Private view

The remarkable thing about this week’s offerings is that they nearly all dwell on what the product is not, rather than what it is.

The remarkable thing about this week’s offerings is that they nearly all

dwell on what the product is not, rather than what it is.

Let’s start with the Volkswagen Golf commercial. We’re in an oriental

gambling den populated by a selection of Gerrard Street’s most alarming-

looking extras.

The reason for this throng of oriental villainy is an evening’s beetle

racing. Various jewel-encrusted boxes are slid open to reveal mean

looking Coleoptera. They run up the track and one of them powers ahead,

due to ‘more powerful muscle structure beneath the shell’.

This is what advertising sophisticates call an ‘analogy’. Outside lurks

our hero’s jamjar, similarly powerful beneath the shell and

differentiated by a subtle bit of badging. So far so good. But my

problem is that this is not a beetle. It’s a Golf. And while all Beetles

are Volkswagens, not all Volkswagens are Beetles.

On to the Schweppes Lemonade poster. This is not an alcoholic lemonade,

but, in what I hope was an agency initiative, it’s hitched a ride on the

fashionable coat-tails of Hooch and Two Dogs by stealing their colours

and their art direction. It’s a neat bit of positioning and I think it’s

right to enlarge the competitive framework the brand is operating in.

However, when I first saw the ad I didn’t know whether to drink it or

clean my brass with it.

Next the new Toshiba ad. ‘Tosh’, or whatever he’s called, is obviously

the strongest property this brand ever had, and the client was right to

return to the people who invented him. Having said that, for such a hi-

tech product the device is a bit creaky. And the films referenced (Jaws,

Reservoir Dogs) aren’t they a bit...passe?

The ‘not’ aspect of the Nicotinell Gum commercials seemed to me to be a

matter of not facing the issue. The commercial communicated the

existence of two new flavours, yet skirted the product’s role in helping

you give up one of the world’s most addictive drugs. Obviously this

category is a minefield of restrictions.

We have to give Nicotinell full marks for visual simplicity and hope the

Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre will have the sense to allow

advertisers like this to say: ‘Cigarettes kill you. This is fact, not

opinion, so stop now - this can help.’

One post-production note. When I showed this to the department at Foote

Cone Belding, the voiceover came to the line ‘...beat the craving’. At

this point a dozen puzzled faces turned to me and said ‘...beat the


On to Sainsbury’s Reward Card. In each case we find a couple at odds on

how to use the card - either for Air Miles or discounts in the store.

I’m afraid the ‘not’ factor was personal. I found them not very

likeable. I have to add a rider that several people in the watching

throng at FCB found these quite entertaining. I didn’t.

Here we have an advertiser who, for years, couldn’t put a foot wrong.

Now it’s being pasted by Tesco in product development, stamped all over

by Safeway in consistency and tone of voice of advertising and I have an

uncomfortable feeling that these two films aren’t going to do a great

deal to redress the balance.

Finally, the biggest ‘not’ was from Do It All. These ads are obviously

designed for the house-style magazines and are quite a skilful parody of

those articles that have headlines like ‘A Manhattan architect’s witty

reworking of a 14th-century Andalucian pig-sty’.

The ads look elegant enough, although I could have done with a lighter

hand on the typefaces. (Try not to have more typefaces than you’ve got

fingers and toes.)

In the end, I have to confess that by bamboozling me with what wasn’t,

these Do It All ads left me a long way from what is.

So, this week’s lesson, preached by the Reverend Bacon, is: when you’re

making ads, try not to tie yourself up in nots. Amen.

We await Mr Tosh’s next outing with interest. With a bit more money

behind him and some Framestore magic he may surprise us yet.

Like DIY, they were too much like hard work.


Project: Schweppes Lemonade

Client: Dominic Lowe, marketing director

Brief: Increase awareness of Schweppes Lemonade

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Andy McLeod

Art director: Richard Flintham

Computer imagery and typographer: Andy Dymock

Exposure: National posters

Toshiba UK

Project: Toshiba Home Cinema

Client: Mike Brown, marketing director

Brief: Communicate that Toshiba created home cinema

Agency: Walsh Trott Chick Smith

Writer: Dave Trott

Art director: Gordon Smith

Director: Jerry Hibbert

Production company: Hibbert Ralph

Exposure: National TV


Project: Golf VR6

Client: Nigel Brotherton, advertising manager

Brief: Show that the Golf VR6 is deceptively powerful

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: John Webster

Art director: John Webster

Director: Chris Palmer

Production company: Gorgeous Films

Exposure: National TV

Zyma Healthcare

Project: Nicotinell Gum

Client: Jonathan Yardley, marketing director

Brief: Encourage existing gum users to switch to Nicotinell Gum

Agency: Mellors Reay and Partners

Writer: Gary Dawson

Art director: Scott Bain

Director: Simon Martin

Production company: McCallum Kennedy d’Auria

Exposure: National TV


Project: Reward Card

Client: Kevin McCarten, marketing director

Brief: Launch the Sainsbury’s Reward loyalty card and its tie-in with

Air Miles

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Peter Souter

Art director: Paul Brazier

Director: John O’Driscoll

Production company: Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National TV

Do It All

Project: Branding

Client: Stephen Sinclair, head of brand marketing

Brief: Encourage consumers to reappraise Do It All as a place to go for

affordable ideas

Agency: GGT

Writer: Jim Thornton

Art director: Lin Tipton

Photographer: Gary Hamill

Exposure: Home-interest magazines