Welcome to the House of Pain.

Welcome to the House of Pain.

If you can see your ads to the right of this page, look away now. This

isn’t going to be pretty. This week, nothing sings but quite a lot


Some of the least poor are the DfEE spots for working with children.

Now, the thought that if you’re good with children, how about teaching

them, is sound. The execution is a bit old hat though. The ’quick-cut’

audition technique is one of the oldest in the book, dating back to Mel

Brooks’ 60s classic The Producers. It’s dragged out about twice a year,

delivered with various levels of competence. My biggest gripe is that it

makes the task of working with children seem daunting. Perhaps it was

designed to filter out all but the bravest - it wouldn’t encourage those

of a weaker disposition.

The Kingsmill ad features Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, those two ’zany’

girls from Channel 4’s Late Lunch chat show. They’re very cute and

sweet, quite fanciable actually, and they give a good performance. The

plot though is as old as Methuselah - it’s the one where you pretend you

made the pie/soup/pasta/Yorkshire pudding yourself when, in fact, you

bought it at the shops. Hilarious. But again my biggest complaint isn’t

one of unoriginality.

It’s strategic. No-one pretends or even wants to bake their own


So the whole ’tastes just like home-made’ idea is a non-starter.

Home-made bread has the density of a black hole, is as dry as a dead

dingo’s donger and is as equally mis-shapen. People who make bread do it

because they’ve nothing better to do. It’s nothing to be proud of.

Consequently this ad is nonsensical.

Sticking to food, we have the much-maligned Jamie Oliver in the

about-to-be-maligned Sainsbury’s spots. Well, I ask you. Six blokes

staying in while their mate cooks a curry. It doesn’t wash. Food looks

good, though I just don’t believe I could do it and I can cook. The

original ’recipe’ ads used to feature celebs and gave you the belief

that you might be able to give it a crack.

But when it’s a guy who can deseed a chilli, blitz a lime and sautee a

halibut with one hand while sliding down the banister and winning at

Scalextric with the other - well, it’s beyond us mere mortals,


Now the Everest commercial is on a sticky wicket from the word go. It’s

for conservatories, which are universally horrible. I’ve just ripped one

down at no inconsiderable cost. I hate them. You can only use them one

day a year (14 May). The rest of the time it’s either as cold as a meat

locker or hotter than a McDonald’s apple pie. They encourage the

purchasing of cane furniture and the cultivation of spider plants, in

itself enough reason to raze every single man-jack of them to the

ground. The commercial is bland and dull, relying on tricking its

audience by lots of enigmatic statements delivered in a sub-Prudential

manner and makes sense only when you realise they are sitting in their

accursed conservatories.

Ted Moult would be turning in his double-glazed coffin.

The Amazon film came with a note saying that because of its widescreen

format the ad might be ’all squashed up’. Not squashed up enough, I

fear. This one would stink in any format. A Scottish crofter reads out

the brief to a small boy and the commercial ends. That’s it. God knows

what we’re meant to make of it. Before watching this I thought that

Amazon was a pretty cool company. Now I believe it to be run by idiots.

Ah, the power of advertising.

Finally, the mutton dressed as mutton that is the Martini


Essentially, this is Leni Riefenstahl in chinos. Beautiful people bound

around in lovely slow motion. They are all so good looking, they are all

so fit. Yet they drink Martini. Is this post-modern - or is it just the

crappiest kind of lifestyle advertising imaginable? You decide. (Clue:

It’s the crappiest sort of lifestyle advertising imaginable.)


Project: Conservatories

Client: Duncan Bland, marketing director

Brief: Sell Everest conservatories off the screen by illustrating the

benefits of bringing the outside inside

Agency: J. Walter Thompson

Writer: Kieran Knight

Art director: Max Clemens

Director: Graham Wood

Production company: Tomato

Exposure: Channel 4 South


Project: Lads’ night out

Client: Sara Weller, board director of marketing

Brief: Show how easy it is to make a delicious meal at Sainsbury’s

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writers: Peter Souter and Tony Cox

Art director: Ron Brown

Director: Tom Merilion

Production company: RSA

Exposure: National TV


Project: Minutiae of the moment

Client: Chris McDonough, marketing controller

Brief: Return Martini to its light, bright heartland, positioning it as

the world’s most refreshingly optimistic drinks brand

Agency: HHCL & Partners

Writer: Dean Wei

Art director: Mark Howard

Director: Adrian Mote

Production company: RSA

Exposure: National TV


Project: Kingsmill Tasty Crust

Client: Frances Brindle, marketing director

Brief: Communicate the authenticity of Kingsmill’s new product offering

- a sliced crusty loaf

Agency: Publicis

Writer: Andy Wakefield

Art director: Andy Wakefield

Director: Derek Coutts

Production company: BFCS

Exposure: National TV


Project: Childcare recruitment

Client: Max Howard, DfEE campaign manager

Brief: Raise the status of childcare as a challenging, interesting and

enjoyable option

Agency: D’Arcy

Writer: Steve Boswell

Art director: Steve Drysdale

Director: Andy Lambert

Production company: Spectre

Exposure: National TV


Project: Amazon.co.uk

Client: Tom Allchurch, marketing director

Brief: Focus on Amazon.co.uk’s core customer benefits of amazing

selection, fast delivery, convenience and accessibility

Agency: HHCL & Partners

Writer: Rob Clayman

Art director: Stuart Farquhar

Director: Martin Canellakis

Production company: Hungry Man

Exposure: National TV