If I were polite enough to heed the dictum that if you can't find anything nice to say you should say nothing at all, this Private View would have just ended. There are some very nice things to say about one piece of work here, but as it has been produced by Meme, one of WCRS's wonderful sister companies, it is technically out of bounds for my compliments.
It's a viral for Danish Bacon (4) and fortunately needs no help from me. It has already been downloaded more than two million times and won Ad of the Week in The Daily Telegraph. An accolade I can't see coming the way of this week's other contenders.
Mercedes (3) has at least had a stab at a fresh approach. It has produced a series of 20-second ads for the new B-Class, each of which will run just once. There are 42 of them. Each one is about as basic as a car ad can be: car arrives at station, car stops and man gets mountain bike out of it, car waits while boat chugs towards it. They're nicely shot but, my God, they're dull. It's a bit like getting married 42 times: uncommon, hard work, but not really as good as doing it once and making a proper go of it.
I'd already seen the Barclays (5) ad on air and I hadn't smiled, hadn't spotted the financial incentives on offer and hadn't even realised it was for Barclays, despite being one of their customers. On that basis, I can't offer it redemption just because I now have the VHS in my hands.
A direct mail idea for Gordon's Gin (2) also fails to stir the blood. It's a whimsical piece, which provides you with five seeds to help you grow your own lime tree, because lime goes so well with Gordon's. There is loads of copy and a plastic gardening tool of some kind and it feels a bit hard work.
Budweiser (1) still thinks it's droll to imagine what would happen if America got over-involved in English football. Wouldn't it be hilariously awful if our teams were renamed the Portsmouth Pirates or the Charlton Chargers? Well, it might raise a smirk if we didn't already have rugby league teams called the Widnes Vikings and Bradford Bulls and even cricket sides called the Gloucestershire Gladiators and Derbyshire Scorpions.
Our summer game is also in play this week, with Nando's (6) choosing to advertise around the Ashes Tests. Its ads feature a fictional Portuguese village cricket team and if you like your Latin stereotypes swarthy, moustachioed, excitable and peasanty, you'll think they're a hoot.
DIRECTORS - Smith & Foulkes, animation directors, Nexus Productions
Ah, summer. 'Tis the season to wolf down a fry-up, don our replica footie tops, then climb into our multi-purpose vehicle and head to a cricket match, where we would crack open a bottle of gin and mull over the benefits of changing our bank accounts. And so, like an English mid-order collapse, it was somewhat inevitable that we would be asked to review this cheeky crop of cunning marketing ploys.
Budweiser (1) has been playing this "Americanisation of dear old British footie" card for a while now, and this print campaign is a timely addition, featuring some clever (and, for all you devotees of a nice bit of bespoke tailoring, very nicely stitched) badges of Premiership sides such as the Bolton Globetrotters and West Hammertime. Do you think a Man United one would have just been too far-fetched?
Is there a theme developing here? The Portugalisation of cricket was a tougher brief. Nando's (6) has sought to bring together the Ashes and their piri-piri chicken in a series of one-gag sponsorship idents. Tasty fortified wine? Swashbucklingly arrogant football managers? Those funny little custard tarts? Nope, the answer, it would seem, lies in moustaches.
The mustachioed legends of English cricket adorn the pavilion walls as mustachioed Portugeezers indulge in all manner of village-green tomfoolery. Funny? Imagine Fawlty Towers where every character is Manuel.
This viral for Danish Bacon (4) has been doing the rounds at Smith & Foulkes HQ, which we suppose already makes it somewhat of a success. It's a parody of the Citroen ad where the car turns into a dancing robot, only this time a full English breakfast turns into a dancing ... English breakfast.
It has grilled tomatoes for butt cheeks and rashers for limbs, but where was the black pudding? A bit of a 3-D animator's in-joke, it just reminds you of how good the original was.
Barclays (5) has had a lot of fun making an ad about the perils of travelling abroad without travel insurance. Except that it's about bank accounts.
Or something. According to the voiceover, you are more likely to be arrested than understand this ad. Or something.
Time to go through our junk, er, direct mail. This Gordon's Gin (2) mailer gives a fun Gordon's visual twist on Gordon's seed packets. You can plant your Gordon's lime seeds and play with your Gordon's dual-purpose gardening tool twizzle-stick, then read the endless Gordon's bumf on the packet as you quietly question your purpose in Gordon's life.
Mercedes (3) B-Class? Baggage, balloons, boats, beaches (inevitably), barn, bunker, more boats, bass, back to the beach (you never can over-beach, can you?), budget, big, er, more boats ... thank you, we get it.
1. BUDWEISER Project: Badges Client: Andy Pearcey, UK consumer marketing manager, Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch Brief: Continue to promote Budweiser's sponsorship as the FA Premier League's official beer Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R Writer: Ted Heath Art director: Paul Angus Photographer: Andy Grimshaw Exposure: FourFourTwo magazine 2. GORDON'S GIN Project: Gordon's seed pack Client: n/s Brief: n/s Agency: Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel Writer: Mandy Wiemers Art directors: Nicola Rogers, Pete Vincent Exposure: n/s 3. MERCEDES Project: Mercedes-Benz B-Class launch Client: Nick Ratcliffe, marketing director, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, DaimlerChrysler UK Brief: Launch and create awareness of the new Mercedes-Benz B-Class and position it in the compact MPV sector Agency: Campbell Doyle Dye Writer: Walter Campbell Art director: Walter Campbell Director: Ivan Bird Production company: Serious Pictures Exposure: National TV 4. DANISH BACON Project: Breakfast transformer Client: Brian McCarthy, marketing manager, Danish Bacon Brief: Take Danish Bacon online to a youth audience Agency: Meme Digital Writers: Richard Peretti, Gary Lathwell Art directors: Richard Peretti, Gary Lathwell Production company: Blink Exposure: Viral e-mail 5. BARCLAYS Project: Bee sting Client: Jim Hytner, group brand and UK banking marketing director Brief: Promote the new Barclays current account Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty Writer: Hamish Pinnell Art director: Dale Winton Director: David Lodge Production company: Outsider Exposure: Terrestrial TV 6. NANDO'S Project: Portuguese cricket forever Client: Louise Agran, marketing director, Nando's Brief: Build a presence at the Ashes Test cricket Agency: Hooper Galton Writer: Dom Paver Art director: Dave Westland Director: Martin Galton Production company: Hooper Galton Exposure: National TV