A moderately upbeat start with the Lynx spot. Not the best in the

campaign - slightly overburdened with having to shout 'Shampoo' for that

- but nicely put together. Good to see an ad breaking every rule in the

Haircare Bible though. For that alone they should be rewarded.

Another ad suffering from its ancestry is the BMW 'Luge' spot. These

days you know it's going to be a Bavarian Motor Works film from frame

one. Good for branding but not for the element of surprise. And when

does cool become cold? About here I think. Still, it does look


Luckily the Umbro posters came with credits attached otherwise I

wouldn't have known what they were for. No name.

Just the (I'm told) immediately recognisable logo. These ads aren't

aimed at me so it would be a surprise if I liked them. There's obviously

no product difference to talk about - and I'm not sure what the benefit

of them not making tennis dresses would actually be. So it's back to

being cool. And my guess is they're not quite as cool as they think they

are. But I'm prepared to be wrong.

I like Xfm. I remember when it was the very thing it's now trying not to

be - ie. 'all serious and indie'. Still, the strategy of 'don't be

afraid' is probably right for the slightly more user-friendly version of

the station we have today The ads, I'm afraid, are not so user-friendly.

They're rotten, actually. The acting is particularly awful. Shame.

The bmi british midland ads are sweet enough - nicely observed and so

on. But I'm not sure I'd jump on one of their planes. They say it's the

little touches - but they can be too little. Helping with the crossword

or telling you how to pop your ears isn't exactly extra legroom or a TV

in the back of your seat. The execution where everyone's listening to

the same Eric Clapton track doesn't say a lot for the in-flight

entertainment system, either. One ad has images of the pilot bringing in

a few tapes he's made up at home. Bless. I'm afraid 'The world's

chummiest airline' is not much to hang your hat on. Consequently, these

ads remain on the tarmac.

I have saved the bulk of my vitriol for some old pants from BTinternet.

Where to start. Shot on cheap video, these ads are like You've Been

Framed without the laughs. The premise - 'with rates this cheap you'll

be on the internet so much you'll forget how to walk, blah, blah' - is

as old as it is misguided. Then to raise people's other big fear about

the net - by casting serial killer and child molester lookalikes in all

the key roles - is the icing on the cake. Chuck in a sub-Chumley Warner

voiceover and Bob's your sad uncle.

The saddest thing of all, however, is that with the money they saved on

not hiring a director or proper actors or scriptwriters, they've gone

out and bought an extra VHS and shot about 38 of the buggers. And, yes,

I'm sure there was a real director involved. And I'm sure the team spent

hours painstakingly recreating that 'could have been shot by any idiot'


Well, you succeeded. Apart from poorly crafted work, for which there is

no excuse, more and more I find that the biggest faults often lie in the

thinking behind the work.

To blindly accept a poor brief is, to my mind, as heinous a crime as

writing one. Should the creative department be taking a more active role

in the process? Chance would be a fine thing.

I'm afraid one product of the ludicrously short lead times and

increasing demand for multiple routes is the death of 'thinking time'.

When you're working against the clock, asking everyone to 'hold on a

minute - are we sure this is right?' does not make you Mister Popular.

Yet when the ads stink and some fat bastard gives it a kicking in

Private View, suddenly all eyes are on the creative department.

It's popular to state that we're all creative, and that anyone can have

an idea. Very true, I'm sure. But we're the ones who have to do it on a

daily basis. Don't let the bastards grind you down.


Project: Anytime

Client: Stephen Brown, head of marketing

Brief: For a simple monthly payment, you can enjoy unlimited surfing

with no worries

Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Writer: Mike Nicholson

Art director: Daryl Corps

Director: Jeff Stark

Production company: Outsider

Exposure: National TV


Project: 'Luge'

Clients: Phil Horton, marketing director; Nick Hart, brand

communications manager

Brief: Launch the new BMW X5 as a 4x4 with on-road performance par


Agency: WCRS

Writer: Steve Little

Art director: Andy Dibb

Director: Selby

Production company: Godman

Exposure: National and satellite TV


Project: Brand campaign

Client: Martin Prothero, head of marketing

Brief: Aggressively restate Umbro's dedication to football

Agency: Fallon

Writer: Andy McLeod

Art director: Richard Flintham

Typographer: James Townsend

Photographer: Mark Polybank

Exposure: Outdoor and press


Project: Relaunch of bmi british midland

Client: John Morgan, marketing director

Brief: Brand bmi as owning civil aviation, differentiating through the

humour and humanity of their service

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Nick Gill

Art director: Nick Gill

Director: Barney Cokeliss

Production company: Godman

Exposure: National and satellite TV


Project: Launch of Lynx haircare

Client: Patrick Cairns, marketing director

Brief: Launch Lynx shampoo

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: George Prest

Art director: Johnny Leathers

Director: Fredrick Bond

Production company: Harry Nash

Exposure: European TV


Project: Xfm radio

Client: Charlotte Soussan, head of marketing

Brief: Challenge non-listeners' preconceived ideas of Xfm

Agency: Quiet Storm

Creative team: Trevor Robinson and Becky Clarke

Director: Trevor Robinson

Production company: Quiet Storm

Exposure: Satellite TV, cinema