Let me start by saying that I think creative people have a really tough time these days.
I feel desperately sorry for them, unloved and sweating away in the depths of corporations that are only concerned with quarterly financial results.
So why should I add to their working-all-night woes by slagging off something that's still as fresh to them as a baby kitten?
I guess, because there's no point in doing this column unless you say what you really feel.
Samsung (4). A memory card is attached to the front of a remote-controlled car and put through a series of tests. I thought I'd better tell you the plot since I think it's quite unlikely that this rather predictable viral will actually get passed on to you.
I may be wrong. It's quite "new school", quite down with the geeks, quite copyable and, in my view, as formulaic as anything the old school ever produced.
Financial Times (2). By contrast, this is about as old school as you can get. An intelligent, understated, elegant, witty press campaign. Probably do very well in the print awards. Quite probably preaching to the converted. And quite possibly - given all the adjectives in the sentence above - completely invisible.
As a point of comparison - and talking of "smart but casual" - I remember how Levi's introduced "dress-down Friday" in the States a few years ago, to help sell its chinos. It was a marketing idea that completely invaded culture. (And, yes, I know, the chinos weren't always a good idea.) But unless your marketing idea has ambitions to invade culture, why bother?
If the FT made these T-shirts and then sold them ... that would be more interesting.
Crime & Investigation Network (3). A piece of film brilliantly captures the angst of "what-the-hell-happened-here-last-night?". If I was into serial killers in the same way as most of the UK population is, it would probably make me want to watch the channel.
The problem is that if I want to watch stuff on serial killers, I've got tons to choose from already. Most of the Sky EPG is taken up with food or serial killers or, occasionally, both.
Come Dine With Serial Killers, Can't Cook - Be A Serial Killer, Should I Move To Australia And Live With A Serial Killer?, Serial Killers Get A New Water Feature, Ross Kemp Meets A Bunch Of Serial Killers Behind The Bike Sheds, Phillip Schofield Interviews A Rather Attractive Serial Killer On A Sofa, Britain's Fattest Pet Is Killed By A Serial Killer.
Let's be honest, we don't even need real serial killers, when you get the same frisson watching Cowell or Sugar. My idea for the next big TV show would be: "Prove to Sir Philip Green that you're not a completely useless piece of sh*t."
Virgin Atlantic (5). This is attracting a lot of good notices in the blogosphere. Quite rightly so - it's a stunning, ambitious, glorious bit of film.
I just love this brand and the advertising has got better over the years. I especially love the little touch where the girl takes her shoes off at the end.
Cheestrings (1). Funny. But funny in a way that I've seen probably 8,000 times in my career.
I reckon it'll do wonders for tracking while it's on.
Actually, I'm being unfair. It'll probably sell quite a lot of Cheestrings while it's on.
But I still feel like I've seen it too many times already.
I like the buttock-clenching shot - and how often can you say that these days?
Audi (6). Beautifully crafted print campaign. See FT above.
EDITOR - James Brown, founder of Loaded and editor of Sabotage Times
We live in short-attention-span times when ads have been reduced to the genius simplicity of girls screaming at shoes and boys squealing at beer.
Samsung (4). It's a minute in and I'm distracted by Twitter suggesting Gazza should hook those Chilean miners out with the fishing rod he took for Moaty this summer. As a toy shark bites a sim card and some dolls hustle it, I wonder why the makers think this is inspired by The Wasp Factory when it's just another continuous shot where toys and gadgets clatter into each other and create the ongoing motion that was best done by falling dominos and then falling cereal boxes and books and then that car ad, which all seem so long ago. The Wasp Factory was a book about a girl who thought she was a boy and her dad regularly went to "Phuck", which he said was a town. May I suggest the makers also get to "Phuck". You cannot make the ninth version of someone else's idea and expect a tick.
Financial Times (2). I don't like the idea of the Financial Times trying to be knowing and cool. I don't want the Financial Times ads to have people with stubble and T-shirts under jackets. People that look immaculately styled in new casual clothes. I liked it when the Financial Times lived off good word of mouth about its How To Spend It supplement. I liked "Companies" news being a great place to find interesting business stories. I like the pink paper. I like the island display ad in the middle of the share prices. I want the Financial Times to be formal and traditional and pay no attention to what someone tells them is trendy. It feels awkward and dated. Why are these first two ads revisiting the mainstream of five years ago?
Crime & Investigation Network (3). Please be good, please be good, please be good. Oh. (I've woken the next morning after writing these reviews and this one's in my mind. It overkills the point by showing domestic pets slaughtered and pottery decapitated. It's very straightforward. It clearly works - jb.)
Virgin Atlantic (5). The last good Virgin ad was the Catch Me If You Can scene with Frankie's Relax and surely you should follow a winning ad with one that's either better or different? This link www.m2film.dk/fleggaard/trailer2.swf takes you to the commercial Virgin wants to make but decency prevents it: where masses of women in red stilettos skydive topless out of the back of a plane to Ride Of The Valkyries. It's the greatest Virgin ad it never made and it's for a Scandinavian white-goods shop. It's shockingly sexy and bold and brazen prompts that "have you fucking seen this" line to it. Branson wants travel sold as international saucy but stylish fun, but this commercial feels as disappointing and confused as sex with a flavoured condom. The hippy with attitude and his foxy airline deserve better.
Cheestrings (1). Cheese in the style of the talking Peperami pretending to be Ursula Andress in Dr No. I'd love to be in these meetings you guys have. Is the sense of disbelief when you get the go-ahead from the client as great as the sense of delight when they send the cheque over? At least the people who came up with this have a sense of humour about their work. "How do we make a squeeze of processed cheese appear buyable?" "What about an animated male Ursula Andress with clenching buttocks inside purple shorts striding purposefully up a beach?" "Nice."
Audi (6). Yes, at last, one I like, so I can go away from this without being branded a retarded, uncharitable Scrooge who "doesn't understand our work". This feels a little bit pre-build Airfix and understands how much we love logos and silhouette motifs. There's a dog, headphones, a drum, an eagle and a wing mirror that looks like a big golf club, an oil can, a pigeon and wild horses and all the time you're studying it, it's sending a very simple message to your brain. Which is: if it's got all that cool black-and-white stuff in it, maybe I should buy one.
Project: Cheestrings Spaghetti
Clients: Phil Chapman, group marketing director; Kelly Rafferty,
marketing manager, Kerry Foods
Brief: Launch the new product, creating excitement and consumer demand
Creatives: Pete Gatley, Rick Gayton, Darren Beresford
Director: Jim Gilchrist
Production company: MJZ
2. FINANCIAL TIMES
Project: Smart but casual
Client: Caroline Halliwell, director of brand and B2B marketing,
Brief: Promote the launch of the new-look FT Weekend Magazine
Agency: DDB UK
Writer: Andy McAnaney
Art director: Christian Sewell
Photographer: Will Sanders
Exposure: UK print, outdoor, online
3. CRIME & INVESTIGATION NETWORK
Project: Killers Come Home
Client: Kelly Keenan, marketing director, Crime & Investigation Network
Brief: Make C&I Network the number-one destination for true crime on the
Creatives: Sam Walker, Joe De Souza
Director: Sam Walker
Production company: Kream London
Exposure: TV, press, online
Project: The proof
Client: JungChi Seo, senior manager, memory conductor team, Samsung
Brief: Make a viral film showing the durability and toughness of
Samsung's range of SD memory cards
Agency: The Viral Factory
Writer: The Viral Factory
Art director: The Viral Factory
5. VIRGIN ATLANTIC
Project: Your airline's either got it or it hasn't
Clients: Breda Bubear, global head of advertising and comms; Paul
Dickinson, sales and marketing director, Virgin Atlantic
Brief: Virgin Atlantic - love to fly
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers: Mark Roalfe, Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Art directors: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Production company: Traktor
Exposure: UK TV, cinema, US TV
Project: Audi A1 print
Client: Peter Duffy, head of marketing, Audi UK
Brief: Launch the new Audi A1
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Alex Grieve
Art directors: Mark Reddy, Adrian Rossi
Designer: Rich Kennedy
Exposure: National press, outdoor, online, direct