The Work: Private View


"Good is the enemy of great."

Says the quote pinned on my wall.

A constant reminder to push that extra bit harder for something really special.

I'm sure a lot of us strive for really great work, but fall foul of the instant gratification of "good".

I once remember Tony Kaye screaming obscenities at some shit typography on a billboard. "We live in a mediocre world," he ranted. He's probably right. Maybe mediocre is the enemy of good.

I opened my package from Campaign. Please God, let there be great.

An Ode to Boobs is the first to pop out, Breakthrough Breast Cancer (2) is what this is about.

But in the wrong hands it could've gone badly, Especially by men behaving sadly.

But there's nice music, it's tastefully lit, Obviously the writer wasn't a tit.

Handled with care, attention and love, Words and pictures fit like a glove.

This ad I definitely rate, It is pretty good, but just not great.

Next up, there's an online thing for Barnardo's (3) (I remember a man came to my friend's house some years back and said he was collecting for Dr Barnardo's. So my mate gave him three of his kids). Remember that ad with the baby about to shoot up? Great.

Sadly, this online effort can't compare. Although the facts are heart-wrenching, you need something more to stand out in D&AD's charity section.

OK. How do you get someone to Visit Wales (4)? Simple. Send them a green plastic raincoat, as it's always pissing down there in the valley. Allegedly, this makes the place more exciting (there's a bumper crop of mushrooms this year!). Although the brochure was a bit dull for my taste (I ate it with some Welsh porcini), I think this approach is brave and should be applauded.

Not piss-pour by any means!

Clarks (5) entertains us with two spots for women's boots. In one, a couple of fillies race for the last seat at a cafe table. It's classic advertising stuff. The one "withaclarks" waltzes daintily through the crowd to bagsy the chair. But after a smug grin infected her face, I began to feel sorry for the clumsy-clogs runner-up.

I never made it to Oxford or Cambridge, so feel disadvantaged judging these Varsity Rugby Football Union (6) posters.

At first glance I didn't understand them (maybe one needs a degree). However, after the overnight test they became clear, which is a bit too long in my book.

They do look nice and simple though, and the art direction's strong. Maybe I'm in simple mode too?

And finally on to the most eagerly awaited commercial of the year: the next Sony Bravia (1) ad. The "making of" has been on YouTube for weeks and it looks very exciting. Now imagine sitting in your office and getting the brief. Fuck! How do you beat "balls"? Are you gonna make a Godfather II or a Grease II?

I'm sure that, had I come up with the brilliant idea of exploding brightly coloured paint all over a miserable housing estate, I'd have painted the town red. All I'd need would be a great director and great music track. This is where I feel the film disappoints. I can't quite believe I'm writing that Mr Glazer didn't quite deliver, as he's surely one of the greatest commercials directors of all time. Maybe the stars weren't quite in line that day. Sure, there are some great shots, although there are some even better ones in the "making of" film. But it's the music that really brings it down. As the saying goes: "music is 50 per cent", so why such an obvious choice? Of course it's still good and it should make the D&AD Annual. But great? A Pencil? I fear it's jumped the shark.

Project: Paint
Client: David Patton, senior vice-president, marketing communications,
Sony Europe
Brief: Colour like no other. Bravia LCD TVs offer unparalleled viewing
Agency: Fallon
Writers: Juan Cabral, Richard Flintham, Jonathan Glazer
Art directors: Juan Cabral, Richard Flintham
Director: Jonathan Glazer
Production company: Academy Films
Exposure: International TV, cinema, online

Project: Ode to Boobs
Client: Deanne Gardner, head of communications, Breakthrough Breast
Brief: Encourage women to check their breasts for lumps
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writers: Pip Bishop, Chris Hodgkiss
Art director: Chris Hodgkiss
Director: Susie Roberson
Production company: Weilands
Exposure: National cinema

Project: Young carers
Client: Barnardo's
Brief: Raise awareness of the problems faced by young carers and
encourage respondents to pledge £2 a month to help
Agency: Archibald Ingall Stretton
Writer: Kristian Foy
Art director: Mark Hanson
Exposure: TV, radio, online


A few weeks ago, Jeremy Bullmore said the industry has undergone more change in the past five years than over the previous 100. Despite, and indeed, because of this change, one thing remains the same: the need for something we at HTW call "Relevant Abruption". To engage an increasingly distracted prospect, work needs an "abruption" - a sudden, unexpected impact. That alone, however, is not enough. For it must also be "relevant" to the benefit enjoyed by the prospect. An anachronistic view? Let's see how it works on the cutting-edge contents of this week's big white envelope.

The new Sony Bravia (1) spot is definitely abruptive - for goodness sake, an entire council block suddenly explodes into gigantic spurts of multicoloured paint, choreographed to Rossini's Thieving Magpie. As the film is about colour as you've never seen it, this abruption is certainly relevant. It is also very encouraging to see an agency and, more importantly, a client being bold enough to put all its money on red (and blue ... yellow ... purple ... green ...). Such confidence is in short supply nowadays.

The Clarks (5) commercials bear this out. In one, a girl beats a rival to the only table at a crowded outdoor cafe because her stylish, but practical, Clarks shoes enable her to get there first. In the second spot, the same idea applies as a girl negotiates crowded streets to get to a taxi before two others. As slices of life, I suppose they're pretty accurate - for such are the little dramas of everyday existence. But, as commercials fighting for the prospects' attention, they aren't very impactful.

There is, however, no lack of confidence about the Varsity Match Rugby Football Union (6) posters. Indeed, there's a good bit of arrogance about them. And that's why they'll work on their target audience. Not only do they fuel the flames of inter-university rivalry, they also reinforce, as if it were needed, the Oxbridge graduate's sense of superiority over the lesser mortals who got their Firsts and PhDs from some grotty Red 'brick.

Front of a different kind is on display in Breakthrough Breast Cancer (2)'s Ode to Boobs. My perceptive PA, Jo Marris, points out that here the abruption might be working best on the wrong half of the audience. I think I'll have to take another look to check out her theory.

I'm certainly not the target audience for the Visit Wales (4) mailing, either. But then again, who is? It contains a rain mac for use by those tourists masochistic enough to travel to the sodden principality in autumn. The rain mac is certainly abruptive. But it doesn't lead you straight to the reason why you'd want to visit Wales. Indeed, it asks the copy and art direction to perform one hell of a rescue job - and neither is up to the task.

A lot of online creative tends to commit the same error of interrupting the consumer with ideas that aren't directly related to the benefit. Thankfully, the Barnardo's (3) banners and skyscrapers are spot-on. They tell the story of a young boy's struggle to care for his parent. Using real-time clocks, they give you an update on exactly what the poor chap is having to do at that particular moment in the day - with a call to action explaining how you can help him. In short, a relatively modern means of delivering what the young Bullmore's hero, James Webb Young, would have called a "stopping idea".

Project: The mac pack
Client: David Stephens, UK consumer marketing manager, Visit Wales
Brief: Drive additional visitors to Wales during the autumn
Agency: Partners Andrews Aldridge
Writer: Daniel Wright
Art director: Simon Nicholls
Exposure: Non-responders to previous database mailing

Project: Women's autumn/winter 06
Client: Penny Brook, marketing manager, Clarks
Brief: Position Clarks as the ultimate wearable fashion footwear brand
for people who live life to the full
Agency: St Luke's
Writer: Tim Collins
Art director: Mike Hughes
Directors: Blue Source
Production company: Blink
Exposure: Pan-European TV

Project: The Varsity match
Client: Tom Hill, sales and marketing manager, Rugby Football Union
Brief: Fuel the fierce historic rivalry to drive ticket sales
Agency: Lowe London
Writer: Patrick McClelland
Art director: Simon Morris
Photographer: Roger Stayte
Exposure: National press, posters

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