This week, advertising bumps into two of the biggest problems facing young people: obesity,which leads to heart disease and diabetes,and drug abuse, which leads to the cuckoo's nest.
Burger King (6) seems not to want to discourage the first. "Eat like a man" it demands, in other words, not like a chick(en) or Jamie Oliver. But let's not get too politically correct about this - the slogan is a brave one. It is a powerful attempt to put clear water between Burger King and the all-things-to-all-families positioning of McDonald's.
But, of course, it depends on what you mean by "a man". According to Burger King, it's the bloke you pray won't be sitting next to you on easyJet. A gross, tattooed, ditcher of girlfriends, trasher of cars,burner of underpants (flame-grilled private parts?) and,what's more, a guy who has more trouble in the dubbing studio than the Stones on Top of the Pops -my,how that probably dates me-for the singing hero is cruelly out of synch. Of more concern, though, is that Burger King may, in fact, be out of tune with the mood of the nation regarding the need for healthy eating. As for portraying its male customers as rejects from the cruder lager commercials, I can only put my head in my hands and give a little sigh.
Perhaps the lead singer had been smoking a banned substance. If so, he should be chastened by the thought he will be doing such harm to his brain that he'll be needing a replacement. At least, this is what an anti-cannabis commercial for Frank (2) suggests. The task is as hard as advertising gets.You can't show kids frothing at the mouth or self-harming,which two friends told me their sons did following drug binges. But does this unreal and over-the-top visual diminish the seriousness of the problem? Perhaps teachers will use these replacement brains as debating issues. Let's hope they work. The commercial asks worried kids to phone "Frank", whom I take to be the spaced-out guy with the cranial saw. I would say this is a fond hope.
I shall pass quickly over the attempt by Woolwich (5) to dramatise the problems of living in a small flat, because I think viewers will, too. It's another generic commercial in a sector where the advertising industry has hardly shone. But this time, it's the client's fault. With crushing house price inflation, the Woolwich - and the entire financial industry-has a duty to come up with a better proposition than "a great mortgage deal". It would give despairing customers hope, and this limp piece of work some much-needed spine.
I can imagine that the Marmite (1) campaign has ardent followers in agencies. Admitting that some people hate the spread has the flipside of asking its lovers:"Have you missed me? "As posters,they will shine out for their simplicity among the many complex and inept neighbouring sites. But showing anyone defiling your product is dangerous. With food, it risks coming across as unsavoury.
Laphroaig (3) goes quietly about building a premium brand with a new direct mail shot accompanied by a free sample, which I seem to have lost and cannot return, and a tasteful booklet. Its tone is recognisably from the land of Scotch mist, shortbread and the school of fine typography - italics all over the place, making points where none exist, but it does come with an astounding offer: a square foot of the island of Islay with every bottle. In the past, I've known agencies whose liquid consumption would soon make them lairds.
I had intended to begin with the online campaign from Ikea (4) for its new lights, so as to demonstrate my cool acquaintance with microsites and intelligent portal solutions, but when I tried to access www.be-enlightened.co.uk, my Apple's tinny voice told me I needed Flash Player or some other plug-in. I have neither. I remain, at time of writing, unenlightened.
STUDENT - Alex Mavor, student, Watford creative advertising course, West Herts College
I've got no money. Zero green. Zip moolah. And yet people are still trying to prise some from me. I'm cold-called from India. E-mails offer me ReaLrepplicaROleX. My letterbox spews leaflets, and I see thousands of ads on the way to work. Let's see what these six have to say, and how skilled they are at the art of persuasion.
I don't know a lot. But I do know, thanks to a year in Ireland, never to buy a pig in a bag. With regards to advertising, though, I haven't even reached puberty. I can say, however, that the "Brain warehouse" ad for Frank (2) is work that I would aspire to if ever I manage to break into this fickle business.A simple creative solution,embodied by the squidgy freak-out-free brain, executed beautifully. Frank has never preached to its audience, and here the message is given weight by the unsettling tone. The team responsible has created a high-street surgery where you can have a new brain installed. It taps into our morbid interest, that fear and fascination in each of us, the same fear that drew large audiences to the operating theatres back in the 19th century.
The Laphroaig (3) direct mail pack asks me to turn an acquaintance with the whisky into "a lifetime friendship". In return, I will be given my very own square foot of land on Islay,which I'm allowed to visit. That's a long way to go and not enough room for a picnic. Pitch a tent and I'm trespassing. There's a lot of copy here and it's disorienting. There seems to be at least three messages to take out. Nice art direction, though.
"Manthem" for Burger King (6) sees men celebrating manly burgers in that most manly of ways, through the gift of song. Strategically, this is bang on. I imagine the staff at Burger King spend most of their days throwing away lettuce. The ad leaves me in no doubt about Burger King's identity. It does the job, but isn't a hugely inventive idea. I do like the moment when a man helps tip his own car over a motorway bridge. If you have to ask why, then you probably prefer more sensible options than a 900-calorie burger.
In contrast, I never expected to gaze admiringly like a lovesick owl at illustrations done in Marmite (1 ).This is a great tactical extension introducing the squeezy bottle. I've heard random punters talking about these ads, which must be a good sign. However, I wonder if gags about mullets have been around a bit long.Then again, when it comes to humour, I've ruined entire parties and laid waste to vast evenings with my attempts at humour. Probably best to ignore me.
Twice I've had to beg the bank not to close my account, so I'm not shopping for mortgages just yet.The Woolwich (5) ad looks great, but this stylish approach has an austere feel about it that might not inspire a sense of trust in its customers. The contortionist is a strong visual device,but the vague benefit of "great mortgages" is a bolt-on. It doesn't make me remember the Woolwich above its competitors. But then I'm the last person they'd want coming through their doors.
Ikea (4) stocks pretty much everything and is now offering enlightenment online. My tutor told us no puns from day one. Using enlightenment to sell lights is pretty heavy handed. It makes me switch off. Not such a bright idea.This is a clear, comprehensive tour of Ikea's lighting products, but not the most entertaining way to spend your evening-watching a man read in bed or a woman at her desk. It's a shame, because I know Ikea as a fun brand.
Well, this review should illustrate nicely just how much I have to learn. "Brain warehouse" has certainly stayed in my mind. Just as well really, it's specifically asking me not to spend my money.
Clients: M Burgess, C Calverley, Unilever best foods
Brief: Launch the new Marmite Squeezy
Agency: DDB London
Writer: Thierry Albert
Art director: Damien Bellon
Photographer: Andy Rudak
Illustrator: Dermot Flynn
Exposure: Press and poster
Project: Brain warehouse
Client: Dan Lynam, marketing manager, Home Office
Brief: Highlight the damage that prolonged use of cannabis can have on
Art director: Mother
Director: Neil Harris
Production company: Stink
Exposure: National TV
Project: Friends of Laphroaig
Clients: Claudia Simms, UK brand navigator; Cordelia Wren, senior
account manager, Laphroaig
Brief: Extend the number of Laphroaig's brand loyalists
Agency: Publicis Dialog
Writer: Mike Lawrence
Art director: Andy Macadie
Exposure: Friends of 25,000 members of Laphroaig's loyalty programme
Client: Claudio Struzzo, deputy marketing manager, Ikea UK
Brief: Drive awareness of the new range of lights; guide customers'
light purchases; reinforce Ikea as lighting solution experts
Writer: Ruth Adair
Art directors: Bal Bhatla, Paul Banham
Director: Paul Banham
Client: Claire Hilton, head of brand advertising and media
Brief: Find a relevant idea to promote a range of mortgage products in
order to increase overall sales
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Ben Akers
Art director: Nadine Akle
Director: Simon Spender
Production company: Tomboy Films
Exposure: National TV
6. BURGER KING
Client: David Kisilevsky, senior marketing director, Burger King
Brief: Celebrate the Double Whopper is 100 per cent unadulterated beef
Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky
Writer: Bob Cianfrone
Art director: James Dawson-Hollis
Director: Bryan Buckley
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: National TV, outdoor