Imagine you’re a particle physicist, perhaps, and your daughter wants to be an art director. You’ve no idea what they do, so you pick up her Campaign and browse.

Imagine you’re a particle physicist, perhaps, and your daughter wants to

be an art director. You’ve no idea what they do, so you pick up her

Campaign and browse.

An item joyfully announces a campaign ‘that uses shoes as characters in

the story of the birth of Jesus’. The accompanying text cheerfully adds

that it follows last year’s ‘shoeicide’ campaign. Another caption

chortles: ‘A man in a yellow latex suit is chased through a landscape of

giant puddings.’ What can you do but hope she finds something normal?

The Moonies, for example.

Is this the merry bent that endless years in the business have put on

our objectivity, so that now we advertising people are so happy

frolicking in a paranormal dimension of our own surreal invention that

we see nothing odd about a man being abused by puddings or Mary Magdalen

being played by a red stiletto? I do hope so. It’s my sort of world, and

I like it.

Now I’ve seen the pudding commercial for Bird’s Custard and found,

gleefully, that not only does it make sense but it seems perfectly

normal. With a soundtrack featuring globbing noises, it sums up custard

precisely and it is, perversely, eccentrically charming. Deep joy. We’re

obviously completely barking.

Emirates, however, appears normal, which makes it weird now given all

the things you’re forced to do for emergent national airlines in

international campaigns: testimonials from people you’ve never heard of,

treacly voiceovers and over-cranked close-ups of doe-eyed hostesses.

Dreams are at the heart of the new Peugeot 406 commercial. It’s a high-

octave and addictive film, but I do think that its genuinely different

and fascinating idea of visualising the myriad of thoughts that go

through the average person’s mind has been sadly betrayed.

‘The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,’ Thoreau said, and

he’s bloody right. But, according to this film, our daily thoughts are

filled not with trivial checklists and petty fears and squabbles but

heroics and excitement and, contrary to mine and Freud’s experience,

very little sex. So the dramatisation of what we really think has been

turned into a fiction - a merely better than average commercial claiming

Peugeots are cars fit only for heroes. A curious niche market.

But it’s a depressing fact that the most recalled car commercial of the

past ten years is the materially expensive but creatively cheap ‘Takes

your breath away’ Peugeot 405 ad. These launches are designed simply to

make a noise. Hence the life-embracing theme, long time length and high

drama, and, ultimately, I’ll bet that Peugeot dealers will be far too

busy shifting metal to agonise over my limp-wristed sibilances.

Kellogg’s commercials have always featured bright, bland mornings and

even brighter, blander people. They’ve moved on, commendably, and Hot

Krumbly is the sort of well-executed, knock-about costume drama you’d

normally associate with Collett Dickenson Pearce/Lowe Howard-Spink.

Unfortunately, the Scottish accents are so broad that there were bits of

dialogue I couldn’t understand, so I missed the point.

The second most interesting thing about the Stena posters is the ferry

itself. What makes it so smooth? The most interesting thing is the

unashamed rip-off in the ‘Belfastest’ execution of an idea we’ve seen at

least twice already, most famously for British Airways.

Oxfam has decided it should treat its outlets like any other retailer

and come up with a series of posters which, given their style, the

product and Oxfam’s prices, simply cannot fail. A fine execution of a

good piece of thinking.

Finally, returning to how others view us, Allen Ginsberg summed up

advertising as ‘the nitro-glycerine shrieks of the fairies of Madison

Avenue’. Nice writing - but it won’t get him on the D&AD jury.

Kellogg Company of Great Britain

Project: Hot Krumbly

Client: Mark Baynes, senior marketing manager

Brief: Launch Hot Krumbly

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Writer: Andrew Singleton

Art director: Jono Wardle

Director: Paul Arden

Production company: Arden Sutherland-Dodd

Exposure: National and Sky TV

Stena Line

Project: Stena Line

Client: John Govett, sales and marketing director

Brief: Relaunch the brand under its new name, Stena Line

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Writer: Bruce Menzie

Art director: Simon Brotherson

Photographer: Robert Dowling

Typographer: Andrew Ross

Exposure: National 48-sheet posters


Project: Emirates

Client: Geraldine Lowe, group advertising manager

Brief: Announce an award-winning airline to an international audience

Agency: Butterfield Day Devito Hockney

Writer: Derek Day

Art director: Mick Devito

Director: Fatima

Production company: Tomboy Films

Exposure: Global TV


Project: Peugeot 406

Client: Tod Evans, commercial director

Brief: Launch the Peugeot 406

Agency: Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper

Writer: Mark Wnek

Art director: Nigel Rose

Director: Peter Smillie

Production company: Smillie Films/Marina Usher Associates

Exposure: National TV

Kraft Jacobs Suchard

Project: Bird’s Custard

Client: Malcolm Kerr, marketing director

Brief: Persuade light users of Bird’s Custard to eat it more often

Agency: Ogilvy and Mather

Writer: Adam Denton

Art director: Andy Fairless

Director: Chris Palmer

Production company: Gorgeous Productions

Exposure: Regional TV


Project: Oxfam

Client: Paul Clifford, marketing manager

Brief: Raise money through Oxfam shops

Agency: Leo Burnett

Writer: Ben Walker

Art director: Mat Gooden

Photographers: Pamela Hanson (hats), Michael Roberts (overcoat), Platon

(60s prices)

Typographer: Trevor Slabber

Exposure: Style and fashion press