Greetings from the other side.

Greetings from the other side.

I sit in my office looking out over the orchards of the Stockbury

Valley, white with blossom. Pretty different view from the office I had

before, overlooking the heartland of the British National Party. I’ve

acquired a different perspective on ads too since starting up my own


I worry that agencies are floating ever further downstream. Upstream is

where the big fish swim and where you now find the media independents

and the brand consultancies. Agencies are no longer media neutral,

however much they protest otherwise. They don’t sell ideas, they sell


An increasing number of clients, when they go shopping for a Big Idea

(the sort that will transform their business) are going elsewhere.

That said, the Walkers Crisps campaign is proof there are exceptions to

every rule. If most agencies turn out nice little ads, one or two do

still think big. What could have been a nice little one-off about

ex-footballer Gary Lineker nicking a child’s crisps has run now for nine

years, a dozen executions and in a dozen different countries.

How was BMP DDB rewarded for all this? They got fired. There’s no

justice in this world.

Still, it’s good to see Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO handling the property

with care. Even though this execution is a promotional ad about how to

win a famous footballer for a day, it’s nicely written, nicely shot and

no-one’s buggered about with the core thought. Mr Nice remains

resolutely Mr Nasty. Is that why Walkers remains resolutely number one,

do you think?

What does Lara Croft wear beneath her sweater? A Triumph bra. This spot

is a joy to watch. The music is brilliant, the mood fun and


’Isn’t software amazing?’ enquires the heroine, explaining why she’s

been animated by a computer.

Is there a big idea here? The concept of softwear certainly has a lot of

potential, but to grow it beyond an endline, this nice little idea needs

to have time, trouble and money invested in it. It’s the sort of thought

that could build a factory if someone at Triumph has the vision to go

with it.

Here’s a nice little ad. It’s the Scotland Against Drugs film. Famous

Scots are ’dealing drugs ... a blow’, the football manager Sir Alex

Ferguson among them. If the concept was to invite ideas about finding a

solution to the problem, here’s hoping someone comes up with a big one.

Decriminalising drugs, that would be my suggestion.

The talkSPORT spot is another nice little ad which matches the

personality of the station perfectly. Brash, vulgar and laddish. The

wobbling belly of the overweight navvy is probably the image of the

week. It’s a big ’un. The idea isn’t.

HSBC goes for computer-generated animation too. A cat finds his

litter-tray occupied by another and pines to be able to dump in a place

of his own. HSBC can fix him up with a mortgage. Why cats, for God’s

sake? And crapping cats at that? The product is aimed at the sort of

people who watch This Life but the ad seems to be targeting those who

watch Teletubbies.

The Parker Pens ad makes me wish my pen was a Waterman. Every vignette

is a cliche. In one, a girl grabs her boyfriend by the tie and hauls him

over a table for a snog. For a ballpoint pen? Per-leeese.

So what exactly is a big idea then? It’s connecting with your customers

in such a way that the relationship changes totally. Taking Lucozade

from a drink you had with the flu to energy in a bottle and defining the

AA as the fourth emergency service. These are big ideas that only ad

agencies could have created.

Keep ’em coming like this and you’ll win back your future before zesty,

free-thinking, media-neutral outfits such as Miller-Bainbridge nick it

from you.

Oh, my God. Did I write all that? Only four months out and I’ve gone



Project: HSBC

Client: n/s

Brief: n/s

Agency: St Luke’s

Writer: Seyoan Vela

Art director: Colin Lamberton

Directors: Kuntzel & Deygas

Animation: Nexus

Exposure: National TV


Project: Scotland Against Drugs

Client: Alistair Ramsay, director

Brief: Encourage local communities (businesses and consumers) in

Scotland to get involved with SAD and help set up local initiatives to

give children another option to drugs

Agency: Faulds Advertising

Writer: Billy Mawhinney

Art director: Billy Mawhinney

Director: David Eustace

Production company: MTP

Exposure: Scottish TV


Project: Walkers Crisps

Client: Neil Campbell, vice-president, marketing

Brief: Boost collecting of Books for Schools tokens by offering the five

schools that collect the most tokens a visit from a famous footballer

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Tony Strong

Art director: Mike Durban

Director: Paul Weiland

Production company: Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National TV


Project: Softwear by Triumph

Client: Malcolm Vagg, marketing director

Brief: Support the ’software bra range’ from Triumph

Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren

Writer: Jon Elsom

Art director: Ken Sara

Director: Tim Pope

Production company: Glassworks

Exposure: National cinema


Project: Parker Pens

Client: n/s

Brief: A pen that delivers beyond expectations

Agency: McCann-Erickson

Writer: Meg Rogers

Art director: Matt Lester

Directors: Matt Lester, Michael Schrom

Production company: RSA Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: talkSPORT

Client: Calum Macaulay, marketing director

Brief: Promote talkSPORT’s unique breakfast programme

Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

Writer: Derek Payne

Art director: Richard Dennison

Director: Daryl Goodrich

Production company: Zed Films

Exposure: Sky Sports

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