Is it just me or is our industry taking a rather simplistic view of brand-building on behalf of our e-commerce clients?

Is it just me or is our industry taking a rather simplistic view of

brand-building on behalf of our e-commerce clients?

’Right squire, what’s the name of your dotcom caper then?’

’Boxman. We sell CDs and videos ...’

’Wait a minute. Boxman? Boxman? Box-man ... man ... box. Got it!


Of course, I’m condensing months of careful planning, research and

creative endeavour into a couple of hypothetical sentences, but are we

as a business in danger of confusing name registration with branding?

These posters are striking, even witty, and the concept itself has a

no-nonsense, Ronsealesque muscularity about it. But Boxman is not

exactly first to market with the idea of selling CDs online. Are they

faster, cheaper and safer than Amazon?

I spend Mark Wnek’s mortgage on CDs every week, for chrissakes, and I

want to know. So far, the man with his head in a box is saying nothing


About 18 months ago every sixth script written in London started with

the words ’Open on Johnny Vaughan ...’ Then the talented Johnny signed

for Strongbow and I guess we’ll never know what might have been. He’s

certainly been good business for the cidermaker and that’s what counts,

but the campaign has hardly been a stretch for him.

This latest commercial starts with a pastiche of ’whispering Dave

Attenborough’ in the gorillas’ jungle camp and ends up with camp

gorillas in Johnny Vaughan’s jungle apartment. The animatronics are

terrific. But the script.

Well, put it this way, ’Dr Loafingstone, I presume’ made it into the

final cut. Or, to put it another way, Campaign made it Pick of the


The script was the best thing about last year’s British Airways

commercial featuring PJ O’Rourke. Funny, perceptive, grown-up, original

and persuasive.

I was so impressed I bought a ticket. Sadly, this time PJ is reduced to

a walk-on, or rather shuffle-on, part as he joins the long queue (must

be Fastrack!) of historical movers and shakers in BA’s latest corporate

blockbuster. While there is a sort of anorakish pleasure in playing spot

the celeb, this ad lacks the sheer chutzpah of a ’Manhattan’ or


One of the problems lies in the descending significance of BA’s former

clients, from ’Men who shaped history’ to ’Men who’d be pushed to make

the panel of They think it’s all Over’. Official carrier to Winston

Churchill is one thing but when you get down to Damon Hill you begin to

feel that BA’s claim to be the prime mover of these shakers might also

be diminishing.

Saatchi & Saatchi opens its stint at the crease for Sony with a pretty

straight bat. Yoof gets trollied into ER only to be brought back from

the dead by thrash metal noise downloaded off the net via his Memory


For the best use of music in a life-and-death hospital drama situation,

might I direct you to Levi’s ’doctors’ made about four years ago by FCB

San Francisco? Why not give Rooney Carruthers a ring now and demand a


Hilton would like us to think it’s had that Philippe Starck in for a

makeover and changed from bland international chain into chill-out zones

for corporate warriors. A place where Life Commandos go to get a


Jeff Goldblum fronts this pitch and no-one does Jeff like Jeff. It’s

just that Jeff does rather a lot. If he’d booked a room on his iMac and

ordered a Holsten Pils on room service, maybe these two previous

employers would have divvied up the production budget.

A budget of biblical proportions meets a story of biblical origin in

Reuters’ account of how a latter-day Noah corners the inflatable boat

market thanks to its information systems. It’s got drowning animals.

It’s got toothless Chinese crones. It’s got plenty of water. The

director fills his boots.


Project: Hilton

Client: Mike Ashton, vice-president marketing, UK

Brief: In an increasingly frantic world, Hilton puts back what life

takes out

Agency: The Morgan Partnership

Creative team: Ian Dingwall, David Solomons, Angus Walker

Director: Devon Dicksons

Production company: Rogue Films

Exposure: National TV and cinema


Project: Memory Stick Walkman

Client: Barbara Haase, director, marketing communications Europe

Brief: Take Sony customers beyond the frontiers of entertainment

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Dave Hillyard

Art director: Ed Robinson

Director: Dominic Murphy

Production company: Blink

Exposure: National TV


Project: 21st century air travel

Client: Gillian Manaton, general manager, marketing services

Brief: The airline that led 20th century air travel will continue to

lead 21st century air travel

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writers: Simon Dicketts and Jeremy Sinclair

Art directors: Simon Dicketts and Jeremy Sinclair

Director: Chris Palmer

Production company: Gorgeous

Exposure: National TV


Project: Strongbow

Client: Annie Neil, marketing manager

Brief: Dramatise Strongbow as the perfect loafer’s pint

Agency: TBWA GGT Simons Palmer

Writer: Alan Moseley

Art director: Graham Cappi

Director: Daniel Kleinman

Production company: Spectre

Exposure: National TV


Project: Reuters

Client: Marcus Ferrar, director of brand communications

Brief: Show how private investors can benefit when they act on market

information from Reuters

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Simon Learman

Art director: Brian Fraser

Director: Jake Scott

Production company: RSA Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: Boxman

Client: Rob Marcus, managing director

Brief: Launch Boxman in the UK

Agency: Mother

Writer: Mother

Art director: Mother

Typographer: Mother

Photographer: Alexei Hayle

Exposure: Outdoor


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