"Been done before, love. 'Zap'em' fly spray, Australia 1988.

Shortlisted at Cannes."

How many teams have had their precious ideas reduced to dust by the

encyclopedic recall of their creative director? Just how many truly

original ideas are left? Is it possible to create wholly original

advertising any more?

I pondered these questions as I looked through this week's


Take the two new MG Rover commercials. The first is a tirade against

political correctness and the Nanny State. A cracking target for some

truly insightful and edgy thinking. This makes a good job of it, and I

particularly like ending on the MG cigarette lighter. ("Naughty," our

hero says with a twinkle in his eye.) The trouble is, as soon as he says

"Don't do this, don't do that, don't break the rules", I am immediately

reminded of the brilliant Independent commercial. (Cannes Grand Prix,


The second features a spectacular security van robbery. A man having

coffee in a shop window witnesses the whole scene. But when he is hauled

in to identify the driver, he can't. Why? He only had eyes for the

getaway car: "Metallic paint, alloy wheels ..." May I remind you of the

"Hey, there's a yellow one" Volkswagen print campaign? (Cannes gold,


Three Fanta commercials feature people who are transfixed when they see

the colour orange, and rush to lick it, whatever "it" might be.

Momentarily confused by the disappointing taste (of a workman's

fluorescent safety jacket, for example), they spy the true object of

their desires, a can of Tango. Whoops, I mean Fanta. And there lies the

problem - they look and feel like a Tango commercial, but not as


Clarks has had consistently original advertising over the years. This

features a kid in an office who runs rings round the adults with help

from his digipad (handheld digital thingy) available for only £4.99 with Bootleg Shoes at Clarks. A respectable job on a difficult

promotion brief.

"You never forget a visit to the theatre," claims the Edinburgh

International Festival. The campaign features stock shots of oldies with

"funny" call out captions. Now where have I seen stock shots with

humorous captions before? Where do I begin? Unfortunately, these do not

have the benefit of art direction. They have been whacked on to the

computer for an easy fix and suffer for it.

I've been staring at the Sky Sports poster for some time now, trying to

work out whether I've seen the idea before. But perhaps somebody will

tell me what the idea is first.

"Buy (insert product name here) or we'll shoot this puppy." As seen in a

thousand art students' portfolios. The same blackmail idea lies behind

the new campaign for Heineken. But I don't care; this is brilliant. Each

commercial starts with a singing and sequined Paul Daniels and adds on

more and more excruciating celebrities (Peter Stringfellow, Vanessa

Feltz, Jimmy Hill, Tamara Beckwith, etc.) with the threat that unless

its sales go up, Heineken will keep running the commercials. We are

ultimately rewarded with the spectacle of them all being eaten alive by

lions. It is the freshest and funniest campaign I've seen for ages, and

applause should go not just to the agency but also to the stars for

having the guts to laugh at themselves.

I can't wait for Heineken sales to go down again so that it can run a

new series featuring, say, Nicholas Parsons, Loyd Grossman, Janet

Street-Porter, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Carol Smillie, Ainsley Harriott,

Trevor Beattie, Anne Widdecombe ...


Project: Heineken

Client: Iain Newell, marketing manager

Brief: Get Heineken talked about this summer

Agency: Lowe Lintas

Writer: Tony Barry

Art director: Damon Collins

Director: Chris Palmer

Production company: Gorgeous Enterprises

Exposure: National and satellite TV


Project: MG Rover 25 "Oddball Run"

Client: Steve Robertson, UK marketing director

Brief: Introduce the Rover 25 Impression as a car with excellent

performance, good value for money and personality

Agency: M&C Saatchi

Writer: Ted Heath

Art director: Paul Angus

Directors: Liam Kan and Grant Hodgson

Production company: Great Guns

Exposure: National TV


Project: Edinburgh International Festival

Client: Joanna Baker, marketing director

Brief: Use the theatre programme as a tool to promote the Festival

Agency: 1576 Advertising

Writer: Mark Davies

Art director: Ruth Yee

Photographer: Colin Gray

Exposure: Posters and press


Project: New football season

Client: Scott Menneer, marketing director

Brief: Invoke the passion of Sky's Premiership coverage

Agency: Bates UK

Writer: Andy McGuiness

Art director: Dick Dunford

Photographer: James Cotier

Exposure: National outdoor and press


Project: Fanta

Client: Dave Tucker, head of youth brands

Brief: Rejuvenate the brand by making it credible to teens

Agency: Soul

Writer: Ben Steiner

Art director: Oliver Pugh

Director: Kevin Thomas

Production company: Thomas Thomas Films

Exposure: National TV


Project: Bootleg shoes

Client: Ted Hart, kids' advertising manager

Brief: Reinforce the coolness and credibility of the Bootleg brand among

eight- to 11-year-olds

Agency: St Luke's

Writer: Tom Childs

Art director: Ed Morris

Director: James Griffiths

Production company: Academy Productions

Exposure: National TV