Terrorism, famine and hurricanes. The predominant recall from the past few weeks' media. What can we do to help? I think that as the authors of what imposes itself on a landscape that's being blown to bits, there's a need for our work to be more sensitive, charming, witty and warm than ever before.
A charming young lady talks about the importance of life insurance in the Virgin Money (5) TV ad as she sidles up to her very old husband, who is sitting in an armchair. Sadly, it's the "young lady with old man for his money" scenario, a gag as old as the hills. I'd have been happy for a 130mph twister to have whipped the TV out of sight before this one came on.
A new ad from Ford (3) shows a hippy couple flirting around the car to 60s music. It all turns out to be a test drive. We struggle to read a line ... £2,500 off new cars this summer while stocks last. Why didn't they just tell me that? I'm holding on to the sofa. Bring back the twister.
Boots (6), a big British brand that's taken care of us all for years. Who better to lift the nation's spirits? Three television ads state three separate facts, none of which I can remember. A logical voiceover/emotive visual construct adds up to nothing more than the sum of its parts. There's no real leap here, no chemistry.
There's promise in an animated blackcurrant trying to make it into the Ribena (1) factory in the next spot. Until the endline: "Never mind, Ribena tastes great because 95 per cent of all Britain's blackcurrants make it." An endline as incomprehensible as the very tragedy of natural disaster itself.
The mailer for Renault (4) is the equivalent of the Perspex Trojan horse. I just wouldn't open it. Inside, a foldout featuring a big eye made of cars and some bad car shots leaves me feeling cheated. Pray a freak wind gets to your postman before he gets near to your front door with this.
The London Eye (2) goes high on the list of things that make me proud to be a Londoner. It's on a par with Tate Modern, fish and chips and the coppers who nicked the 21/7 bombers. These posters do it no justice. Is there any justice in the world?
CREATIVE - James Cooper, creative director, Glue London
Ooh la la. Can I have my money back please? I had a plan. Avoid the predictability of the basement geek (as I was described, nicely, I think, in this very column a few weeks ago) trashing TV and press and instead eulogising about the future of digital etc. No, I thought. I'll rise above the squabbling - it's becoming boring and certainly won't be resolved while I'm still working. And besides, I love TV ads. Always have. But, jeez, throw me a bone.
Hold on. Calm down. Deep breath. Be positive. Not everything has to be the "Future of Advertising". Millions of ads go about their business, happily selling products. Like these Boots (6) ads. These grown-up films explain how Boots has teamed up with scientists - the touchy-feely types rather than the monkey-boilers - to produce the Botanics range. I particularly like the tear shot in reverse so that the boy goes off to play rather than bawling over a grazed knee. Very classy, quiet, understated. Very un-Mother. For me, a good thing.
I also like the Virgin Money (5) spot. OK, the idea is not "new" new - money-grabbing minx marries moneyed septuagenarian and takes out a policy - but it's done so simply and with the kind of knowing humour one expects from the bearded brand.
OK, so the Ribena (1) work is not the future of advertising, it's the past. Juicy cartoon fruits try to get through the big gates into the factory. Just like the sweetest little peas used to do for Birds Eye. But ... David Bellamy as a voiceover. Interesting. I can't actually make out what he's saying but he makes me feel warm and will probably do the same for the mums.
The Ford (3) commercial is also looking to the past. A young couple go on a psychedelic test drive, and ... she ... takes ... her ... clothes ... off. I don't know, this may be a departure for Ford, but even a whippersnapper like me first experienced the Summer of Love 17 years ago. It was great. It was acid house.
Typical, leave the press and direct marketing to last. Guilty. In the Renault (4) mail pack there is an idea: "Only when you open up a Renault do you see the real beauty." When you open the pack you see a big pretty picture. A super-big poster would have been super-nice but, I guess, super-expensive. The London Eye (2) ads are striking, but why bother with copy if you can't read it? The logo and the visual would have done it for me. But, then, what do I know? Back to the basement.
1. RIBENA Project: Mud on the tracks Client: Anne MacCaig, Ribena category director, GlaxoSmithKline Brief: Drive reappraisal of Ribena as a premium-quality real fruit drink and an appealing drink for adults Agency: M&C Saatchi Writer: Jerry Gallaher Art director: Clive Yaxley Director: Daniel Greaves Production company: Tandem Films Exposure: National TV, cinema, women's magazines 2. LONDON EYE Project: Fly over London Client: Jo Berrington, head of marketing, British Airways London Eye Brief: Associate the London Eye with something uniquely graceful Agency: Joshua Writer: Steve Heath Art director: Jeff Clinch Photographer: Julia Fullerton-Batten Exposure: National press, outdoor 3. FORD Project: Summer of love Client: Steve Hood, marketing director, Ford of Britain Brief: Create a sense of event to capture the interest of potential new car buyers in what is a traditionally quiet period Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Writers: Leighton Ballett, Peter Russell Art director: Bob Gabriel Director: Jeff Stark Production company: The Pink Film Company Exposure: TV, print, posters 4. RENAULT Project: Take a closer look at Renault Client: Joanne Webber, DM and specialist communications manager, Renault UK Brief: Encourage test drives Agency: Publicis Dialog Writer: Ian Thomas Art directors: Andy Regan, Rob Trono Illustration: Me Company Exposure: DM to one million cold prospects, internet 5. VIRGIN MONEY Project: Spokesgirl Client: Trevor Field, marketing director, Virgin Money Brief: Announce a fresh life insurance product fom Virgin Money Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R Writer: John Lilley Art director: Andy Bunday Director: Cris Mudge Production company: Outsider Exposure: Regional TV 6. BOOTS Project: Trust Boots Client: Ian Hunter, director of marketing, Boots Brief: Position Boots as the expert in health and beauty Agency: Mother Writer: Mother Art director: Mother Director: Lynn Fox Production company: Blink Exposure: National TV