For me, the ejaculation of Eyjafjallajokull was not a tub-thumping tale of Homeric endeavour. Quite the opposite. It meant all my flights were grounded. But it meant that I could judge D&AD as originally planned. For once, a cloud really did have a silver lining. Now I don't know about you, but I always find I go into that sort of judging thing brimming with a spirit of creative camaraderie, but by about half-an-hour in, my generosity evaporates and my judgment gets harder and harder. So I come straight from there. To this.
I launch the Nigella Quick Collection (5) app. App is the new viral, isn't it? Everybody wants one and the more mashed-up your GPS, augmented reality, QR code, social media and image recognition, the better. As the technoblizzard clears, the most important thing to consider is who it's aimed at and how useful it is. Seventy recipes from the lovely Nigella will absolutely sate her audience. Its features are derived from genuine insights as well, such as voice commands to let you turn the pages so you don't get your iPhone sticky.
Clearly some of the Shreddies Knitting Nanas have died, because Shreddies (4) is searching for some fresh ones. It is using Facebook to conduct this search and the biddy with the most votes gets into the next ad. If you're going to invite people into your brand, there has to be more to it than just advertising confection. There has to be a brand to let them into. It all feels forced.
The Sun (2) has Terry Venables singing Elvis' If I Can Dream, backed by Ian Wright, Harry Redknapp and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Wembley, with added pyrotechnic crescendo, to promote its World Cup coverage. I like it. Its sheer chutzpah stands out from the other football guff. It is also great to see an agency get into recycling. "Maybe, just maybe", which is the line it signs off with here, was the same one used for the National Lottery.
Now we come to the charity cut and shut. Age Concern and Help the Aged have come together to form Age UK (6). You can only imagine the political shenanigans. So Brian Cox channels a load of different wrinklies and they "speak through him". I honestly thought he'd taken helium at the start when I heard a much squeakier voice coming out of his mouth; by the third voice, I'd kind of worked it out and I actually listened to the last one. There's a difference between arresting and confusing.
Why do I always get Sony (1)? I had Kaka last time. And it was. Given the provenance of these films, I fully expect these TV spots to be a facet of a much smarter, broader, more involved thought. We've got girls playing AC/DC to a capacity stadium crowd, which resolves to their bedroom, and boys on the world stage of football that resolves to the park. Each involves the whole panoply of Sony products, assets and interests. Everyone else has already had a go at it, so I'm reluctant to kick a dog while it's down. I tried to find more. But makebelieve.com is a kid's fancy dress site, and.co.uk seems potentially for sale. Oops, did I say that out loud? I'm sure the mists will clear, but for now it all feels rather lost.
Finally, Nike has found a use for all the phone boxes languishing around London. Impromptu latrine or Tom Cards was all they could offer until Nike GRID (3) came along. An interactive street game that allows competitors to win points and badges by running across London in a single 24-hour period. You use the phone boxes to check in. A bit like Foursquare, but with more running and no smartphone. Reading the Facebook wall, it seems to have gone down rather well - there's "debate" about who cheated by doing it in a car but that means they're engaged. It's not quite Livestrong but I think it's laudable. Love the way it gets digital into the streets.
Have to go. My flight's cleared for take-off.
CREATIVE - Steve Stretton, creative partner, Archibald Ingall Stretton
The world's changed. Honestly. It has.
I suppose it always has done. But nobody can tell me that it hasn't changed quicker in the past few years than at any other time. Apart from maybe around the industrial revolution. But that messes up my "theme", so I'm going to ignore it. So, my clever "theme" is to review this week's selection as I would have done ten years ago, then review it as I would now. To see if what I would have thought was good then, still is. Or to see whether, if something's dull, it's dull, no matter what century you're in. Told you it was clever. If I was really clever, I'd have had two pictures at the top of this column, but I took a look at them and there was hardly any difference, so I didn't bother.
Up first, Age UK (6) and what I would have thought about it in 2000: A brave, innovative idea. The use of the incongruous voice with the image is harrowing, totally original and haunting. Age UK ten years later: Ah, the old "incongruous voiceover image" trick. It's worked well lots of times before, so why not again?
Next, the Nigella Quick Collection (5) app in 2000: What's an app? Feels to me like a nicely produced book on a screen, but I'm not sure exactly what the "idea" is. Nigella app 2010: Here we have an app. Feels to me like a nicely produced mixture of video and menus and I'm sure it would be very helpful. A bit like Jamie Oliver's app is a nicely produced mixture of video and menus and is very helpful. Not sure exactly what the "idea" is, though. Is it "to produce an app"?
Shreddies (4) in 2000: We're recruiting new Nanas to keep up with the demand of knitting so many Shreddies. Seems to tap into that fancy new concept of integration, not sure that'll ever catch on, though. The ad seems to introduce some interesting dual branding with a company called MyFace. I think. In 2010: Shreddies goes social. Nanas are in demand and Shreddies is recruiting new Nanas. A neat way of extending a campaign, but the "recruitment drive" route is nearing its sell-by date.
Sony (1) in 2000: Big, adventurous thinking from a brand that's been creatively dormant for a while. The idea of using children to represent the future is refreshing and the ads are beautifully shot. Sony 2010: The brand that brought us "balls". What happened? Why this? Why go backwards? Sometimes you see work, such as "balls", and you feel sick because it's so good. Then you see this and you don't feel sick. You just feel a little empty.
Nike GRID (3) in 2000: I really don't understand this. In 2010: I really like this. Despite having no knees and not really wanting to spend too much time in a piss-ridden telephone box, this makes me want to take part, run and be at least ten years younger. Integrated, interactive and bloody clever.
And finally, The Sun (2) in 2000: El Tel sings his love for the England football team, ably managed by Mr Reliable, Kevin Keegan. You know, I think we can do it this time. Euro 2000 has our name on it. And this ad can only help. It's a belter. Real "hairs on the back of your neck" stuff. Ian Wright doesn't look too good, though. The Sun 2010: I really do love this. It seems totally preposterous from the opening seconds, but builds into 60 seconds of pure joy. Now, if we can manage slightly more than 60 seconds of pure joy in South Africa, I'll be happy. But I've a feeling that this ad will win more than the England team will.
It's been nice popping back ten years. Everything did seem a lot simpler then. But not half as interesting.
Project: Rockstar, superstar
Art director: Anomaly
Director: Frank Budgen
Production company: Gorgeous
2. THE SUN
Client: Jenny Williams, head of marketing, The Sun
Writers/art directors: Rich Littler, Zac Ellis
Director: John Hardwick
Production company: HLA
Exposure: TV, online
3. NIKE GRID
Project: Nike GRID
Brief: Bring to life Nike's new positioning to make running relevant for
a younger audience
Agencies: AKQA, Wieden & Kennedy, Mindshare
Writers/art directors: n/s
Exposure: Outdoor, online, experiential
Project: Facebook app "We Need Nanas!"
Client: Ronnie Parry, marketing director, Cereal Partners
Brief: Engage 12- to 17-year-olds with the Shreddies brand online,
building on the equity of the Knitting Nanas. Make sure the link back to
purchase is explicit and measurable
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: John Hurst
Designer: Shaun Dickie
Exposure: TV, Facebook
5. NIGELLA QUICK COLLECTION
Project: Nigella Quick Collection
Client: Jonathan Davis, digital publisher, Random House
Brief: Create a global, market-leading cooking app for the iPhone that
reflects Nigella's personality and brings her approach to simple and
delicious cooking to life
Art director: Richard Baxter
Designer: Steven Yip
6. AGE UK
Project: Brand launch
Client: Lisa McCormack, marketing director, Age UK
Brief: Launch Age UK
Agencies: Karmarama, Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw
Writers/art directors: Simon Connor, Stephen Cross
Director: Richard Loncraine
Production company: Tomboy Films