Mealy mouthed. That’s how Campaign recently described those creative directors who want to say only ’nice things’ when writing Private View.

Mealy mouthed. That’s how Campaign recently described those

creative directors who want to say only ’nice things’ when writing

Private View.

But apart from the fact that work to be reviewed is always accompanied

by a letter from Campaign urging you to be positive, it’s not helpful

for the advertising community to torpedo itself by scoring petty

internecine points in public. And the recent argument promoted by

Campaign - that because medical experts, lawyers, football managers and

entertainers slag each other off in public, we can too - is irrelevant.

Isn’t it precisely because medical opinion is publicly divided that

people distrust doctors?

You don’t see Martin Lambie-Nairn in the Financial Times dumping on

Newell & Sorrell, or a partner from McKinsey rubbishing the work of Bain

& Co or consultancy in general. While they stick together, we are in

danger of allowing the business world to downgrade and devalue

advertising, to forget that, in all its forms, it remains an

indispensable and irreplaceable nourishment for the overall health of

their businesses.

So just for a change, let’s have a look not at how indifferent

advertising is betraying the potent products put in front of it, but

more how lacklustre products are given sustenance and glitter by our

much-criticised alchemy.

Strip away the advertising-induced bloom and this week we’ve got a

burger now generally accepted as being nowhere near as good as its main

rival (here I declare an interest, APL advertises Burger King),

second-hand Vauxhalls brought to you from an unfashionable country whose

economy is now spectacularly and tragically knackered, an indifferent

chain of pizza houses, the 4,000th chocolate count-line, yet another

longer-life battery and an unsexy Swedish car.

Promising? No, it isn’t - but reapply the advertising and watch them all

lift their smiling faces to the sun.

McDonald’s with yet another utterly charming and human effort continues

with the understandable strategy of talking about anything other that

their actual product.

They share their product shyness with the Korean car manufacturer,

Daewoo, who, it must be remembered, against all predictions and with a

dreadful product have got off to a stunning start based entirely on a

radical marketing policy clearly and strongly advertised.

Pizza Hut, this time featuring Ruud Gullit, the man who by dint of name

alone will always have an alternative career on the Adult Channel,

furthers its matey knockabout character, powerfully established and

differentiated by advertising for what is, in the end, just another

high-street fast-food chain.

Lion Bar seems to be setting itself up as an hallucinogenic. Indeed, the

body of the commercial is remarkably similar to the recent Scotland

Against Drugs campaign by the Scottish Health Authority. But it’s

heavily branded and clearly differentiated in a hyperactive product


I’ve already seen the Sony Stamina tube cards in situ and was going to

mention them even if they hadn’t been sent. They’re brilliant. The

photography is outstanding, the idea is direct, relevant, witty and

original - and all this for me-too Battery Brief Number One (A): ’Say

the batteries last a long time’.

Then there’s Volvo, superbly back on track on television after some odd

print work. Only once have I ever driven one, I don’t know anyone who

owns one and yet I have the clearest notion of what they’re about.

Now, how is all this achieved? Advertising. Consistent, intelligent,

pointed, through-the-line advertising. And who achieves it? That unique

collection of creative, eclectic, entrepreneurial, strategic and

intelligent people, found together only in the advertising agency.

Don’t you forget it. And this year don’t let anyone else forget it or

undervalue it.


Project: Happy Meals

Clients: John Hawkes, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer

Agency: Leo Burnett

Copywriter: Ross Jamieson

Art director: Jamie Berger

Director: Jeff Stark

Production company: Stark Films

Exposure: National TV

Nestle UK

Project: Peanut Lion Bar

Client: Mike Tollan, marketing manager

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Copywriter: Giles Etherington

Art director: Matthew Lloyd

Director: Thed Lenssen

Production company: Hungry Eye Films

Exposure: National and satellite TV


Project: 1998 models campaign

Client: Dorian Leroy, marketing manager

Agency: Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters

Copywriters: James Fryer, Brendon Wilkins

Art directors: Mike London, Paul Hancock

Directors: Luis Cook, Daniel Barber

Production companies: Aardman Animations, Rose Hackney Barber

Exposure: National TV

Pizza Hut

Project: Sicilian Pizza

Client: Gary Haigh, marketing director

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Copywriter: Peter Souter

Art director: Paul Brazier

Director: Paul Weiland

Production company: The Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National and European TV

Sony Consumer Products Group

Project: Stamina batteries

Client: Geoff Muge, group marketing communications manager

Agency: BMP DDB

Copywriter: Andy McLeod

Art director: Richard Flintham

Photographer: Steen Sudlan

Exposure: London tube cards


Project: S40 T4

Client: Sarah Buckle, marketing manager

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Copywriter: Peter Souter

Art director: Paul Brazier

Director: Frank Budgen

Production company: Gorgeous

Exposure: National TV