It's early October and the D&AD Annual has just arrived. Whether you've got nothing in it or you've got half the book, you've been looking forward to this. Sad as it sounds, creatives everywhere are setting aside a whole day to thumb through every page, every entry and every credit.
The D&AD Annual is what really separates the D&AD Pencil from the Cannes Lion. It's a collection of excellent work and a great source of inspiration.
Arriving the same day as the D&AD Annual, though, is the white envelope from Campaign. In fairness to the work in the white envelope, I open it and leave the yellow Annual until later.
Four DVDs and two print campaigns fall from the envelope. I watch the DVD labelled DLKW first. I feel a song coming on.
Actually, it's the agency's latest ad for the Vauxhall Corsa (3). For a while now, the agency has been positioning the Corsa as the car that is fun to drive, which, of course, it isn't particularly. But say it in an engaging way and as often as possible, and the message will stick. I'm not mad-keen on the little characters in this latest offering. The "hide and seek" execution from a few years ago did the trick for me, but full marks to the agency and the team for creating a long-term campaign for the car.
The Eurostar (1) ads achieve the most important goal in any communication: they get noticed. By taking three consecutive Tube cards you can't help but notice them. And I'm sure trains of thought regularly leave Waterloo for Le Gare du Nord. I think there is a good campaign to be owned here. (The second rule of communication is to be single-minded, which these ads have been slightly less successful at achieving. The endline, "You carry your journey with you", seems to have strayed from the second-class carriage.)
The poster for the Metropolitan Police's Operation Trident (5) works well enough as a piece of communication. "Carrying a gun can get you into the coolest places" over an image of a guy in a morgue. My question, though, is with the strategy. If the aim of the operation is to urge members of the public to report people who possess illegal firearms, why is the ad talking to people who carry the firearms?
Double Velvet is now Triple Velvet (6), and the factory workers wallowing in the softness of the product are now office workers under the direction of a two- or three-year-old managing director: an expert in all things soft.
The viral for the Body & Soul (4) charity compares the infectious nature of a smile with the people's misconceptions about the infectious nature of HIV/Aids. I'm not mad-keen on the spoofing of a 70s public information film, but I hope it works as 96 pence of every text will be donated to the Smile charity.
The recent BBC Radio 2 commercial is an "I'd like to have done that" piece of work. And I hope it appears in next year's D&AD Annual. A fantastically simple idea: Elvis Presley introduces his backing band, and the likes of Noel Gallagher and Stevie Wonder are dropped into the footage beautifully. A captivating way of presenting BBC Radio 2's line-up. This BBC CBeebies (2) commercial follows the same structure, except the presenter is the CBeebies presenter, who doesn't grab your attention like The King himself.
That done, I open the D&AD Annual. I find this year's edition is more than ever a source of inspiration and one to keep close at hand. It opens with a tribute to John Webster. The ideas and properties John gave "me-too" products became their point of difference. Suddenly, "me-too" products became "buy-me" products. When we are at our best, that's what the advertising and communications industry can do. And no-one did it better than John.
TEENAGER - Ella Fullagar, teenager, aged 13
I'm not used to this reviewing thing, but I watch so much television and I love watching the ads. I always annoy my parents by picking up the latest thing I've seen on television and secretly putting it in the shopping trolley. By the time they get it through the checkout, it's too late! Ads tend to work on me.
The poster for the Metropolitan Police's Operation Trident (5) gets straight to the point and makes a strong impact on the viewer. The message is really powerful and makes you think. The picture is disturbing and makes it feel very real. It's eerily scary. I would like these posters to be put up in my school to raise awareness of gun crime.
I really don't like these Eurostar (1) posters. The pictures are fun, but the colours are boring and they don't really grab my attention. I think it's clever how they used the train of thought for a train company, but it's not encouraging me to hop on the Eurostar. I don't think they are trying to appeal to someone my age, though. I don't take many business trips, and I don't own a BlackBerry.
The CBeebies (2) ad was not really my thing - try someone ten years younger. I found the colours really bright and the sounds interesting, which will certainly appeal to young children. The ad includes all kinds of characters, ranging from cartoons to plasticine figures, which is good for kids who will be able to recognise their favourites. The whole thing is fun and eye-catching, but because there is so much to look at, it may be a bit confusing for a young child. If I was a little kid, I'd probably like this one.
The "C'mon!" ad for the Vauxhall Corsa (3) has all these weird and wacky creatures in it and, at first glance, I thought: "Wow, those things are creepy and strange." Then I thought: "Aww, they're kinda cute and fun." I remembered that Vauxhall is "putting the fun back into driving", so they're obviously trying to pull off a jokey approach to selling cars. The music is funky and upbeat, which gives it a lively feeling, but it also seems quite dark. And since I was too busy focusing on the characters, I didn't instantly realise that it was an ad for a car. The strapline was simple and stuck in my head. It kept making me think "C'mon", which then made me think: "C'mon, get a Vauxhall."
I liked the whole retro feel to this charity ad for Body & Soul (4). I think it was funky and fresh in a 50s kind-of-way. I liked the fact that it used humour in it as well. The whole "smile" idea is really clever and will stick in people's minds. The humorous approach to raising money for Aids is a breath of fresh air compared with the usual "pay £2 per week or someone will die" charity campaigns. The idea was simple, yet effective. After all, fighting Aids can't be a bad thing.
I really enjoyed this string of ads for Triple Velvet (6) toilet tissue. I thought it was sweet how they used a child to play a figure of authority, and it worked. I found it funny how the businessmen and women were taking orders from a two-year-old. I think the ads will appeal to working people who can relate to the office atmosphere. I also think that some people will be thinking that their boss also behaves like a two-year-old at times. I did, however, find the idea of using a toddler in a toilet paper commercial a little odd, seeing as no toddlers I know use toilet paper yet. These ads are childish yet funny. I definitely want to see more of them.
Project: Train of thought
Client: Vicki Anstey, advertising and media manager, Eurostar
Brief: Show that travelling Business Premier on Eurostar allows for
Writers/art directors: John Allison, Chris Bovill
Exposure: National press, Tube card panels
Project: CBeebies brand campaign
Client: Jayne Sibley, marketing manager, CBeebies
Brief: Showcase the breadth of offering in the world of CBeebies
Writers/art directors: Brendan Wilkins, Rod Kavanagh
Director: Julian Gibbs
Production company: Red Bee
Exposure: BBC TV
3. VAUXHALL CORSA
Project: New Corsa. C'mon!
Client: Olivia Danan, brand communications director, General Motors
Brief: Establish the new Corsa as the most stylish and fun-to-drive car
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Writer: John Elsom
Art director: Keith Terry
Director: Dom & Nic
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: TV, press, outdoor, events
4. BODY & SOUL
Project: A smile is a gift
Client: Body & Soul
Brief: Raise awareness of Body & Soul - a charity for children,
teenagers and familes affected by HIV - and involve people in its
Agency: Quiet Storm
Writers/art directors: Cat Campbell, Jo Wallace
Directors: Cat Campbell, Jo Wallace
Production company: Quiet Storm Films
Exposure: Cinemas, viral
5. OPERATION TRIDENT
Project: Operation Trident
Client: Luke Knight, deputy head of publicity, Metropolitan Police
Brief: De-glamorise guns and gun culture
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Nick Bird
Art director: Lee Smith
Exposure: London poster sites
6. TRIPLE VELVET
Project: Baby MD
Clients: Dieter Bocher, regional marketing director; Sarah Hughes, brand
manager, SCA Hygiene
Brief: Dedicated to making better toilet tissue
Writer: Lawrence Seftel
Art director: Gary Anderson
Director: Ric Cantor
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV