Hello adworld! It's great to be here.
We start and finish on a musical note today. First on is His Master's Voice (6). I'm going out on a limb here, but I think this may be a branding job. In the TV ads, classic movie moments are "branded" with the HMV logo colour - electric pink (looks like it has dumped the dog, that's so rock and roll). So, Dorothy is walking down the electric pink brick road, Johnny is smashing down the door with an electric pink axe and Rick (from Casablanca) is sitting at the bar with an electric pink bottle of gin. The press presents us with rock icons David Bowie and, erm, Razorlight(?), both discretely wearing pink, and the lyrics of artists who have inspired them. Isn't it strange how many brands feel the urge to "own a colour"? Maybe not. Obviously there's a need for every brand to stand out from its competitors, and I suppose colour is the first port of call. But surely it will take more than the appropriation of a colour for HMV to successfully take on the online brigade.
Next, please welcome on stage a mailer from The Economist (4). "Extend your reach" we are told by the headline on the outside of a long, thin envelope (red and white, of course). And inside? A wooden backscratcher. I suppose it plays on the whole "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" thing. It's too much of a pun for my taste, and I think it lacks the intelligent wit of the rest of the campaign, but my PA, Tara, was very appreciative. She likes a good scratch.
Marks & Spencer (3) ticks all the boxes. Catchy soundtrack (the theme from The Monkees TV show). Cute kids dancing around as only cute kids know how. It has even managed to weave a colour into the execution, not sure if it's a brand colour or not, but what the heck, it's there (it's yellow by the way, so we can scratch that one off the list). It's a fine example of its genre. Mums will love it. And who knows, kids might too.
Boots (1) has gone all sexy with "secrets of the boudoir". A very beautifully shot take on Alice in Wonderland, which has an equally beautiful young woman wandering around her hotel room to the Jefferson Airplane track White Rabbit (nice). To be honest, I found the idea a little impenetrable, but I couldn't help but be seduced by the production, which is the point of production, I suppose. It looks great, which can't be a bad thing for a make-up brand.
Beck's (2) has come up with a lager called Vier which is 4 per cent proof. To reinforce this point, these print executions show 96 balls of wool with four eight balls; 96 matchboxes with four lighters and 96 chairs with four inflatable chairs. I could do the maths, but I still had a little trouble working it out. Aside from the 4 per cent news, what exactly are these visuals trying to say? I'm not sure it's entirely clear.
Finally, the headline act. BBC Radio 2 (5). This is one of my favourites, I hope it's one of yours, too. Like all great ideas, it's very simple and very nicely executed. We're shown footage of Elvis, live in Vegas, as he introduces his band to the audience. Only his band just happens to consist of ... Jimmy Page on lead guitar, Keith Moon on drums, Noel Gallagher on rhythm guitar and Stevie Wonder on piano. "What an amazing line-up" is the line which sums up this little gem. And I agree. I love it. Except for one thing, and I'm sorry to be pedantic here, but Sheryl Crow on bass? Not sure what the King would have thought about that. Thank you very much.
PR - Matthew Freud, chairman, Freud Communications
Clearly it has been a portentous week. First, Bill Muirhead describes advertising as "controllable PR", then Nick Hurrell says the most exciting ad agency start-up since the last one will focus on branded content and PR, and now some jumped-up fucking puff merchant is being asked to stand in judgment on this week's creative offering.
What happened to the good old days when a public relations exec was either scarier than your mum or thicker and prettier than your au pair? Was treated with contempt and disdain by clients and media alike; given five minutes at the end of an annual planning meeting to come in and lie about how the marketing director was an absolute shoe-in for "A Day in The Life" and then sod off back to the rock from whence they crawled.
Of course, for years we were all very jealous of you lot. I mean, you got paid more than us for working much less hard. You could get away with any crappy idea as long as the client didn't question how well it researched, where we got told in no uncertain terms by our friends in the press what they thought of our sub-standard work.
I always thought I had made a terrible career choice; trapped in a second-rate industry watching ad men walk like giants. But then that word "content" started popping up all over the place. Apparently, it's not about interruption marketing anymore, it's all about integral marketing, branded content. Hang on, "Branded Content" - that would be PR, wouldn't it? Can it be true? Are we really the future? Is it all over for advertising? Is it time for Campaign to be downsized and given away free with PR Week as a special supplement twice a year?
Well, obviously not, but it's nice to be asked to review some ads.
Boots No. 7 (1). This is a great film, cool, attention-grabbing, fantastic track, brilliantly shot. It's a sort of TV version of a glossy magazine high-fashion ad; more Chanel No. 5 than Boots No. 7. Very brave from Boots, as I assume it commits No. 7 to the long game of establishing a real identity and luxury brand equity.
Marks & Spencer (3) was a company destroyed by bad PR and reinvented by some great advertising. Epic food work, inspired supermodels, and now kids to make you broody. Extraordinary discipline in keeping brand identity consistent across three diverse executions.
BBC Radio 2 (5) is genius - $100 million worth of celebrity endorsement working hard to define positioning and music policy. And BBC free airtime to boot. With so many dreadful attempts to use celebrity stock footage to catch the viewer's eye, this rises above attention grabbing and puts the product first.
HMV (6). Clever opportunism. Lastminute.com forgot to renew their option on owning pink, so HMV have nipped in. I am not sure it won't upset a few of the classic film fans it is trying to reach by tampering with sacred celluloid - Judy and Humphrey might turn in their graves if they knew they were advertising a shop.
The Economist (4) certainly wins for shelf life. Long after I am dead, this backscratcher will be idling in the corner of my office, along with many very pretty things sent from Ian Shrager. It feels to me like this franchise is getting somewhat tired. Agencies that live on the glories of the past need to be bolder.
I like Beck's (2) and I like this ad. Couldn't tell you why on either tho'. I'm not sure it works hard enough for the new product that it is supposed to be launching. As an outdoor execution, will people realise it's for Beck's, let alone Vier?
1. BOOTS NO. 7
Project: Alice in boudoirland
Client: Helen Miller, commercial director for cosmetics and fragrance,
Brief: Add premium values to the UK's biggest-selling cosmetics brand
Writer/art director: Mother
Director: Chris Palmer
Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: National TV
Project: Beck's Vier launch campaign (UK)
Client: Richard Ingram, marketing manager, Innovation
Brief: Launch Beck's Vier to 25- to 34-year-old men, by communicating
its 4 per cent alcohol by volume credientials
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers/art directors: Jonathan Burley, Jim Bolton, Joe Tecwyn-Williams
Exposure: Outdoor, online
3. MARKS & SPENCER
Client: Steve Sharpe, executive director of marketing, M&S
Brief: Make a song and dance to celebrate M&S's children's range
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers/art directors: Stuart Elkins, Graeme Cook
Director: Joe Roman
Production company: Knucklehead
Exposure: National TV
4. THE ECONOMIST
Project: EBRS results
Client: Katrin Schlenzka, ad marketing manager (client insight), The
Brief: Publicise strong growth in reach in recent EBRS results
Agency: Adapted in-house from Red Card Singapore work
Writer: Boyd Champness
Art director: Jed Donohoe
Exposure: 430 packs sent to agencies and key clients throughout Europe
5. BBC RADIO 2
Project: BBC Radio 2
Client: Rachell Fox, head of marketing, Radio 2
Brief: Showcase the breadth and passion for music at Radio 2
Writers/art directors: Brendan Wilkins, Rod Kavanagh
Director: Steve Cope
Production company: Red Bee Media
Exposure: National TV, cinema
Project: Be Inspired
Client: Graham Sim, marketing director, HMV
Brief: In an increasingly functional retail market, create an emotional
bond by demonstrating how passionate HMV is about music and film
Agency: Quiet Storm
Writer: Lee Ford
Art director: Dan Brooks
Production company: Quiet Storm Films
Exposure: National TV, print