It's summer. But as far as this week's work goes, is it a summer of love?
First up, something viral from Ann Summers (2). A naked woman on all fours is flicking a bean around her apartment. Apparently, Ann Summers can help all the ladies out there "flick their bean better". I thought I was au fait with today's masturbatory euphemisms. Spanking the monkey.
Smack the pony. But flicking the bean? This was a new one to me. It seems strange to me that a brand as brash and in-your-face as Ann Summers would be satisfied with advertising that beats around the bush, so to speak.
BMW (3), another great brand, presents us with a launch campaign for the 1 Series. It's a feature-specific campaign, which falls a bit flat for the simple reason that none of the features seems that special any more (with the exception of the iPod feature). Automatic windscreen wipers, rear parking sensors and sat nav? Haven't these things been around for quite a few years now? Don't we expect them as standard on most cars? Don't we expect better advertising from BMW?
Frijj (6) is a "chocolate-flavoured" milkshake. Two ads tell us that "we can't think on an empty stomach". One shows a spelling mistake on a road marking and the other shows a bizarre gardening accident, which will probably turn a few stomachs, and I don't find it particularly tasteful.
VO5 (1) shampoo is an entertaining spoof on the hospital drama ER. Its tongue is firmly in its cheek and the science bit doesn't feel at all bolted-on for a change. It raised a smile and hopefully it will raise a few hopes. This category needn't be dull and lifeless.
The InterContinental Hotels (4) digital campaign made me desperate for a holiday. However, I wasn't seduced by the look of the site or enthralled by the actual competition. It all feels a bit three-star.
Finally, a cinema ad for ChildLine (5) that makes a real effort to look different. Employing some interesting direction, it makes the point that "only one in five calls from children can be answered". It took me a while to get this message and I'm worried that other people will have the same problem. There's a lot going on and the bit I find most interesting about the ad (the children calling are right next to the ChildLine volunteers, a la The Sixth Sense) seems to get lost somewhere along the way.
Well, there we have it. It seems to be a summer of mild indifference. It just goes to show you, doesn't it? They're not like the summers I remember as a kid.
EDITOR - Greg Gutfeld, editor, Maxim
A girl hides under a desk in a dark office, phoning a counsellor. More kids call. The twist - they are actually calling from inside the ChildLine (5) centre. Some kids cower in fear, unassisted. The point: send cash to ChildLine, or these kids WILL GO UNTREATED. Worse, the ad uses very attractive children, sending a subtle message to abusers: "If you want to meet vulnerable, attractive children, work at ChildLine." This made me so angry, I almost beat my kids. Then I realised I didn't have any.
If you don't drink Frijj (6) milkshakes, you'll make mental mistakes that could cost you your toes. This reflects a recurring contradiction in ads. Why is it that non-mind-altering but refreshing substances are given mind-altering powers, while authentically mind-altering substances, such as alcohol, are depicted as refreshing but never mind-altering? Anyway, I drink Frijj all the time and it has no effect on my intelligence. Saying it does is like assuming that the function to measure distance in regard to general relativity is time-dependent. Which is BS: when the distance from the centre of the solar system is equal to a constant multiplied by the total mass of the body, the metric becomes infinite, not time-dependent. This Frijj is crap.
With this online game for InterContinental Hotels (4), you could win a weekend in a Holiday Inn hotel. Or maybe a bathrobe. "Simply find the matching prize." I load it three times, but my screen freezes. Anything that pretends to be a game, but isn't, makes everyone angry. And who the hell wants to win a bathrobe? I just steal mine and I always lose the fluffy belt. Then I end up walking round my flat with the robe open, then answer the door, and now I'm on a list.
The BMW (3) ads show how the 1 Series has special attributes that anticipate your needs, such as warning you there's a cat behind you. Rather than extol the virtues of a fast, powerful and dangerous car, we get parking sensors and headlights that bend. I own a car with no seat-belts. It's a 59 Facel Vega HK500, the same model Albert Camus died in when he hit a tree. I would have backed up over the cat.
Parodying scenes found in medical dramas, women are wheeled into the ER, all with "serious hair trauma". Doctors administer VO5 (1) shampoo.
She improves. Clever. But I can't help but wonder how someone who has just been to the ER for REAL TRAUMA might feel watching this. Maybe some people think bad hair is as bad as losing a thumb while laying carpet.
Me? I just want to sleep with the hair models. So, despite my problems with the ad, I give them one thumb up. (I lost the other one laying carpet.)
The Ann Summers (2) viral begins with a naked woman crawling on all fours on a hardwood floor, flicking a kidney bean. I am confused. This woman is in trouble and needs help. Can someone give her my phone number: (020) 7907 6429. If my mom picks up, just hang up.
1. VO5 Project: Hair emergencies Client: Tom Monaghan, vice-president, Alberto Culver Europe Brief: Develop a new global campaign that repositions the VO5 brand and communicates the new and improved product range Agency: Euro RSCG London Writers: Neil Williams, Dom Gettins Art directors: Ed Bones, Olly Caporn Director: Pedro Romhanyi Production company: Outsider Exposure: National TV 2. ANN SUMMERS Project: Bean Client: Gordon Lee, head of marketing, Ann Summers Brief: Encourage women to rediscover the joy of sex toys Agency: St Luke's Writers: Natalie Ranger, Eloise Smith Art directors: Natalie Ranger, Eloise Smith Director: Alex Pillai Production company: 24fps Exposure: Internet 3. BMW Project: 1 Series Client: Suzanne Gray, advertising manager, BMW Brief: Promote understanding of the BMW 1 Series concept and relevance to the target audience, as well as rooting it in the BMW family Agency: WCRS Writer: Will Barnett Art director: Mike Wells Photographer: n/s Exposure: National TV 4. INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS Project: Corridors of chance Client: Kirsty Montgomery, e-mail marketing specialist, InterContinental Hotels Group Brief: Increase e-mail acquisition Agency: Agency.com Writer: Steve Bartlett Art director: Paul Campbell Designers: Karl Reynolds, Will Bevan Exposure: Virally, initially sending to 125,000 on e-mail database 5. CHILDLINE Project: Call centre Client: Matt Parkes, head of direct marketing, ChildLine Brief: Raise awareness and encourage donations to ensure the survival of the ChildLine night service Agency: Quiet Storm Writers: Lee Ford, Dan Brooks Art directors: Lee Ford, Dan Brooks Directors: Lee Ford, Dan Brooks Production company: Quiet Storm Films Exposure: National cinema 6. FRIJJ Project: Spade, road sign, petrol cap Client: Karen Smith, Frijj brand manager, Dairy Crest Brief: Make Frijj the filling drink Agency: Grey London Writers: Ben Stilitz, Colin Booth Art directors: Ben Stilitz, Colin Booth Photographer: David Harriman Exposure: National newspapers, men's weeklies, outdoor