MOST TALKED ABOUT

Good advertising that creates a word-of-mouth buzz is not always a masterpiece of creative excellence, although certain techniques offer a better chance of success.

Good advertising is about creating talk value - the sort of work which creates a buzz from the bar to the bus stop. Yet while there are certain techniques which can be deployed, be it the use of a celebrity actor or director, nothing can guarantee that you'll be the talk of the town. And more often than not, the work which captures the public's imagination, is the sort which we in the industry would not necessarily hail as a masterpiece of creative excellence.

The following five commercials are being talked about for a variety of reasons. The Johnnie Walker ad has been generating interest ever since it emerged that Martin Scorsese was to be the star and Tony Scott the director. It was a coup for Bartle Bogle Hegarty to secure both, and was a clever move in that it allowed them access to Scorsese's back catalogue of films, without coming up against credit and clearance contracts.

A campaign for Musco Olives is generating a lot of interest in the US. The ads, which feature surreal scenarios, filmic visuals and an offbeat strategy, helped secure director Bob Kerstetter the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials award at last month's Directors Guild of America Awards.

Next up, a cheeky and amusing ad for car rental and flight company e-Sixt but one which provoked an outcry in its native Germany. It seems the residents of Fulda failed to see the funny side when their town was depicted as the country's ugliest.

Jung von Matt capitalised on the controversy and in answer to everyone's question, "Why Fulda?" invented a story involving the creative director Oliver Voss, who claimed he was getting revenge on the town after a love affair with one of its residents went wrong. The agency then created another ironic ad which depicted a rosy view of Fulda.

There were more than 50 press and TV reports and 60,000 disgruntled residents, but fortunately, the rest of Germany seemed to find the whole debacle rather amusing.

Another celebrity ad which has proved very popular in the US stars Ed McMahon. Almost 30 years on the The Tonight Show, his own talent search show, Star Search, have made him a cultural icon in the US. In the campaign, McMahon goes door-to-door, encouraging people to participate in neighbourhood watch programmes. The government measure was prompted by 11 September, but the agency thought humour and a lovable figure was the best means of tackling the brief rather than a serious or worthy approach.

Finally, the public and the industry is raving about BBH's Xbox ads. As one creative director says: "There is a genuine philosophical depth to this piece revealing a remarkable advertiser that holds its consumers in genuinely high esteem and deserves the same in return."

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