Creative partner, Creature London
"Name someone famous who has got a much more successful older brother," I shout across the office. "Why?" comes the unhelpful slap back. "I’m looking for a slightly tedious and perhaps unfair metaphor for this week’s Private View," I (sort of) say. "You’re doing Private View?!" the precocious oiks shout back. "Oh, forget it. Ralf Schumacher will do." And so begins this highly thought out and themed critique.
Southern Comfort’s ballsy, isn’t it? I just wonder if they’ve got their knackers too much on show in this one. Just like its older brother (that fat bloke walking down a beach in Speedos), it opts for a bold, unapologetically simple piece of film that sets out to express the feeling of drinking Southern Comfort. But, unlike its brother, it’s a bit contrived and leaves me a little unfulfilled. I do love what they’re trying for, though, and I reckon the next spot in this campaign will be knockout.
These daft Tango spots are fun and definitely a return to form, but I’m sure I’m not the first prick to needle on about this ad’s older brother. Hyperbolising the catalytic qualities of brand X is a popular conceit of many a carbonated beverage commercial, and Tango does it – or, rather, has done it – famously well. I’m sure 15-year-old stoners from Sheffield will love it, but this 30-odd-year-old cynical prick from Shoreditch can’t help thinking of other fat orange blokes from times gone by.
All I’m left thinking after the Department for Transport ad is that those blokes must have been actors. Right? You’d certainly hope so. Whatever the case, the real impact of this idea is only really felt by the three of them – the poor heart-murmuring buggers. Bringing the drama of a drunken car crash into a pub is a great idea, and one dramatised beautifully in that Leo Burnett spot of years back. But I fear this "filmed stunt" will fall flat on an audience who have had bloody heads rammed through their flat screens more convincingly before.
Harvey Nichols posters have always been great and these are a worthy set of siblings to join the family. There must be a lot of "sale pun" barrel-scrapping throughout the creative department, so hats (and, indeed, heads) off to the agency for once again coming up with something surprising yet effortlessly simple.
This Total Greek Yoghurt ad has had the Guinness treatment and the craft is flawless, right down to the mono dub. But what the hell is going on is anyone’s guess. An old film of a little Greek rascal, a wandering bull, a pointing man, a pathetic butcher and a bowl of peaches. And then a phone-ring twist to reveal it’s actually the present day. Poor old Greece. Just when they think things couldn’t get much worse, a yoghurt comes along and patronises them. As for its older brother… ah, bollocks, these theme things never work anyway.
Co-founder, Lucky Generals
It was Gandhi who said: "Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone’s got them and they’re usually full of shit."
But, fortunately, this week’s collection of ads is really strong, so our sphincters can relax. Or tighten. Whatever the right analogy (there’s another bum joke) is.
OK. Now that we’re all sitting comfortably, here’s an ad on that very theme. It’s the sequel to my favourite commercial of last year, starring that magnificent fat dude strolling along the beach with a glass of Southern Comfort. This spot is set in a hair salon and has a similarly unlikely hero, complete with greying mullet, oversized spectacles and snakeskin boots. Let’s put it this way: he looks more likely to feature in Yewtree than on YouTube. But, as with the original commercial, this quirky casting turns out to be inspired: the guy oozes laid-back charisma and, although there’s hardly any action, the brand’s celebration of "whatever’s comfortable" comes through loud and clear. Here’s to dudes who do nothing (and barbers who serve booze).
Tango is another drink with a hard act to follow. But, again, the new campaign rises to the challenge. The team has gone back to the brand’s roots and come up with a lovely new idea, based on "orange intensity". I say "lovely" but, as with the great Tango ads of yesteryear, there’s something gloriously disturbing about the whole thing: people are turned into raging hulks after one swig of the drink. I reckon the catchphrase "Argh!" will pass into popular culture, not least in other agencies’ creative departments as they realise that Bartle Bogle Hegarty has done it again.
Talking of culture, Total Greek Yoghurt is next. It wants to focus on its heritage and provenance, so has developed a beautifully shot ad that elevates the brand above the category norm. Set in a Greece that is poverty-stricken, chaotic and about to be overtaken by Germans, it’s difficult to argue with the line: "Unchanged since 1926."
On the subject of heritage, here is Leo Burnett’s final ad for the Department for Transport’s Think! campaign. Adland has witnessed some spectacular car crashes over the years (most recently, Santander’s commercial with Jenson Button, which proves that even good drivers can come a cropper in the wrong vehicle). But this campaign has been consistently great and this execution makes a fitting swansong. Set in a pub loo, it shows a succession of young guys checking themselves out in the mirror as they presumably prepare to drive home. Suddenly, bodies crash through the glass, causing the men to recoil and viewers to jump. Introducing a behavioural trigger is smart and I’ll certainly remember it the next time I look in the mirror after a drink or two (at the barbers, say).
Finally, we come to Harvey Nichols. Having done bruised bodies and incontinent models, it’s now time for the boundary-busting retailers to try decapitated fowl. As ever, they make it all look lovely: headless chickens haven’t been this cool since the days of Alice Cooper. I just wonder if this particular idea showcases the product as well as previous campaigns did (as the owner of two hens, I know just how hard it is to dress them up in women’s clothes).
Mind you, that’s just my opinion. And when it comes to fashion advice, I’m the last person you should listen to. OK, maybe the second last, Mahatma.