Only two campaigns have made me genuinely angry in the last few
years: BT - and now BT.
First, there was the egregious Bob Hoskins, his leering intrusions
tolerable for the first three or four executions but increasingly
unwelcome as the media millions clocked up.
(Incidentally, to all those febrile account handlers and planners who
were in uproar on Campaign’s letters page and elsewhere over Tim Mellors
and I demurring from the Hoskins campaign that won the IPA Effectiveness
Awards, could you at least have read what we wrote rather than what you
thought we wrote? For the record, we didn’t say it didn’t work, we
didn’t say it didn’t deserve it - we simply said we didn’t like it.
England have won the Five Nations Championship several times recently
and the results prove they deserve it. But given the game they’ve
played - effective but dull and unsubtle - it has been argued that their
winning is bad for rugby ...)
And now there’s BT Corporate. It used to be said of corporate
advertising: ’It’s like pissing down your leg - nobody knows you’re
doing it but it gives you a nice warm feeling.’ That was when it was
simply a chairman’s pet wheeze for impressing his cronies at the golf
club with a left-over pre-tax million spent on ads about how important
his company really was.
But now, to the unctuous line, ’You are always on our mind’, voiced in
collections of maudlin images lasting, in one case, 90 seconds and
showing what a loveable, enduring and yes, eccentric people we are. BT
is spending millions telling us how many self-serving millions they’ve
given to the nation and its needs.
I work for an advertising agency and I know which side my bread is
But thank you, BT, for reminding me through your saccharine vision that
I am primarily human. Given that you made pounds X billion out of all of
us last year, can I ask that, in future, you give - like most
individuals do - without thought of reward, let alone as part of the
platform for a sanctimonious multi-million pound advertising campaign?
And can I further ask that you put through my call, reduce my charges
and get out of my living room? - or I’ll go straight round to
The style and strategy of the Pentax ads combine fashion and
practicality extremely convincingly. Croft Original may follow many
other alcoholic drinks down the well-worn path from age to youth,
successfully, in my view, given its agreeable photography - although I’d
like more information on how involved women are by images like
Tennent’s and Cadbury’s remind me that there’s always been a language in
advertising that has bugger all to do with everything else that’s going
on around us.
It used to be advertising copy.
In short paragraphs. And shorter sentences. That weren’t. Sentences.
Now it’s in film, in the wacky images, the wackier the better, strung
together often not even to make a narrative, more a sort of notion.
Tennent’s draws the parallel between our predisposition to what a lager
can and can’t be like with the flat earthers’ unshakeable belief in
their version of things, while the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs ad invokes the
future with a rather curious use of Shooting Stars’ George Dawes asking
how we’re going to eat ours. I preferred it when they told me.
Both are done in a rather fussy, posey sort of way and in a filmic
composition and language unseen anywhere outside advertising - stop it,
all of you, it’s not clever and no-one’s interested except you.
Finally, Reader’s Digest urges us not to throw away all those prize draw
envelopes. ’Win it, don’t bin it.’ A clear idea, a neat parody featuring
prize-winning waste bins. I’m doubtful its creators will be threading
their spotlit way to glory through the Grosvenor House tables, but it’s
the best thing in my little bag this week.
Project: Tennent’s SD
Client: Gordon Brown, acting director of brands, Scotland
Brief: Convey the distinct properties of Tennent’s SD as a genuinely
Agency: The Leith Agency
Copywriter: Dougal Wilson
Art director: Gareth Howells
Director: Gerard de Thame
Production company: Gerard de Thame Films Exposure: Terrestrial channels
in Scotland and Ireland
Project: Corporate campaign
Client: Jackie Kavanagh, head of corporate campaigns
Brief: Raise awareness of BT’s success abroad and its contribution to
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Copywriter: Mary Wear
Art director: Damon Collins
Director: Paul Arden
Production company: Arden Sutherland-Dodd
Exposure: National TV
Project: Launch of the Espio 115 Micro
Client: David Cowperthwaite, marketing director
Brief: Introduce the Espio 115m Zoom Compact
Agency: K Advertising
Copywriter: Lisa Thomas
Art director: Dave Scott
Photographer: Adam Whitaker
Typographer: Adam Whitaker
Exposure: Style press
Project: Croft Original Sherry
Client: Tania McLaren, brand manager
Brief: Position Croft as the more modern and accessible sherry for a
Agency: Young and Rubicam
Writer: Leighton Ballett
Art director: Sam Hurford
Photographer: Nadav Kander
Typographer: Chris Tunstall Exposure: Regional (London and South East)
Project: Cadbury’s Creme Eggs
Client: Peter Creighton, marketing controller, gifts and occasions
Brief: Develop the ’How do you eat yours?’ campaign
Copywriters: Michael Burke, Richard Stoney
Art director: John Anderson
Directors: Terrence O’ Connor, Marek Losey
Production company: RSA Films
Exposure: National TV
Project: Prize Draw
Client: Tony Gosling, associate director, magazine circulation
Brief: Increase the number of entries in the prize draw
Agency: Bates Dorland
Copywriter: Chips Hardy
Art director: Lee Goulding
Director: Mark Denton
Production company: Brian Byfield Films
Exposure: National TV.