The commercials for Shape and Go Ahead! are remarkably similar in

their intent; both try to persuade us that low in fat needn't

necessarily mean low-in-appetite appeal. Both make their case by

parodying cliches of human behaviour: black men who can't dance, (Go

Ahead!) and jack-the-lads who fancy themselves (Shape). But by making a

target out of men, the real target audience is women. Hardly a surprise

when a recent survey claims at any given moment in time 70 per cent of

women are on some kind of diet.

Given their birth by twin strategy, the result is two sadly unrelated

offspring. As crude as the Shape ads sometimes appear with their

burping, crotch-scratching women, Jeff Stark's deftness with performance

and wry slyness of direction carry off the pastiche of women behaving

badly with a beguiling charm and revealing accuracy.

As light and understated as the Shape films are, their ugly sister Go

Ahead! is visually lumpen and limping under the weight of too much

voice-over. Just take two eating shots as a comparison. In Shape a woman

literally devours the product - straight from the four pack, licking the

rim and her fingers into the bargain. What seems revolting on paper on

screen is pure enjoyment. In Go Ahead!, a woman nibbles camply at the

product, champagne in hand and a snoring baldy beside her in bed. Pure

Whitehall farce.

Waitrose is part of the John Lewis group and John Lewis is my favourite

store. There's something about its solid, hard-working dependability

that gives it the quiet warmth of an old friend. These ads capture that

timeless note very well. Firmly anchored in fact ("We know every farm,

every farmer that supplies every pint of milk", or: "We've won more

major wine awards than all the other supermarkets put together"), they

nonetheless combine Stuart Douglas's luxuriant photography and classic

tracks from UB40 and Otis Redding to impressive effect. Like Waitrose,

no prizes, but quality every time.

Mother, like Dom Jolly, is either right on the money or misses by a


And like Trigger Happy TV, Mother's Alive work relies on overblown

surrealism to make its point, a point in my opinion it sadly fails to

drive home.

The notion is intriguing: alive is ... my haircut ... my bedroom ... me

beating asthma.

But when the conclusion is "Alive is also a chuggable drink", it all

seems to be a rather tortured absurdist play on the name. For some

reason the agency has never had the fabulous success with Coca-Cola (who

make Alive) that they conjured up for Batchelors or Harvey Nic's.

Perhaps than says more about the Coca- Cola Corporation that it does

about Mother.

I drink a lot of Ame and while I love its flavour, I sympathise with any

agency trying to describe it. Here they've taken the bold art

directional route of the Japanese hieroglyph. These appear to spell out

the message but are in fact drawings illustrating the line. For example

"Samurai say man who drink Ame not lose head", is accompanied by a

pictogram of a body with his head at his feet. The art direction is

clean and noticeable but, as Ame has previously implied a European

provenance, isn't all this oriental imagery a bit misleading?

I don't like the London Transport Museum's posters, mainly because I

simply couldn't understand what they meant by "Be Moved". But having

consulted my children, my wife, my niece and her boyfriend I see that

I'm in a minority of one. They thought the ads really stood out down the

tube, found the baby with its spaghetti transmuted to a tube map amusing

and clever, and even liked the sofa upholstered in tube fabric. So well

done. (See, sometimes a Private View isn't really that private at



Project: Alive

Client: Charlotte Oades, marketing director

Brief: Launch Alive

Agency: Mother

Writer: Mother

Art director: Mother

Director: Ringan Ledwidge

Production company: Harry Nash

Exposure: National TV


Project: McVitie's Go Ahead!

Client: Mark Carden, marketing general manager

Brief: Talk about the taste of Go Ahead!

Agency: Publicis

Writer: Ross Jameson

Art directors: Stephen Pipe

Director: Mark Story

Production company: Cowboy Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: London Transport Museum

Client: Claire Ingham, head of marketing

Brief: A visit to the London Transport Museum is a more involving

experience than you can imagine

Agency: Partners BDDH

Creatives: James Leigh and Darren Giles

Typographer: Andy Breese

Photographer: Slater King

Exposure: 4-sheet posters on the London Underground


Project: Waitrose

Client: Amanda Bindon, head of marketing

Brief: Waitrose wants you to enjoy quality food at an honest price

Agency: Banks Hoggins O'Shea FCB

Writer: Chris O'Shea

Art director: Ken Hoggins

Director: Stuart Douglas

Production company: FourHundred Films

Exposure: TV (London and the south)


Project: Shape relaunch

Client: Tony Lucas, marketing director

Brief: Bring Shape up to date with today's eating habits and attitudes

to low fat

Agency: HHCL & Partners

Creatives: Caroline Hampstead, Remco Graham, Chas Bayfield and Jim


Creative director: John Parkin

Director: Jeff Stark

Production company: Stark Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: Ame

Client: Britvic

Brief: Give the brand a positioning and personality

Agency: Barrett Cernis

Copywriters: Patrick Collister and Gideon Todes

Art director: Ray Barrett

Typographers: Alison Carmichael and Andy Dymock

Exposure: Press and posters

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