Feature

The Work: Private View

CREATIVE - Robert Campbell, founding partner, Beta

My God. The bar is high this week.

By and large, this is a bunch of work that I'd be delighted to have on my showreel. But as I'm indoors writing this on the Bank Holiday, and the sun's shining outside, I know I'm going to be horrid. I just can't help myself.

You'd never think that the team that used to run the Marks & Spencer business now run the John Lewis (5) business, would you?

Check out this ad. The Billy Joel music is a brilliant choice. And the script - if a little on the "we've seen this a few times before side" - is charming. Well done, chaps. Spot on for either brand.

There's a big dispute cooking on Campaign's website about this "pizza fairy" idea for Goodfella's (3). People are saying the idea has been nicked from an Aussie ad for Domino's pizza.

Who cares? Little on this planet is totally original. Plagiarism done well is an art form in itself. So judge the commercial on its own merits. Does it make you laugh? Does it make you remember the brand? Does it make you want to eat Goodfella's pizza?

The gag at the end with the little white pony reminds me of an ad I did many years ago for the RSPCA. It featured a dead pony on a hook. The elderly among you might remember it. It was about French people's appetite for horsemeat. While I was working on it, I learned that horsemeat could crop up in the most unexpected of places. Even pizzas.

These press ads for Magners (1) Pear Cider are all about the inability of the Magners ad agency's production department to do its job properly. "It's all gone pear shaped." Seems like a very convoluted way of telling me that Magners is now made out of pears. Which I already knew. It launched this product more than a year ago.

I love this ad for the Audi (2) 8 Spyder. I love the way it looks. I want to drive every car in it. Except perhaps that white one at the end. By comparison to the others, it looks a bit boring, doesn't it? Great endline: "Mirror. Signal. Outmanoeuvre."

This ESPN (6) Top Up TV viral is the only ad this week that I wouldn't want on my reel. If this is a viral, then I need antibiotics. Featuring Kevin Keegan and Ray Stubbs, it makes you realise why footballers rarely make great actors. And why that ad with Jamie Redknapp - I think it's for Thomas Cook - is so damn good by comparison.

Lastly, the Honda (4) ad. As we all know, this is a real jury pleaser.

But, you know what? This ad feels like it was created by people who love ads, rather than by people who love cars.

Ultimately, its thinly disguised irony lets it down. The driver's 70s porn-star moustache. The shots of his thinning hair blowing in the wind. The karaoke treatment of one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Come on. They're laughing up their sleeve.

There's an ad I've seen recently that I adore. It's for Shell petrol. Produced by JWT London and directed by Antoine Bardou- Jacquet. It was made by people who truly love beautiful cars. It features Formula One Ferraris all the way through. The cars are stunning. The driving shots thrill. The soundtrack hits you full square in the chest. It is packed full of grunt.

Thank you, Shell, for making this. From now on, I will only stop at your garages.

PLANNER - Nikki Crumpton, chief strategy officer, McCann Erickson

Lucky me. Looks like a better line-up than the one I got last Thursday. A new JL ad, "impossible dream 2", an Audi ad, a Goodfella's pizza ad from Mother, an ad from ESPN (it said digital against it but it's still an ad) and a poster from The Red Brick Road.

Quite disparate, but all seem to be doing the same thing - breathing new life into something old and with varying degrees of success. (A bit like watching Cleggy, Dave and Gordy, really.)

John Lewis (5). "Never knowingly undersold" is probably the best brand promise in the world, but it has traditionally been used in an "Always knowingly understated" kind of way. This is a slice of genius. It's taken a line that we can all repeat but probably don't really think about and brought it to life in a way that makes you want it in spades. The music, the storytelling, the beautiful production values and the clever explanation that never knowingly undersold isn't about price, it's about lifelong commitment, make this ad very potent. I defy anyone to watch it and not want John Lewis to run the country.

While Adam & Eve has breathed new life into an old line, I'm less convinced about Wieden & Kennedy breathing new life into old ads. Don't get me wrong, Honda's (4) "impossible dream 1" is another slice of genius. I can watch the original and it still feels epic and fresh and truly confident. But, quite literally, I feel that they have popped my balloon (it's not in this one). That confidence has been eroded. The power of Honda's dreams has been told to get real in these tough economic times. In fact, it's been told to stop dreaming and sell some cars. The thinking behind how to take the power of dreams somewhere new is smart, but I'm not sure repurposing something that was in and of itself perfect is the way to do it.

The ESPN (6) ad is a lesson to us all in the rights and wrongs of breathing new life into old footballers. (So wrong, it's almost right.) I don't watch football, although I did find this funny - but I'm not sure it was for the right reason. The comedy came from hammy acting from Kevin, and Stubbsy, and also from the fact they were asking me if I had a box with a slot (really!). However, I 'm not sure what I was meant to take out from it. And, please, can we stop thinking we can make "a viral".

Mother has been breathing life into an old strategy. We're called Goodfella's (3), so let's exploit our Mafia equity. Of course, Mother has done this in its own inimitable way with, no, not a godfather, but a godfairy. A Mafia stylee fairy who conjures up Goodfella's pizzas at the drop of a hat. Something tells me this goodfella won't be joining Monkey in the hall of best-loved advertising icons.

I think, somewhere back in the mists of time, white cars may have been trendy. Audi (2) is singlehandedly trying to breathe new life into an old fashion. I'm not being flippant here, I am genuinely questioning the casting of the white version other than its fit with the aesthetic of the ad. I feel it fails to deliver the goods for what is a really nicely written line. I'm afraid driving a white car, you might end up outmanoeuvring yourself, not everybody else.

Last but not least, the old trick of getting the punter to look twice at the poster. The Red Brick Road's Magners (1) ad with the line "It's all gone pear shaped" is quite a lot of cleverness in one poster. Does that make it a clever poster? Possibly, because I reckon you might need to look more than twice to work it out.

1. MAGNERS
Project: Magners Pear
Client: Paul Bartlett, marketing director, Magners
Brief: Create a hard-working poster campaign that prompts people to try
Magners Pear and embraces the brand's tone of voice
Agency: The Red Brick Road
Writer: Paul Mason
Art director: Mark Harrison
Exposure: Outdoor

2. AUDI
Project: Beauty and the beasts
Clients: Peter Duffy, head of marketing; James Millett, national
communications manager, Audi
Brief: Drive brand awareness for Audi, using the R8 Spyder as the halo
product
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Simon Pearse
Art director: Emmanuel Saint M'Leux
Director: Sam Brown
Production company: Rogue
Exposure: National TV

3. GOODFELLA'S
Project: Pizza fairy
Client: Kevan Mallinder, marketing director, Northern Foods
Brief: Transform current consumer perceptions and establish Goodfella's
as the superior in-home pizza brand
Agency: Mother
Writer: Mother
Art director: Mother
Director: Mother
Production company: Hungry Man London
Exposure: TV in the UK and Ireland

4. HONDA
Project: Impossible dream 1.5
Clients: Ian Armstrong, Ellie Tory, managers, customer communications,
Honda
Brief: Kick off Honda's transition into a unified European brand with
the launch of a new TV campaign
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer: Sam Heath
Art director: Chris Groom
Director: Ivan Zacharias
Production company: Stink TV
Exposure: TV

5. JOHN LEWIS
Project: Never knowingly undersold
Client: Craig Inglis, marketing director, John Lewis
Brief: Show how John Lewis offers the best quality, service and value
throughout its customers' lives
Agency: Adam & Eve
Writers/art directors: Ben Tollett, Emer Stamp, Steve Wioland, Matt
Woolner
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production company: Blink
Exposure: TV

6. ESPN
Project: Top Up TV viral
Client: ESPN
Brief: A viral ad campaign, fronted by Kevin Keegan and Ray Stubbs, to
promote the availability of ESPN via the Top Up TV service on Freeview
Agency: BDA
Writer: Joe Sainsbury Art director: Andrew Olly
Directors: Steve Hore, Viktor Pesenti
Production company: BDA
Exposure: Online

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