It's Valentine's month. It used to only last a day, but, like

Christmas, the preparations start earlier every year, so that by the

time the big day arrives, only a visitor from planet Zog could claim

ignorance of the most romantic date in the calendar. Or of the absolute

necessity of confirming your undying love on that day with a bunch of

colourful foliage. Such is the power of marketing.

No-one has a bigger stake in this market than Interflora, for whom

Valentine's Day is probably as important as Christmas to a Norfolk

turkey farmer - only without the giblets. Theirs was a brief to set even

the most hardened creative heart all of a flutter: remind people that

their relationship could be immeasurably improved with a quick phone

call or visit to the Interflora website. So what did they come up with?

'Tit elation' and 'Floral sex'. Now, I know that there is a connection

between giving good foliage and receiving carnal favours, but I ask you.

They'll be offering a guaranteed shag on all purchases over £30


Still unrequited, it's on to the week's big film. Big, at least, in

terms of budget and length (90 seconds). The Lloyds/TSB ad has lots of

famous people - some so newly famous I didn't recognise them - who have

all been asked a rather tortuous question: 'If you could bank a precious

moment (or a taste or a smell etc.), what would it be?' There then

follows a kind of Desert Island discs with visuals as they tell us. At

the end, the voice-over says: 'If you could bank with one bank we'd like

it to be us.' I'm sure they would. The trouble is, they haven't given me

one single persuasive reason to do so. 'We have a lot of little

improvements for this year' continues the voice, but unfortunately it

never tells us what those might be. One little improvement would be to

stop advertising unless, or until, there is a clear, differentiating

customer benefit to communicate.

I must admit to having a soft spot for Audi. It has produced a

succession of beautifully wrought cars and the agency has wisely

followed in that slipstream, focusing on design as the single most

important thing to say about the brand. In this TV spot, lots of

different engine and body parts move around to music, eventually

assembling into the new Audi A4. Unlike the press advertising, which

compares various Audis favourably with great pieces of design from

around the world, this ad seems somehow to reduce the sum by

concentrating on the parts. Although the music builds to a heroic

finish, I'm still left with the unsatisfactory feeling that the ad could

have been made for almost any car brand.

When it comes to design, Adidas makes a stronger case, by saying much

less. On the face of it, they're both attempting the same thing, albeit

in different media. But the Adidas ads are fascinating pieces of design

in their own right, which makes the brand appear desirable without being

over-anxious to impress.

It's a brave advertiser who gives you a hero/presenter who is a totally

unappealing character. But that's what the Children's Tax Credit ads


We see a pushy parent berating all the other parents at the school bus

queue for not doing the right thing for their kids by getting their tax

credit entitlements. It's not exactly a heartwarming experience, but it

is a very effective piece of communication and, as intended, I

sympathised with the kid with the embarrassingly loud dad.

Sometimes you see a commercial which you hope will become a long-running

campaign, not just because it's good but because you can see lots of

other, possibly even better, ads in the idea. Cravendale milk had this


It's shot like a suspense thriller, and I watched, fascinated, as a herd

of cows tracks a shopper back to his flat. The tension mounts until the

final denouement and endline: 'So good, the cows want it back.' Now

that's what I call 'Tit elation'.

Arla Foods

Project: Cravendale Purfiltre

Client: Claire Huntington, senior brand manager

Brief: Cravendale Purfiltre is the best tasting fresh milk you can drink

Agency: BMP DDB

Writer: Tim Charlesworth

Art director: Mike Kaplan

Director: Jason Smith

Production company: The Artists Company

Exposure: London-based TV

COI Communications

Project: Children's Tax Credit

Client: Inland Revenue/COI Communications

Brief: Urge families to apply for the new tax credit that comes into

force from April

Agency: St Luke's

Writer: Tom Childs

Art director: Ed Morris

Director: Nick Jones

Production company: Rogue

Exposure: National TV


Project: St Valentine campaign

Client: Helena Bissett, head of brand marketing

Brief: Open a dialogue with men that will encourage them to send flowers

with Interflora

Agency: The Company

Writer: Will Marston

Art director: Darren Hill

Typographer: Peter Staples

Illustrator: Darren Hill

Exposure: National press, lads' magazines, gay press


Project: Lloyds/TSB

Client: Ford Ennals, director of group marketing

Brief: Build on the emotional power of 'What can we do to help you live

your life?'

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Writer: Kes Gray

Art director: Dennis Willison

Director: Mike Stephenson

Production company: Paul Weiland Film Company

Exposure: National and satellite TV


Project: Audi A4

Client: Rawdon Glover, head of marketing

Brief: Demonstrate the holistic design approach to the new Audi A4

Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Writer: Nick Gill

Art director: Nick Gill

Director: Malcolm Venville

Production company: Therapy Films

Exposure: National TV and cinema


Project: Adidas

Client: Neil Simpson, global advertising director

Brief: Communicate authentic Adidas product credentials to a

style-conscious audience

Agency: Bluesource

Writer: Leigh Marling

Art director: Mark Tappin

Image makers: Lost in Space, Kam Tang, James Dimmock

Typographer: Mark Tappin

Exposure: European style press


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