It's a great time of year to write this thing. I can say what I want as half of you are on holiday. And those of you still grafting will have forgotten any slings and arrows I may toss by the time I return from my own holiday.
You see, when this lands on your desk, I will be firmly ensconced by the pool with a book. Sunnies on. IThings off. And all of this hastily crafted prose? Well, it will just be tomorrow's chip paper. But hang on (can you hear the gears crunching in this segue?), perhaps that's the problem with a lot of the work these days. It makes a bit of noise. But by tomorrow, it's forgotten. Big ideas but rarely long ones. Will this lot linger in the memory? Will any actually change behaviour? Or are they as insubstantial and transient as an airport blockbuster?
Here's a big ad from Big Oil. I won't be vacationing in Florida this year, I prefer my oil in a vinaigrette rather than served a la plage. Shell (2) has chosen this apposite moment to tell us how it is producing soot-free fuel in Brazil, while BP is castigated in Congress. It's nicely shot and all that, but, despite Raul and his kite, it remains emotionally and geographically too far removed for me to engage. For all the wrong reasons, BP will be remembered for a very long time. This ad won't.
I already make notes on my iThings. Post-it Notes Shopping Genius (1) takes it a stage further. It's a mash-up of Evernote and InvisibleHand. It lets you compare prices from online stores and alerts you when the price drops. It can be a widget, or it can live in your iGoogle page. I think it's a cracking bit of functionality that will, for those who find it useful, stand the test of time and change behaviour. Not sure where the brand fits in, though. Hmmm ...
Weetabix (3) has just made me smile! Not a sentence I thought I'd ever write. This spot is well scripted and charming. Three blokes in animal costumes winning the marathon with the pay-off: "Someone's had their Weetabix." Not as lateral as the last one with the jockey and, for me, it would have been better if I'd actually seen the event on the news rather than in-between the programmes. Will it tempt me from my "full English" while I'm away? 'Fraid not.
I've known Penhaligon's (5) as a brand for 20-odd years and, frankly, I'd rather it kept itself quiet. For that reason, I really wanted to hate this work. But I can't. These print ads manage to deliver all the heritage of the brand in a tone of voice that is simultaneously from another era, yet bang up to date (if a tad obvious). It's a refreshing way to introduce it to a whole new audience. Buggers. They need to work hard to make the scent linger now, though. In-store Bartitsu lessons, perhaps?
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (4). An Olympian spectacle on the world's stage. The medals, the triumph, the glory. And here we have some ads for the cleaners. I guess that's a tad disingenuous, but it's the gist. The "Games makers" are the 70,000 worker bees that will make it happen. It should be a once-in-a-lifetime gig, an experience to retell time after time, with your grandkids on your knee. This work doesn't deliver that. There is no "60 seconds-worth of distance run" here.
Booze and "the war" have a timeworn relationship exemplared by Carling's bouncing bombs. Now it's Bulmers' (6) turn. It's wonderfully art directed. I love the meticulous detail and style. The drinkers are a bit central casting but the rest of the ad more than compensates. But change behaviour? Magners got there first with the "over ice" thing, didn't it?
Right. It's time to fling my budgie smugglers into a bag. Laters.
NADAV KANDER, PHOTOGRAPHER
Originality is a funny thing. We can't all agree on what defines it, yet we all know it when we see it. In my opinion, when we create, we constantly rely on and gauge by referencing thoughts/feelings or images from our past, be they external like an exhibit I saw or internal like being locked in a church as a kid. Whatever they are, there is a point when what we create distances itself enough from its source to become "original".
I'd say the ads here are all successful on their own terms, but are they all original?
Bulmers (6), for instance, shows very good production and is slickly filmed. (Who doesn't love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?) Everything is well done. Hats off to everybody involved because it is well executed from idea to screening. I also liked how alcohol is seen as fun and light-hearted, which must have made the client happy. But I've seen this kind of imagery too often for too long. (Phileas Fogg comes to mind.) Although Bulmers as a product needn't be cutting edge, I wish there was a way of showing the British summer in a more original manner.
I think the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (4) ads really get across the idea that helping at the Games could be more varied and exciting than you would dream. They are shot very simply, with a contemporary and satisfyingly simple aesthetic. That said, in our cities, where images are in our face at every turn, I think possibly a harder, more stylistic approach to the photography might grab the public's attention quicker than such a realistic approach and make people read these texts, which really do their jobs well to inspire you to action.
I really like the Penhaligon's (5) campaign. I find it hard talking about ads that don't utilise photography, but these make it easy - using very original typography and great colour combinations, with lines reminiscent of England's great era of copy and advertising. Who would have thought that orange and pink would go so well together? An artisan's product, like a Penhaligon perfume, painstakingly made, requires advertising that appears like it's been painstakingly crafted, and these pull this aspect off in a big way.
My apologies to Post-it Notes Shopping Genius (1). This sounds like a good product, and this campaign probably explains it well, but I haven't a clue how to talk about this.
I know if I were asked to photograph something with kids flying a kite, as in Shell (2), I would be struck with fear. How to make something so cliched work and look different? Full marks to this beautiful film. Great casting, styling and grading. I like the sensitive and unexpected little vignettes, like the dog or man standing on a cooler box. Great performances and great photography.
Weetabix (3) shows hardened, conditioned athletes at the end of a marathon getting easily overtaken by fun-runners in furry suits. A really good idea, and funny. But I don't believe it at all. Where are the sweat and tears? I think this video will appeal to kids, which I guess is very important, but I would have liked to see the sweatiness, grittiness and anguish in being overtaken with sharper, harder photography, with the crowd adding to the atmosphere pitted against sweet furry animals. Opposites attract, I would say. But maybe I'm missing the point.
Project: Post-it Notes Shopping Genius
Client: Helene Manga, brand manager, 3M's Consumer and Office Division,
Brief: Create a relevant digital utility for the Post-it brand
Agency: Profero London
Writer: Alastair Mills
Art director: Paul Hogarth
Designer: Paul Hogarth
Production: Stephen Lawson
Project: Let's go
Client: Steve Green, manager, global corporate campaign, Shell
Brief: Energy for a better future
Agency: JWT London
Writers/art directors: Adam Scholes, Hugh Todd, Mark Norcutt, Laurence
Director: Vince Squibb
Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: Global TV
Project: Weetabix marathon
Client: Sally Abbott, marketing director, Weetabix
Brief: Continue the "someone's had their Weetabix" campaign
Writer: Larry Seftel
Art director: Dave Day
Director: Dougal Wilson
Production company: Blink
Exposure: National TV
Project: Games maker
Clients: Greg Nugent, director of brand and marketing; Gillian Milner,
campaign marketing manager; Heather Mills, campaign marketing executive,
Agency: McCann Erickson London
Writer: Chloe Grindle
Art director: Michael Thomason
Digital agency: McCann Metro
Photographer: Peter Marlow
Exposure: National outdoor, digital, PR, online
Project: Merchants of attraction
Client: Emily Maben, head of marketing, Penhaligon's
Brief: Promote Penhaligon's as a contemporary perfumer with a
Agency: Dye Holloway Murray
Writer: Frances Leach
Art director: Chris Bowsher
Typographer: Andy Dymock
Project: Bulmers summer HQ
Client: Fiona Kennie, senior brand manager, Bulmers
Brief: Make Bulmers the most-loved cider brand for sociable twentyand
Agency: St Luke's
Writer: Alan Young
Art director: Julian Vizard
Director: Mark Denton
Production company: Coy! Communications
Exposure: National TV, video-on-demand