If you only have ten seconds of airtime, don’t be too ambitious.

If you only have ten seconds of airtime, don’t be too


Just say what you have to, use as few words as possible, film it simply,

keep the editing to a minimum and get out quick before you bugger it


Like the Harrods ads. They just tell you what you can buy at Harrods,

cut. Eighteen times. And for my money this is much better than taking 30

seconds with the proposition of ’there are lots of new things to buy at

Harrods’. With 18 ads they become their own evidence. Now, you’ll find

this bit really, really useful, so take note. You can buy cashmere

hot-water bottles on the ground floor. Told you. Christmas wrapped up


Not much else you can say about them. A job well done x 18.

On to another ten-second campaign. This time for HP Beans. They go like

this. Girlfriend: ’You don’t talk to me any more.’ Boyfriend (eating

beans and watching telly): ’Great beans.’ As little beer gags to go

alongside a funny 30- or 40-second spot they’d be OK. Problem is, this

isn’t beer and there is no funny 30- or 40-second spot to go alongside

them. If I am going to believe HP Beans are a great brand I need to see

some brand values. You know the sort of thing, charm, wit and general

cleverness. In short, all the things these spots are missing.

And all the things you’re not going to get in ten seconds anyway. Facing

Heinz, the client at least should have realised 30 seconds was needed to

engage in any sort of battle.

I’m afraid the Paxo commercial doesn’t taste any better. Worse, this is

30 seconds, so there really is no excuse. A mum on the telephone is

trying to get her offspring to come round for Sunday lunch. She succeeds

through sheer manipulation, feigning distress, upset and God knows


I can only assume the agency used the same tactics to sell the


After all, Paxo can’t be adding that much to Sunday lunch if you have to

go to these lengths to get anyone round to eat it. A shame, Paxo used to

buy very good work, the last of which I remember was ’rekindle your love

for chicken’. Though it was about ten years ago.

Going back a bit further, in the style of the 50s public information

posters we have these public information posters. You could call that

synergy. You could also call it a bit of a mess. It’s a pity the retro

art direction didn’t stretch as far as the copy at the bottom, which

looks very Macintosh to me. And I don’t mean Charles Rennie. They are on

behalf of the NHS and, to be fair, they stand out and the message,

’antibiotics don’t work on colds and flu’, is clear enough. Having said

that, I wonder if there isn’t a stronger campaign in not wasting your

doctor’s precious time.

A woman is lost without her So is the client, judging by

this. Heading for some kind of record, the logo makes an appearance no

less than five times. The girl in the ad is unquestionably lost. But is

it because she’s stuck on a hill, map-less, with not even the sun to

guide her?

Or, because she has absolutely crap dress sense? Either way, let’s hope

that can

point her in the general direction of a decent shop.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t laugh at ads. Occasionally you see

something that makes you smile. Not a big smile. A small inward smile is

what we’re talking about. After all, this is advertising, not


Comedy is the business of laughter. We’re in the business of inward


And this business of inward smiles is bloody hard. It’s so difficult to

achieve that it happens, maybe, annually. So when you see something so

good, so worthy of that little inward smile, there goes with it warm

congratulations to all concerned.

Now where was I heading? Oh yes, the McDonald’s ad. I laughed out



Project: Antibiotics

Client: Penny Dolby, chief publicity officer

Brief: Change patients’ perceptions of antibiotics

as a generic cure-all for simple coughs, colds and most sore throats

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Writer: Roland Hefenrichter

Art director: Nils Andersson

Typographer: Steve O’Leary Illustrator: Barry Cradock

Exposure: National and women’s press, 6-sheets


Project: My Kind of Town

Client: John Hawkes, chief marketing officer

Brief: n/s

Agency: Leo Burnett Writer: Jonathan Budds

Art director: Anita Davis

Director: Chris Palmer Production company: Gorgeous Enterprises

Exposure: National TV


Project: Harrods

Client: Andrew Wiles, press and advertising director

Brief: Convince Londoners of the breadth of merchandise on offer at


Agency: Leagas Delaney Writer: Tim Delaney

Art director: Tim Delaney

Director: Charlie Stebbings Production company: Park Village

Exposure: Carlton, Channel 4 London, Sky


Client: Alicen Stenner, head of marketing

Brief: Launch, the most relevant and useful site for British

women online

Agency: J. Walter Thompson Writer: Steve Clarke

Art director: Joanna Mawtus

Photographer: Perry Ogden Exposure: National press

and 6-sheets

Centura Foods

Project: Paxo

Client: Jonathon Gatward, group product manager

Brief: Increase frequency of usage through associating Paxo with special

family meals

Agency: Advertising Brasserie Writers: Dave Sheldon, Liz Waldron

Art directors: Dave Sheldon, Liz Waldron

Director: Dave Sheldon Production company: Advertising Brasserie

Exposure: National TV

HL Foods

Project: HP Beans

Client: Yvonne Adam, marketing manager

Brief: Position HP Beans as beans with attitude for people with attitude

Agency: Willox Ambler Rodford Law Writer: Alan Rodford

Art director: Tommy Adkins

Director: Lucy Blakstad Production company: Brave Films

Exposure: Ad breaks in the

Big Breakfast and TFI Friday

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