It seems there's a spot of confusion going on at the moment. Conventional agencies want to be digital agencies and digital agencies are trying to be conventional agencies. I thought Nigel Bogle got it dead right the other week when he said that this will all sort itself out with whoever has the best ideas. So in that spirit, I'll start reviewing this week's cross-section of work.
First up, we have some online work for the Wags Boutique (4) TV show. Now, I have to admit I'd rather eat one of Wayne Rooney's bollocks than watch this show. However, these little skyscrapers that have been done for it are rather ingenious. In them, two Wags stand next to one another, then one comes to life and finds something from the surrounding editorial and tries to do away with the other Wag. They aren't earth-shattering, but they are quite sweet.
Next up, some direct mail and print for Christian Aid (2). The front cover of my Sunday Times Magazine today had a picture of how Great Britain will look if the temperature continues to rise. The ITV News announced Cameron wants to introduce aviation fuel tax. Global warming is all around us. And as Christian Aid points out in this new work, it'll be the poorer countries in Africa that will suffer first. Do I think that this work is strong enough to change opinion or make anyone do anything? Sadly not.
More direct mail but this time for Radio Times (3). I have to say I'm baffled by the fact the Radio Times is still going. The title gives you some idea it might have had its day. However, I'm not sure this direct mail I've been sent here will do much to ensure it has a rosy future. I've had several reads of it now and it really is completely baffling. The only good news I can find is that they're giving me some 50p-off tokens.
We were all pleased to see Guinness (6) return to the "good things come to those who wait" line. It had led to some great ads such as "surfer" and, sure enough, the return produced another clutch of awards. In the new ad, we see a pair of hands dance around for 60 seconds. Although it's rather charming to watch, I'm not sure what relevance it has to "waiting" or "good things", which is a shame. It feels more like somebody found the piece of film on YouTube and stuck a Guinness logo on the end.
Lynx (1) is another campaign with an illustrious advertising past. The one set in the supermarket was absolutely brilliant. In this new campaign, we're told that Lynx will give us extra "Bom chicka wah wah". Sounds improbable? Not half as improbable as the ads themselves. The performances are armpit hair-curlingly bad. I can only hope normal service will be resumed soon.
Finally, we come to what is the best idea of this week's bunch. It's an ad from Adidas (5) starring David Beckham. He tells us the story of the tough times he went through after his sending off in 1998. How he came through the ordeal and won back the press and public by scoring that goal against Greece. The ad is a mixture of Beckham presenting straight to the camera and animation. It's really charmingly executed and Beckham (whatever you may or may not think of him) comes over very well. And, probably most amazingly, when he writes out the endline "Impossible is nothing", he spells it all correctly. I wonder how many takes that took?
And there we have it. I'm not sure it was a great week for conventional or digital agencies.
CREATIVE - Chris Clarke, executive creative director, Modem Media
As I write, it's Mother's Day, so I thought I'd apply the famous "Mum Test". She'd have preferred some flowers or maybe a spot of lunch, but I like to say it with advertising.
First up, it's Guinness (6). This piece goes back to basics with a simple creative idea and great music. The beautifully choreographed film seems influenced by the better stuff on YouTube, showing the makers have their eye on digital distribution. The idea extends online with www.guinnesshands.com, where fans of the black stuff can make their own hands films.
Mum says: "This is very clever, where can I buy the music?"
Next up, another advertiser with a great creative heritage. This time round, Bartle Bogle Hegarty is pushing a new Lynx (1) formula and packaging with added "Bom chicka wah wah". Across four executions, the creative formula has taken a tweak too, with more aspirational blokes and a sassy girl as hero (I guess research shows it's actually women who buy the stuff). It's a sound strategy, but the creative is unconvincing. "Classroom" should have stayed on the layout pad and a "meet the parents" scenario doesn't make up in charm or humour what it lacks in originality. Having said that, it's a smart response to a tough brief and I can see these well-crafted spots getting a laugh in the cinema. Googling "bom chicka wah wah" brings up relevant Lynx content, but more could be done there to give it all the viral effect.
Next, a mailer for Radio Times (3) (or RT, which sounds more intellectual) hoping to prop up circulation by offering prospects 50p off. Its core content is free online and in the interactive menu of even my Mum's telly, so the idea of a coupon seems far-fetched. To be fair, the copy has been written for a race of couch potato half-wits, so the campaign may just work. I'm asked to "put boring TV and radio in its place". There's a convenient place for this waste paper under my desk.
Mum says: "I think this is a bit patronising, isn't it?"
Christian Aid (2) next, using print to show climate change is already happening and raising awareness of simple things employees and companies can do to help. The campaign hits home and neat icon designs bring charm to a tough issue, but in parts it has packed too much in, leaving me confused. In all though, a good campaign which follows through nicely to the web with www.climatechanged.org.
Mum says: "It makes climate change more real. I'd put these up at work."
Now Mum and I take a look at the latest work from Adidas (5). This time "Impossible is nothing" is explored by getting David Beckham to draw a picture and spell impossible is nothing. He pulls it off and even avoids sticking his tongue out while concentrating. I'm left feeling the spot works well for pre-teens; it has the tone of an anti-bullying spot and David has always sounded like Henry's Cat. With Mum here I'm feeling all nostalgic, but tough, trainer-buying happy-slappers would probably find the whole thing laughable.
Mum says: "He's a nice boy, but isn't he old news?"
Sticking loosely with football, we're online for Wags Boutique (4), a "drama" from ITV2. We get a range of scenarios featuring Wags doing what they do best, prancing around in labels being bitches. In each placement, the girls kiss goodbye and one stomps out of the ad to wreak havoc on her "friend", variously with a Range Rover, a flame-thrower and by tipping the ad unit. Each execution captures the essence of the show very well, but sadly the team have let the side down with craft. The girls are poorly directed and the blue screen is all too apparent on some frames.
Mum says: "It's very clever, but either that's a very big sofa or a tiny girl."
Project: Bom chicka wah wah
Client: Russell Taylor, global marketing director, Lynx
Brief: Communicate that Lynx has upgraded its fragrances and packaging
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Rosie Arnold, Matt Kemsley, Kevin Stark, Nick
Kidney, Caprice Yu, Tim Geogheghan
Director: Mike Maguire
Production company: The Directors Bureau
Exposure: National TV
2. CHRISTIAN AID
Project: Climate changed
Client: Jeff Dale, marketing director, Christian Aid
Brief: Put a human face on climate change and make people aware that it
is causing death and devastation. Also, offer inspiration as to what
people can do to help
Writers: Sean Doyle, John Long
Art directors: Tom Ewart, Matt Gay
Illustrator: Paul Knowles
Exposure: Press, posters, direct mail
3. RADIO TIMES
Project: Radio Times coasters
Client: Paul Cumiskey, marketing executive, Radio Times
Brief: Celebrate Radio Times readers in a humorous and uplifting way
Writer: Paul Snoxell
Art director: Andy Todd
Exposure: Direct mail
4. WAGS BOUTIQUE
Project: Wags Boutique
Client: Su Fall, brand manager, ITV
Brief: Build intrigue and excitement around Wags Boutique, a reality TV
show following footballers' wives and girlfriends as they fight tooth
and fake nail to run two rival fashion boutiques
Writer: Jon Sharpe
Art director: Nick Hamilton
Designer: Sami Ezzat Agha
Exposure: Handbag.com, The Sun
Project: Impossible is nothing
Clients: Eric Liedtke, senior vice-president, brand marketing
communication; Chris Kyle, vice-president, global marketing
Brief: Personalise "Impossible is nothing"
Agency: 180 Amsterdam
Writer: Sean Thompson
Art director: Dean Maryon
Directors: Sean Thompson, Dean Maryon
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: Global TV, print, outdoor, online
Clients: Russell Jones, marketing director; Louise Curran, senior brand
Brief: Continue the "good things come to those who wait" campaign
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Tony Strong
Art director: Mike Durban
Director: Michael Schlingmann
Production company: Uli Meyer
Exposure: National TV