Just because you can, does that mean you should? I only ask because one thing you can now do is follow the progress of your own bodily waste once you've made a deposit or, in the undying words of Rooney Carruthers, let the otters out for a swim. Dedicated jobby botherers can track the full journey on Google Maps as their turd chugs beneath the pavements, inexorably seawards, at a purposeful 4.4 miles an hour. You can even ask for e-mail updates, giving you a stool status at the halfway point, confirmation at journey's end and average faecal speed attained en route. I tell you this not in the spirit of one keen hobbyist to another, but because it's been harnessed for commercial use by Domestos (5) and branded the Flush Tracker. The support line is "Ever wondered where yours goes?" and there is a bit of social responsibility stuff about the billions of people without proper sanitation and the unlikely sounding occasion of World Toilet Day. It's clearly more enterprising and interesting than showing a grinning woman squirting fluid into a U-bend while a voice growls: "Kills all known germs. Dead." But. Is it more effective?
On to number two. Sorry. But, in my defence, it is an app from Foster's (2) based on the premise that the epitome of gorgeously aged womanhood is Carol Vorderman. It purports to demonstrate how your girlfriend will stack up against this benchmark of doddering pulchritude by "ageing" a picture you take of her. Don't try this at home. Just don't. It's not funny, it's not clever and she'll end up turning it on you, which in my case caused major app confusion. "What more do you want me to do?" it seemed to be saying. But I still looked better than Vorderman.
Modern ways with media are not a concern for the rest of this week's contenders.
Land Rover (1) announces its sponsorship of the England rugby team with a press campaign showing players in mythical Land Rover country catching rocks and eluding hornets instead of balls and the opposition.
The BBC (6) heralds a season of programmes about film on Radio 4 with a TV ad showing people echoing characters from famous movies - stroking a white cat, sporting a Travis Bickle Mohican, doing a bit of injudicious, Basic Instinct leg crossing, and so on - to show how film permeates our lives. If I've made it sound a little predictable, I'm afraid I've done my job.
Lurpak (4) continues its excellent work with close-up food photography and has now acquired a League of Nations fetish. We hear the Dutchman Rutger Hauer telling hungry English blokes to do "what the French would do" and make an omelette with a knob of Danish butter in the pan. Nothing wrong with all that, but it's a pretty uppity butter that claims top billing in an omelette ad.
Another foodstuff that has ideas above its station is Oats So Simple (3). Not content with being a convenient and nourishing start to the day, it has assembled an infuriating taskforce of busybodies who charge around the country meddling with good people's lives. They make over a boxing gym and a local theatre production while the unwitting recipients of this largesse are looking elsewhere and add insult to interference by wheeling in a sleb at the point of revealing their handiwork. Sean Bean looks particularly uncomfortable and he conceals himself so successfully behind a sort of junior Brian Blessed beard that a voice has to be heard telling us who he is.
And what is the logic behind this? Oats So Simple wants to "thank people who make more of their mornings". Why? Because they are a breakfast cereal. You know, mornings. Morning people. Like, er, theatre folk? No, I'm not having it. Just because they could, doesn't mean they should have.
CLIENT - Antony Peart, European communications manager, Brother
Can you imagine the excitement in the wastes of the North when a selection of the nation's finest creative wings its way in a shiny Private View package? A bit like being a kid at Christmas again.
Sadly, looks like I'll end up playing with the box instead.
So let's start with the breakfast box from Oat So Simple (3).
When I woke from watching the ad, "making the most of our yawning"
you might say, I realised that clearly I had been transported to Worthyville. A place where the unfortunate are made to do TV ad porridge. This lacks any product differentiation and looks confused and without conviction. Very CSR. Porridge, convict, you know what I'm saying.
On to the next box, the BBC (6) this time. Here we have a campaign selling a radio series about film through the medium of TV.
Looks great, nicely shot, good soundtrack with a play on the Twist on Film promise of the series taking visual centre stage.
Feels to me like it's made for people of a certain age by people of a certain age. Radio 4 professes to be a station for anyone interested in intelligent speech; well, is that so long as you're a member of the Beeb Intelligentsia? Can I have my 10p licence-fee contribution back please?
And moving swiftly on, who wouldn't want to unwrap Carol Vorderman's box in the shape of the Foster's (2) iPhone app? I liked the campaign extension idea here. In fact, I loved the original Brad and Dan work. Sadly, the humour of the TV performance is lost in a disappointing, regurgitated app that just doesn't add up - unlike the delectable Ms Vorderman.
It's enough to drive a man to drink.
Talking of driving, when is a car ad not a car ad? Seemingly, when it's a Land Rover (1) press ad. You can imagine the creative conversation - the photographer, the location, the styling, the post-production, which rugby player to use? Appears no-one brought up the fact that cars need to be involved somewhere. Where's the branding too? (Play along with me with the thumb over the logo trick, smart eh?) Could be an ad for anything.
Well shot, with striking visualisations, but Play Tough just isn't. Perhaps it's one of those occasions where a good sponsorship affiliation hasn't translated to an effective campaign. May well appeal to the Twickers car-park brigade, however.
At least the Lurpak (4) "kitchen odyssey" campaign included the product in among some absolutely beautiful film supported by an evocative soundtrack that caught my attention as fresh within the category.
It also felt like the next stage in a longer brand development, which is good to see from an investment and strategy perspective. But to be honest, I switched off a bit with the words: "What would the French do?" Probably blockade the kitchen and get the Mrs to nip to McDonald's. And the endline was just "junior creative" largesse of the worst kind.
Best of the bunch though.
And so I reach the bottom of my bumper Christmas box and grope around to find the Domestos (5) online "Flush Tracker".
Talk about a reviewer's dream pun-fest. But we're professionals and suffice to say that spending time online tracking your No.2 is surely taking the pee.
So, thank you, Campaign for my late Christmas bonanza pack. The feeling I'm left with is that though always well-intentioned, maybe due to the recession and the obvious hangover, the work feels very safe and a bit too worthy. Or maybe I'm just not?
1. LAND ROVER
Project: Play tough
Client: Les Knight, national communications manager, Land Rover UK
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Mike Boles
Art director: Jerry Hollens
Photographer: Nick Georghiou
Project: Foster's Vordometer
Client: Nic Casby, brand manager, Foster's UK
Brief: Amplify the Foster's TV ad
Agency: Adam & Eve
Writers/art directors: Simon Lloyd, Christine Turner
Production company: Nation
3. OATS SO SIMPLE
Project: Thanking the people who make more of their morning
Client: Hayley Stringfellow, marketing director, Quaker Oats
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Diane Leaver
Art director: Simon Rice
Director: Samir Mallal
Production company: Blink
Exposure: TV, online, local print and radio partnerships
Project: Kitchen odyssey
Client: Thryth Jarvis, senior brand manager, Lurpak (Arla Foods)
Brief: Inspire people to make better food choices
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writers/art directors: Ray Shaughnessy, Dan Norris
Director: Martin Krejci
Production company: Stink
Exposure: TV, online
Project: Flush Tracker
Client: Anne-Michele Harrington, senior global project leader, Domestos
Brief: Raise awareness of World Toilet Day on behalf of Domestos
Agency: Lean Mean Fighting Machine
Writers/art directors: Dominic Moira, Kieron Roe
Designer: Mark Beacock
Project: The BBC Radio 4 Film Season
Client: Christine Woodman, head of marketing, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio
Brief: BBC Radio 4 Film Season
Agency: Fallon London
Writers/art directors: Gary Anderson, Tony Miller
Production company: Red Bee Media