at least some idea of what to expect from the

product and what the client wants you to feel about it. Tropical

flavour, honeycomb fizziness, dreamy creamy chocolateyness - then

there’s Lion Bar. ’Mornin’ Mr CTN, could I have a bar of that chocolate

thing packed with elaborate vacuous improbability?’ Approach with

caution, indeed. At least it’s consistent.

Lion Bar has been around for more than 20 years and I can honestly say

I’ve never seen an ad that makes sense.

We’re literally given the runaround in an ad for Nike/Adidas/Reebok -

oh, it’s Speedo. A breathless dramatic chase behind a triathlete or


The great thing about Umbro advertising is that it recognised there’s

both humour and absurdity at the heart of most people’s sport. All this

earnest striving - it’s And, anyway, it doesn’t matter

what they say. For me, Speedo will always be the preferred choice for

the best undressed flasher at your local municipal baths. Now there’s an

idea: Speedo, the trunk of perverts.

I can only assume the authorities at Euro were looking the other way

when the Intel Pentium III Processor ads were done. Not a sniff of

thigh, pout, nipple or wet T-shirt. This natty device will take us to

the web through a door that a bunch of Vikings and a kickboxer failed to

break down. Nothing too elaborate here but nothing particularly

memorable either.

In contrast, the Territorial Army tells a story both relevant and

engaging: a Friday night choice between either pub and fish and chips

with your mates or leaping out of helicopters in serious circumstances.

A heavy dilemma to pose if you ask me, but that’s the offer and you

can’t blame the agency for that.

Would Ruth put her money behind a notion that says sliced bread can be a

compensation for life’s major disappointments? Warburtons produces

lovely stories, lovingly told with wonderful music. But it’s the sort of

campaign that when the product pops up at the end, you wonder if it’s in

the right commercial. I hope I’m wrong because apart from anything else,

they’re such likeable, congenial commercials - and as a subject to get

your teeth into, sliced bread isn’t exactly the best thing since sliced


Economy, precis, getting to the point. Help the Aged makes a fascinating

point that inside every vibrant young person, there’s a crabby, wizened

old person waiting to emerge during the slow decay of years. It’s a

brilliantly thought-provoking and effective way of gaining sympathy and

understanding - they aren’t old people, they’re you - and it hits you

within 20 seconds. Unfortunately, it goes on hitting you for a further

two minutes and 40 seconds. It may be a good cause but as Ruth will tell

you, it’s a hard cruel world out there and the same applies to all


Make the sale, get the order and then get out before they change their



Project: Territorial Army

Client: Lt. Col. Spencer Gammond, RO2 TA marketing

Brief: Show that the TA is a vital part of the British Army

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Adam Kean

Art director: Alexandra Taylor

Directors: Paul Weiland and Alexandra Taylor

Production company: The Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National TV


Project: Help the Aged

Client: Sandra Chalmers, communications director

Brief: Change young people’s attitudes towards old people and raise

their awareness of Help the Aged

Agency: Leo Burnett

Writer: Nick Bell

Art director: Mark Tutssel

Director: Malcolm Venville

Production company: Malcolm Venville Ltd

Exposure: Cinema


Project: Warburtons Bakeries

Client: Jonathan Warburton, joint managing director

Brief: Make Warburtons’ care and skill relevant to modern family life

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Alex Grieve

Art director: Adrian Rossi

Director: Mike Stephenson

Production company: The Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: Regional TV


Project: Pentium III Processor

Client: n/s

Brief: n/s

Agency: n/s

Writer: n/s

Art director: n/s

Director: n/s

Production company: n/s

Exposure: n/s


Project: Speedo

Client: Eve Davies, marketing director

Brief: Re-introduce Speedo to an audience of 15- to 35-year-olds

Agency: WCRS

Writer: Darren Bailes

Art director: Alan MacCuish

Director: Adrian Moat

Production company: RSA Films

Exposure: Cinema


Project: Lion Bar

Client: Michel Reinarz, director of marketing, Germany

Brief: The involving bite fuels your confidence

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Writer: Siggi Halling

Art director: David Mackersey

Director: Kevin Molony

Production company: Union Commercials

Exposure: National TV


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