The Work: Private View


With the appalling spectre of bloody internecine war-without-end looming over what was once the Mesopotamian cradle of civilisation, news reaches Adland that Kingsmill (6) is cutting the crusts off its white sliced bread so's not to offend the mealtime sensibilities of our precious ickle-wickle ones.

Talk about catering to minority tastes. What a slippery slope we're on. First, we're incapable of slicing our own apples, now we're buying circumcised bread. How are we supposed to fight a war on terror when they're cutting the crusts off our soldiers?

Yes, it's a beautifully, lovingly crafted little advert, but it raises a lot more questions than it answers. Like: what sort of a bleeding nanny state are we now living in? What happens to all the cut-off crusts? And will they be producing a crust-only loaf for people who are soft-white-middle-part-of-the-bread intolerant?

All I know is that when I were a lad I had to make do with a pair of hard crusty cobs. (Admittedly though, that was the result of cycling up and down t'cobblestone streets without a saddle...)

With all the raw energy you'll have saved from not having to arduously cut those crusts, you may wish to expend a little by browsing the Energy Saving Trust's (3) website. It's laudable. Applaudable. But a bit like being cornered in a pub by someone wearing tweed.

While the new Xfm (2) TV commercial may lack the sheer inspiration of their recent baby lookalike popstar posters, it does contain the following verbal exchange: "So, how long have you been a roadie?" "Eight years." "And how old are you?" "Eight." Priceless.

Barclaycard (5) blinking baffles me. The teaser campaign kicks off so well, with the nicely judged physical humour of two Brits on a US road trip, but then... Well, then they go to a rodeo. And worse still, start speaking. Apropos of nothing, the foppish posher one of the pair says: "Yeah, the great thing is, if I pay off more each month, my interest rate actually drops," to some unsuspecting (yet strangely impressed) cowgirl.

Unlike her, I'm not sure what paying "more" actually means. More than last month? More than More>Than? And what bearing does it have on the discreetly captioned "14.9% APR"? Of course, it's better than watching Jennifer Saunders speaking in tongues, most things are. But it still sounds like Numberwang to me. Then again, expecting me to pontificate on matters financial is about as reckless as asking me to review an advert for hair straighteners.

Ooh, look. The new Remington (4) hair straighteners advert. And an entertaining spin on the old "make sure you're wearing clean grundies lest you get run over by a bus" routine: beautiful girl turns her ankle then hobbles home in pain to painstakingly straighten her hair before being carried aloft to A&E by a succession of swarthy, centrally-cast Central Americans.

And while I have no bloody idea what the "It's what's on the outside that counts" endline adds to the story, I do know that nine out of ten women would rather have unprotected sex with Loyd Grossman than live a day without hair straighteners.

Word association. I say Loyd. You say gross, man. I say smug, pompous, affected, intentionally unintelligible, terminally middle-class Cameronesque lard lizard; you say no thanks, I've already eaten.

But wait. These 'ere posters for Loyd Grossman (1) sauces may just have both of us eating our words. And with good reason. These ads achieve the rare feat of making typography (and by implication, the product) seem genuinely appetising. In fact, they're the most mouth-watering set of words I've seen since: "T. I'VE DUMPED BRAD. MEET ME AT OUR SPECIAL PLACE AND BRING THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE. ANGELINA. X"

1. Loyd Grossman sauces
Project: Loyd Grossman premium cooking sauces range
Client: Simon Stevens, marketing controller, Loyd Grossman
Brief: Express Loyd's manifesto of "Taste is everything"
Agency: Clemmow Hornby Inge
Writer: Simon Hipwell
Art director: Matt Pam
Typographer: Alison Carmichael
Exposure: National press and posters

2. Xfm
Project: Baby roadies
Client: Richard Mintz, marketing director, Xfm and Capital Gold, GCap
Brief: Position Xfm as the radio station that brings "new music" to the
masses Agency: Mother
Writer/art director: Mother
Director: Tony Barry
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: Cinemas in London, Manchester and Scotland

3. Energy Saving Trust
Project: I commit
Clients: Tamara Mauro-Trujillo, marketing executive, consumer; Jasper
Bell, new-media manager, Energy Saving Trust
Brief: Get people to commit to saving 20 per cent of home energy
Agency: Grand Union
Writer: James Woods
Art director: Stuart Hallybone
Exposure: News and information websites


I don't subscribe to a pessimistic view of our business. I don't buy the death of the creative agency, displacement of advertising by digital, or despair over the grip of procurement.

The advantage of a sunny temperament (connoted by the name, Farah = joy), combined with an aggressive impatience (connoted by reputation Farah = pushy) is that I see potential in everything.

The possibility of making an indelible impression, emptying supermarket shelves and mobilising opinion gets us going every day.

So when you look at great work, you know it straightaway and allow yourself to dream about what it might achieve.

But daily acts of pragmatism can creep in to sabotage our best ideas. Sometimes the idea wasn't strong enough to take off the drawing board. The result is that you are simply left with a missed opportunity and joy gets pushed out of the picture.

So in this spirit, and for those of you who know the story of the legendary Hollywood producer, Robert Evans, who always trusted his instincts once he had heard the famous words, "and the kid stays in the picture", I open this week's Jiffy bag from Campaign.

In the first ad, a girl with scruffy hair trips in the street, hurts her ankle and is ignored by the Latin types who swarm around her. She staggers home and styles her hair with a Remington (4) implement and is fussed over by every man alive. I like the unexpected context for this domestic product demo, and the realisation that they're not selling underwear. I am unsure whether we're laughing at Mediterranean sexism or indulging it (although we are sick to death of the metrosexual revolution and all secretly want to lead the manaissance).

The spot for Xfm (2) hit a high note for me. You get attitude straightaway. The counterpoint between the adult narrative, cool bands, cool DJ, and the "kids' crew" in action with kids-based humour, all done in reportage style made me laugh. The work conveys a sense of how Xfm looks at the world, not just what it does in it.

Loyd Grossman's (1) posters put a clever spin on mouth-watering food photography by using mouth-watering type photography. The trouble is there is a good reason for taking food out of a jar and putting it into people's mouths and lives and conveying a sense of the feast - it works when done well. Assuming the craft in the typesetting will make up for the lack of warmth on the page is a big assumption.

The Barclaycard (5) work starts with a heritage of unbounded affection from a previous era and, in this case, affection for two actors from Green Wing to create promising ten-second teasers.

Having established the appeal of the duo action/road movie genre, the work fails to entertain, to inform about the flexibility of the product or to promote the emotional benefit of control.

It feels like the formulaic and intrusive Capital One work in this category has seeded doubt among these good people. Since a vehicle like this takes a few executions to kick in or prove that irony has its effect, let's hope they get it going soon. But I sense impatience rising...

The Energy Saving Trust (3) work opened on a charming banner where little smoky chimneys stop smoking when you click the off switch, I got the message. Encouragement to save energy and, by extension the planet, by exercising a digit is a neat trick, but it will take a lot more to get the job done.

Finally, Kingsmill (6), in which we have an unusual product innovation. Offering sliced bread with no crusts for fussy kids is a fair insight and I was cheered by the vignettes of kids killing off the enemy crusts with a zeal reminiscent of Sid in Toy Story. There is something wrong with that connection, of course, because nobody warms to evil kids. The sound-track needed to be celebratory, not dark, and someone needed to resist the shot of a satisfied mum nodding at an empty plate.

So there it is. I return to my primary assertion that there is potential everywhere. And if we can marshal the passion and pace to unlock it every day, we'd all be optimists with a purpose.

4. Remington
Project: It's what's on the outside that counts
Client: n/s
Brief: n/s
Agency: Grey London
Writers: Sam Hibbard, Alex Fraser
Art directors: Sam Hibbard, Alex Fraser
Director: Lionel Goldstein
Production company: Stink
Exposure: UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France

5. Barclaycard
Project: Rodeo, speedboat
Client: Gary Twelvetree, director of communications, brand and
advertising, Barclaycard
Brief: Launch FlexiRate
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Richard Robinson, Graham Lakeland
Director: John Lloyd
Production company: Qi Commercials
Exposure: National TV

6. Kingsmill
Project: Dolls house, toys, dinosaurs
Client: Brian Robinson, chief executive, Allied Bakeries
Brief: Promote Kingsmill Crusts Away! as the solution for children that
hate crusts
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Orlando Warner
Art director: Simon Briscoe
Photographer: Franck Allais
Model maker: Ben Miller
Exposure: Women's press


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