The thing I find most interesting in the work I've been asked to review this week is that they're all TV ads. You'd think in this digital age, at least some of this week's most interesting new work would be digital.
As if to confirm this quandary, the first TV ad I have to review has been produced by a digital agency. It's for Three (1), in which it is telling us it has an even better network. The ad is a kind of parody of 80s pop promos where two men battle the elements to help improve the Three service. Now, I'm told the 80s are very in this year. Last year, we did a rather nice 80s spoof for Virgin Atlantic's 25th birthday, which was either way ahead of the trend or at least had a very good reason for being an 80s spoof. Sadly, I'm not sure this Three spot ticks either of these boxes.
While we're on the subject of phones, I might as well review the new ad for Nokia (4). A few years ago, I would only ever have had Nokia phones. I really loved their operating systems - they were very intuitive and easy to use. Then the iPhone came along and changed everything. OK, they're crap phones with crap batteries, but that's not the point. I think Apple has repositioned Nokia into a rather bland and complex place, which is a bit how I feel about its new TV spot.
You used to go out with this really beautiful fun girl. It was a great fulfilling relationship, the sex was amazing, then, sadly, you drifted apart. No-one's fault really, it just happened. But the question is always there: should you get back together, would the chemistry still be there? Now, the realists among us know that this rarely works out. Sadly, no-one thought to tell John Smith's (2) and TBWA this sad reality - that the sex isn't half so good second time around.
Next up we have the new campaign from Mother trying to change Travelodge (5) from a purveyor of nasty box-rooms to a retailer of sleep. As a brand spokesman, they use a little Cockney teddy who has a passing resemblance to the PG Tips Monkey. Although I think this is a big thought, it doesn't seem to connect with the product.
The ad is a bit embarrassed about showing anything to do with Travelodge or its rooms, so all you end up remembering is the teddy. (Sorry, that makes me sound like a client.)
Have you noticed the longer Gary Lineker spends under the sun lamp, the more he looks like a Walkers Smoky Bacon crisp? This week, he fronts the new Walkers (3) Flavour Cup ad along with a host of other "stars" ranging from Julie Goodyear to Paul Daniels. This is a very low point in a campaign that, over the years, has had some very good high points.
Continuing on the World Cup theme is the new ad for Carlsberg (6). Now, Carlsberg set the bar pretty high with its "Young Lions" a few years ago, so this ad had a lot to live up to. In it, we hear a team talk from the legends Jack Charlton, Stuart Pearce and Sir Trevor Brooking. It must have been a nightmare to assemble that number of sporting luminaries in one place but it was well worth it. It has some lovely touches and is a worthy successor. This may be a TV ad, but like all the best stuff out there, I'm sure it'll end up being passed around as a piece of content.
CREATIVE - Flo Heiss, creative partner, Dare
I can feel a tick following a tock in the air tonight.
I love a great TV ad, me.
Here are six of them. Awesometown. No digital malarkey in sight. Eggsalad.
A very quick view through them all throws up this list: Debbie McGee's husband, Gary Lineker, Sylvester Stallone, Dame Ellen MacArthur, the dude from Kasabian, Melinda Messenger, Tess Daly, Dame Kelly Holmes, Peter Kay, Eric Prydz and Brigitte Nielsen. What a cast. OK, some of them might be lookalikes. Still.
If Carlsberg (6) did xyz, it would probably be the best xyz in the world. What a line. Now, can we make it work for the World Cup please? Oh yes, easy: If Carlsberg did the World Cup, it would probably be the best World Cup in the world. Here, that's your ad right there. What? Too obvious? Ah, OK, sorry. Let's fill 90 seconds with a host of random sportspeople and a darts player and see what happens. And what happens is that the inspired Sir Bobby Robson moment of silence is totally drowned out by the weird mayhem. Too much.
Oh, hello. What's this? Peter Kay? John Smith's (2)? Back again? Brilliant. Rubs hands. Bring it on, "no nonsense" man. Wonderfully cast and brilliantly shot and directed as it is, this ad only gets me to chuckle. I was expecting something different, a totally new "no nonsense" approach. But I guess there is no such thing as a "new no nonsense approach", is there? Funny how a lot of brands post the brilliant Hovis ad are now remembering their ads from years ago and relaunching or remixing them. One could call it "oldvertising", but maybe one shouldn't.
Next up, a Cockney version of Monkey for Travelodge (5). We see a lot of cuddly little critters creeping into your room to tuck you in. While you are sleeping. Without you noticing. Urgh. The stuff of nightmares. And Travelodge is supposedly now selling sleep?
A spoofy spoof ad spoofing 80s films? Yes, on YouTube, but not on TV and not for Three (1). How and why this would work, I just don't know. The references are too obscure and it lacks a punchline at the end. No triumph for me.
Here comes more World Cup fun. Gary, Melinda, Paul Daniels and some lady off of Coronation Street (I think) are all having a jolly good knees-up in the name of crisps in a French-English-Brazilian-Japanese Flavour Cup draw party. That's more like it! Less worthy than the Carlsberg ad and with an interactive idea at its heart (and I wasn't going to mention the "i" word). It's sort of the same idea as "do us a flavour" and maybe not as good, but it still works. And you know what? The Walkers (3) German Bratwurst Sausage flavour crisps are sehr gut! A quick look on the site reveals the flavour has 29 superfans including a roasted hog wearing shades. What's not to love?
Now, I might be a bit thick, but I really do not get what this Nokia (4) ad is advertising. A satnav in a mobile? Surely that's Google Maps, no? I seriously don't understand what's going on here. I see a lot of people on elephants and weird motorbikes travelling from A to B and A to Shoe using their mobile. All this set to a Song 2 soundalike (but only the first bit of the song, before the "wohoooooooooooo" bit). And that's how the ad feels. It never really gets going. And those green shoes the girl is wearing are really, really odd.
So, all in all, nothing that would make me stop DMing a GPS- enabled RSS-Twitpic-tag to my Twitter stalker from my iPad to look up to that screen in the corner that we love to call telly, but really is only just a radio with pictures.
PS. And if you disagree with any of the above, remember that I have never made a single TV ad in my life (yet).
Project: The Three network
Client: David Bickett, director of brand and integrated communications,
Hutchison 3G UK
Brief: Transform current consumer perceptions of Three's network
Agency: Glue London
Writers: Seb Royce, Matt Gilbert
Art director: Dave Tokley
Director: Andy Lambert
Production company: HIS
2. JOHN SMITH'S
Project: John Smith's diner
Clients: Mark Given, brands director; Gareth Turner, senior brand
manager, John Smith's
Brief: Return of no-nonsense
Writers: Gabriel Miller, Craig Ainsley
Art directors: Marcello Bernardi, Fernando Perottoni
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Production company: Rattling Stick
Project: Flavour Cup
Clients: Miranda Sambles, marketing director; Rosie Burt, senior brand
Brief: Get the nation to try the 15 new flavours and support their
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Mark Tweddell
Art director: Tony Hardcastle
Director: Paul Weiland
Production company: Weilands
Clients: Jo Savage, senior global marketing manager, comms and
navigation; Chris Chan, global campaign manager, Nokia
Brief: Tell world Nokia will be giving satnav, for free, to everyone
with a smartphone
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy London
Creative team: Tom Seymour, David Bruno, Jason Bolton
Director: Joseph Bullman
Production company: Bare Films
Project: Retailer of sleep
Client: Stephen Welham, marketing director, Travelodge
Brief: Drive preference for Travelodge
Art director: Mother
Director: Daniel Kleinman
Production company: Rattling Stick
Project: Team talk
Client: Paul Davies, director, brands and insight, Carlsberg
Brief: For Carlsberg (official beer of England team) to galvanise the
nation's support of England in the World Cup
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Rob Potts
Art director: Andy Jex
Director: Jeff Labbe
Production company: Sonny London