Pele has got a floppy knob. At least that's how it seemed after he fronted the erectile dysfunction campaign. That's the greatest footballer in history burdened with an embarrassing misattribution thanks to some dodgy advertising.
I wish Geoff Hurst had thought about that before he agreed to front the ads for the German National Tourist Office (6). Geoff scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final - which, by some considerable distance, is the best thing any human has ever done. Do you expect me to believe he now goes on holiday to Germany? Marketing on behalf of a tourist board is notoriously difficult. But it will take more than a few stock shots and a sporting icon to convince footy fans to stick around for some lederhosen-clad botty-slapping after we have won the World Cup again.
Hold on a minute, what's Wrighty up to?
The latest Privilege (1) ad features Joanna Lumley enjoying a round of golf with another much-loved England footballer, Ian Wright. The positioning of this brand was clear at launch: "You don't have to be posh to be privileged." It is a people's champion philosophy with the brand name central to the strategy. It feels less robust here when it has to carry more specific product detail. The dialogue creaks under the weight of punny lines about "good drivers" and "fore" years' no-claims bonus.
Still, I suppose professional footballers can be found in far more humiliating situations. Such as being caught with a mobile phone down their undies.
Purely coincidentally, here is the latest ad for T-Mobile (5). It dramatises the fact that the brand is more flexible, that the world is less rigid. We see a young guy walking around his metaphorical flexible world. He can bounce off the pavement and push his hand through window panes. I think this is something to do with the billing. I guess the brand uses other media to be more informative. Still, this commercial looks pretty and the music is really sweet.
Transport for London (2) is claiming to have discovered the elixir of life. Apparently, I can extend my years on this planet if I cycle to work. Clean art direction and succinct copy stake a worthy claim. However, as I occasionally dare to ride a bike to work, I know through experience that there is nothing more potentially life-shortening. Being tangled up with a fat banker on a foldy bike under a mile-long bendy bus would be a sorry way to go.
If, like me, you are hopeless at all things financial, I recommend you take a look at freestyleplus.com. This Standard Life (4) website starts off rather coldly and with far too much text but eventually gets into its stride. Short videos manage to both inform and occasionally entertain.
This is quite an achievement when explaining topics as dull as endowments and mortgage offsettingzzzzzz.
Another antidote for boredom is the new Irn Bru 32 (3) drink. It claims to offer mental stimulation in a can. I have no idea what additives they put in the drink, but I can tell you what derivatives they put in their advertising. One part Pro-Plus strategy (the endline is "wakey-wakey"), mixed with one part Trigger Happy TV (man in a fluffy suit) and a dash of Peperami attitude. However, what propels this ad beyond the familiar is the inspired lead character. A cuckoo with all the sociopathic niceties of Trainspotting's Begbie. He bursts into a silent library and screams various obscenities and product descriptors at a studious young lad. It is blessed with all the subtleties of being beaten up at a train station at night by some old piss-head. It's great.
I have just checked those German ads again. Good old Geoff does not really go to Germany for his hols. He has been photographed in a studio and comped on. Thank goodness for that.
They think it's all over ...
CLIENT - Greg Nugent, marketing director, Eurostar
Geoff Hurst, a living legend! I am not as sure about his move into being the face of the German National Tourist Office (6), though. He talks about things we cannot beat the Germans at, such as big mountains, large glasses of beer and very tall castles. It probably made perfect sense during the creative presentation: Geoff explaining the merits of Germany in the build-up to this year's World Cup - what a perfect fit! In reality, though, these are not great: they lack charm and fall for most of the tricks most tourist boards fall for nowadays when selling their "unique" destinations (ie. all showing the same big mountains, the same large glasses of beer and the same very tall castles). A hard sell, no doubt, just could have done better in World Cup year.
Irn Bru 32 (3). It would seem the people at Irn Bru have finally caught up with the people at Red Bull and produced one of those energy drinks.
What I really like about this is the complete and utter recognition that the advertising needs to do far more than the product (after all, it looks like, and probably tastes like, Red Bull).
A cuckoo breaks through the wall, half Begbie from Trainspotting, the other half Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. He wakes up the sleeping student and then proceeds to question the motives of the poor old librarian! Love this, very sharp and will catch on.
Privilege (1). The posh and the privileged. You see, once upon a time, golf courses were for very rich old people who shouted "fore" a lot. Times are a-changing, though, now almost anybody can join and you no longer need to be posh or old to get in. What a perfect fit, just like car insurance ... now, with just four (get it?) years' no claims, you can get the best deals when it comes round to redoing the car insurance. Hmm ... feels a little bit like Geoff and his extra time in Germany - forced. Sorry, Wrighty!
Standard Life (4) is a one-stop shop for your first mortgage. This quite interests me: the whole mortgage process is so long and jargon-packed that there is a desperate need for tools that can help the buyer know what is really going on. Do not for a second predict that this is going to be the next big viral craze - instead, I think that it is clear, concise, simple to understand and I even like the mortgage equivalent of Jon Snow. Good, jargon-free stuff in a jargon-stuffed world.
It is getting harder and harder to sell mobile phones these days: little or no differentiation, same same, just different. All credit, therefore, to T-Mobile (5) for developing this Flext product, doing something different. I just wonder why it stopped there and did not do the same with the ad. I just glide through this without really spotting what is going on; it tells me nothing, nor does it make me think or feel anything about Flext or T-Mobile. I am sure there must be something in this Flext thing, I just do not know where to look and what I should be looking for.
Finishing on a high, more good work from Transport for London (2). Instead of telling us what to think, it is making us think. Londoners should cycle more - it keeps us out of our cars and stops all of that dirty pollution.
This is TfL's attempt to get us on our bike. Simple, clear, to the point and no waffle. I am probably the core target here, as I could actually walk to work. The good news for Londoners is that, having had a think about it, I am going to buy a bike and see how I cope in those cycle lanes!
1. PRIVILEGE Project: Golf Client: Michael Gillan, marketing manager for car insurance, Privilege Brief: Establish Privilege as the insurer for people with four years' no-claims discount Agency: M&C Saatchi Writer: Alan Jarvie Art director: Alan Jarvie Director: Anthony Easton Production company: Pagan Exposure: National TV 2. TRANSPORT FOR LONDON Project: Spring cycling Client: Nigel Hanlon, group marketing communications manager, TfL Brief: Promote the benefits of cycling in London and increase the number of people cycling Agency: M&C Saatchi Writers: Paul Pickersgill, Joe Miller Art directors: Tiger Savage, Paul Pickersgill, Joe Miller Photographer: Leon Steele Exposure: London outdoor, press 3. IRN BRU 32 Project: Diet Irn Bru Client: Joady Horsley, senior brand manager, Barr Soft Drinks Brief: n/s Agency: The Leith Agency Writer: Chris Watson Art director: Rufus Wedderburn Director: Steve Burrows Production company: MTP Exposure: National TV, cinema in Scotland and the North-East 4. STANDARD LIFE Project: Freestyle+ Client: Andrew Boddie, head of marketing, Standard Life Brief: Explain mortgages and money matters to consumers in an entertaining way Agency: DNA Writer: Emma Scott-Robinson Art directors: Rob Lawrence, Steve Thompson Designer: Alex Gray Developer: Mark Fleet Exposure: Online 5. T-MOBILE Project: Flext Client: Phil Chapman, marketing director, T-Mobile Brief: Promote the launch of the Flext tariff Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Writer: Paul Domenet Art director: Brian Connelly Director: Dom & Nic Production company: Outsider Exposure: National TV 6. GERMAN NATIONAL TOURIST OFFICE Project: Have a ball Client: German National Tourist Office Brief: Promote Germany as a holiday destination and emphasise the fact it is hosting the Fifa World Cup 2006 Agency: Rodgers & Rodgers Writer: Dominic Rodgers Art director: John Bayley Photographer: Richard Whitfield Exposure: Cross-track and escalator panels on the London Underground