I sit down to pass judgment on these six pieces of work as the awards judging season comes to an end. In London and beyond, advertising award jurors have been scrutinising and assessing the fruits of ad people's hard labour.
This year, I have been spared the awards judging fairground, having served my sentence last year - five days in a darkened room with a Peruvian juror who had the selective and picky sense of humour of the canned laughter machine they use in the BBC sitcom My Family. Plus, an American judge, whose opening gambit on the year's best ad was: "Does anybody get this 'colour like no other' shit?"
All of which serves to remind me that opinions are only ever subjective, and that we should try to be as positive as possible.
The British Airways/ba.com (6) price campaign is very simple. It depicts the price in an attractive typeface. Not rocket science, but it'll work well for the airline. However, it does one thing well, and that is the one thing it's asked to do - stand out from the plethora of price advertising that's out there.
The public information film for the Disability Rights Commission (5) asks people to have their say on the bullying of disabled people. While the film is well put together, it depicts the world as we know it to be and, as a result, I'm not sure it will create much debate. I can't envisage viewers being galvanised enough by the commercial to go online and discuss the subject. A more surprising and, ultimately, more thought-provoking take on the problem is needed.
Next, another public information film. This time for Lucozade (4), informing us of its "edge-giving" properties. One could ask if the commercial itself has enough "edge", public information films being a well-trodden territory and all that. The campaign idea does, however, feel like the start of an advertising property with long-term potential, something to own and build on over the years ahead.
Vodafone's (2) Formula One campaign isn't massively interactive, and doesn't feel that it is a great use of the digital medium. More David Coulthard than Ayrton Senna.
As much as I love Waitrose (1) as a brand, there's no great idea at the heart of its direct mail piece. Now, people have been known to get away with no idea in the past, but normally it involves your art directors and designers ordering pizza in and working overnight. Sadly, no pizzas seem to have been ordered in the making of this ad. There's none of the visual impact the original Waitrose print and television work created when the campaign first started some ten years ago.
Which leaves the best of this week's crop 'til last. Work that it's easy to be positive about. Every detail of these Lurpak (3) commercials has been lovingly tended to. They look and sound great, and leave you with the idea that Lurpak tastes great. When advertising is working at its best, it feels like a continuation of the brand itself. As the consumer sits on their sofa, in front of the telly with a cup of tea in hand, the glow of these well-crafted commercials will, I'm sure, be reflected on to the product itself.
So that's my judging done for today. And no need for five days in a darkened room.
Over the coming weeks we'll find out exactly which work the award juries have given the thumbs-up.
It'll be a little longer, though, before we find out what the hardest, highly critical, most important judges think. The ones that only have time for simple ideas that are well executed. The ones that sit on their sofa in front of the telly with a cup of tea in their hand.
PLANNER - Charles Vallance, founding partner, VCCP
I have a friend who can drink a pint of beer quicker than you can throw it on the floor. For some reason, I find this a magnificently impressive achievement, even though, in the cold light of day, I'm prepared to concede that it's neither big nor clever. Sometimes, this is the feeling I get with ads. In the heat of the moment, both client and agency can convince themselves they've done something spectacular and unusual, only to forget the main thing: have they actually sold anything (or, in the case of my friend, tasted any beer)? So, the yardstick I'm going to run over this week's crop of work is a simple one. Forget the playing to the gallery, I'm interested in if it's actually going to work. Or, specifically, if it was my money, would I spend it or keep it firmly lodged with ING Direct?
First up, the posters from British Airways/ba.com (6). These are very much up my street. Simple, persuasive messages, iconically conveyed. Arty without being farty. I'd back them with £80 out of £100. Now on to COI and, specifically, the latest ad from the Disability Rights Commission (5). I love this ad. It's not selling a product; instead, it's appealing to the person we'd all like to be. Non-judgmental and immune from life's bigotry and callousness. They say that altruism is driven by a mix of guilt, generosity and self-interest. This ad evokes all three emotions and, as such, is a brilliant piece of work, which will influence both attitudes and behaviour. It gets £95 out of £100. Then we have Lurpak (3). What, you may ask, has happened to the trombone-playing, shape-shifting butter man? What indeed. Instead of the buttery horn player, we have a faux Honda voiceover delivering generic eulogies to be-buttered baked potatoes and crusty loaves. Someone will have done their sums to justify this walk on the unbranded side, but my Yorkshire frugality only allows it £50 out of £100.
I get a lot of direct mail, and this piece from Waitrose (1) would at least have loitered on the breakfast table. Whether or not a wet fish pamphlet bearing the legend "It smells of the sea" is the best subject for a bleary-eyed early morning encounter remains a moot point but, according to Gemma, with whom I share a desk, this elegant, informative leaflet deserves to be spared the metaphorical Davey Jones' locker of my Balham Brabantia. I'd give it £75 out of £100. Talking of which, my Zanussi is no stranger to the occasional Lucozade (4), but its latest ad, in an admittedly distinguished series, is unlikely to trouble the scorers unduly. Only the end frame gets to the quintessence of its brutal, glucose-laden, orangey incandescence. So, a cutdown ad would get £70, but the full-length version, at best, receives a generous £55.
Finally, we have an online extravaganza for Vodafone's (2) sponsorship of the McLaren Mercedes Formula One racing team. In its own way, it's fantastic, but I'm not really qualified to judge. Not out of any digital slouchiness, but because, for as long as I can remember, I can't remember a Formula One race. I'm sure the aficionados know better, and that Formula One is poised once more to become the adrenalin rush of a bygone era (Juan Manuel Fangio, Clay Regazzoni, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, etc), as opposed to an orderly procession of very fast cars punctuated by groups of mechanics farting around with tyre changes in perilously over-branded jump suits. However, I remain unconvinced. So I will resort to a split vote, £75 for the initiated and £25 for those like me. And there you have it, drinks all round. But drink responsibly, especially if you plan to drive like Regazzoni or even the young Lewis Hamilton.
Project: Easter DM pack
Client: Neil Stead, marketing manager, direct marketing, Waitrose
Brief: Enhance awareness of Waitrose's stance on ethical sourcing
Agency: Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw
Writer: Ben Golick
Art director: Phil Wyatt
Designer: Brad Saunders
Photographer: Diana Miller
Exposure: Direct mail
Project: Chase your dreams
Client: Kay Hoffman, head of global advertising and innovations,
Brief: Promote Vodafone's sponsorship of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Writer: Carina Martin
Art directors: Eduardo de Felipe, Alex Braxton
Director: Perry Price
Production company: Dare
Project: Bread, potato, mushroom
Client: Mike Buckley, head of customer and category marketing, Lurpak
Brief: Create a brand new set of idents for the popular spread
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer: Ben Walker
Art director: Matt Gooden
Director: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
Project: Get your edge back
Client: Dan Scott, senior brand manager, GlaxoSmithKline
Brief: Promote Lucozade Energy
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writers: Mark Goodwin, Luke Boggins, Ian Brasset
Art directors: Dan McCormack, David Anderson
Director: Ulf Johansson
Production company: Smith and Sons Film
Exposure: Cinema, outdoor
5. DISABILITY RIGHTS COMMISSION
Project: Are we taking the dis?
Client: Agnes Fletcher, assistant director of communications, DRC
Brief: Raise awareness of the bullying experienced by disabled people
Agency: McCann Erickson Communication House
Writers: Tim Reid, Neil Lancaster
Art director: Richard Irving
Director: Paul Gay
Production company: Hungry Man
6. BRITISH AIRWAYS/BA.COM
Project: Attractive prices
Client: Abigail Comber, sponsorship manager, marketing and
communications, British Airways
Brief: Promote low prices at ba.com
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Hugo Bierschenk, Dean Woodhouse
Photographer: Adrian Rossi
Exposure: Posters and press