It's coming to that time of year when all the big prizes are handed out. Not just Pencils and Lions, but the Premiership, the FA Cup and the Champions League, too. And it got me thinking: if this week's batch of ads were football teams, which ones would they be?
First out of the dressing room is a campaign for the National Gallery (6). It's a sweet little idea about taking the gallery home with you. (One ad shows a lady installing CCTV to keep an eye on her Monet T-shirt.) Unfortunately, it looks as if the budget was pretty small and the shots are a bit stagey and lifeless. In short then, they're trying to do the right things but on limited funds. A bit like Steve Coppell at Reading.
Next is an online game for Vigorsol (4) chewing gum. It's designed to go with its new TV ad, in which a flatulent chipmunk extinguishes a forest fire with well-aimed icy blasts from his posterior. I know we're all grown-ups and not supposed to find this kind of thing funny any more, but I'm afraid I do. It's great. Anyway, the game invites you to recreate the ad by positioning a chipmunk above the flames and then farting in their general direction. Sadly, though, I'm not much of a gamer and I very quickly found myself with a chargrilled chipmunk. So it's all beautifully done, but ultimately a bit frustrating. Like Arsenal.
Then we come to Surf (2). The creatives have clearly been inspired by the Sony "balls" ad. The trouble is, they've crossed the line from inspiration to imitation: this pretty much is the Sony ad, with flowers standing in for the bouncing balls. That said, as someone who remembers the dark days of detergent advertising, it's a measure of how far things have come that we can criticise an ad for being too much like last year's D&AD winner. Being positive then, promising signs here for next season's campaign. Tottenham Hotspur.
The School Food Trust (1) has produced some posters aimed at getting kids to eat healthily. They're simple and direct, but they lack the flair or imagination to really do the job. I don't think they're going to stop many kids from reaching for another plate of chips. Full of honest endeavour then, but a little out of their depth in this company. Watford.
The Nokia (3) ad is a winner. Yes, they've had lots of cash to spend, but every penny's been put to good use. Big money signing Harry Dean Stanton does a great job on the voiceover. "There's a thing in my pocket," he intones. What can he be talking about? Bewitching and beautifully executed, we're led irresistibly on to the product reveal at the final whistle. Chelsea.
And finally, BBC4 (5). This trail for the Edwardian season aims to show how similar that era was to our own, by dropping 21st-century folk into archive footage, Zelig-style. Lots of lovely touches here. The game as it should be played. Manchester United. (As if to reinforce the comparison, there's a cheeky V-sign to camera from a Rooneyesque Edwardian urchin.)
So who's going to come out on top then: United or Chelsea? Just like the real world, it's too close to call.
CREATIVE - Flo Heiss, creative partner, Dare
Watching a cinema ad on a computer screen is a bit like looking at a Monet painting printed on a T-shirt. It's just not right. I often find myself seeing a TV ad on the net first and not liking it, but when I eventually see it on the box I sometimes change my mind. Looking at advertising out of context is odd.
So, here comes my fun-packed, erm, pack. Disks containing ads to be screened on television and in cinemas, printed posters to be stuck to walls and a digital internet website for my personal PC.
First up, the Nokia (3) cinema ad. People without heads share their "things in their pockets" with me. I can see myself liking this in the cinema when I am in passive mode and without a remote control. I like the feel of this ad, warm, familiar, soothing voiceover. I relax and enjoy the cinematic narrative and ... bang! Handbrake, strip-light on, product shot, endline: "There is a thing in my pocket, but it's not one thing, it's many." I would have liked to see more of the many things the N95 is. The copy on the screen tells me it's "what computers have become". Show me, please. Do we still need metaphors in advertising?
Let's have a look at this Perfetti game then. On the homepage, two of the three sections of the site have the dreaded "coming soon" header. But, to be fair, I am meant to look at the game only. I just couldn't help noticing. What's the product here? (It's Vigorsol (4) - Ed.) Wikipedia says: "Perfetti Van Melle is a European global manufacturer of confectionery and gum." So I guess this is a site for a chewing gum that makes your breath smell fresh. Or does it make you fart? In the game I control a fire-de-flatulating squirrel. Silly, but fun. I am a sucker for simple left to right games.
Next, a set of Warholalike posters for the School Food Trust (1). There are quotes from celebrities and sportsmen trying to encourage kids to "try a healthy school meal". Because if you "eat better, you do better". I get the sport angle, but does eating better make you famous? And why on God's earth didn't they stick the URL on the posters? Schoolfoodtrust.org.uk is actually quite good.
More posters, this time for the National Gallery (6) shops - A4 printouts. I put my I-imagine-these-to-be-A1-and-beautifully-printed head on and get on with decoding what the hell is going on here. "Live with the art," the line reads. I see a granny fixing a CCTV camera to a washing line. Hanging from the line is a T-shirt sporting a Monet painting. On another poster a security guard sitting in bed with a sleeping couple protects a Botticelli print in a frame on the wall. I think what they are trying to say is that the merchandising is just as good as the originals. It's an OK idea. One poster I didn't quite get, though. It showed a couple of art students (they must be, because they look scruffy) sketching a Monet, sitting on a bathtub in a photo-studio with a guy in the bath looking like Jacques-Louis David's The Death of Marat and, um ... my head hurts ...
Headphones on. The TV ad for Surf (2). This is doing something unexpected in a tough sector dominated by side-by-side demos. This is a detergent ad without the usual science bit, but lots of lovely flowers exploding from a bubble.
And finally, the BBC4 (5) sting for the Edwardian season. This is 40 seconds of black-and-white spot-the-difference video trickery of old footage mashed up with new. "Discover how the Edwardians weren't so very different to us." I like.
More importantly, though, I have three goldfish to give away. Details on floheiss.com.
1. SCHOOL FOOD TRUST
Project: Celebrity eats
Client: Chris Wainwright, head of communications, School Food Trust
Brief: Encourage primary and secondary school pupils to eat healthier
through celebrity association
Agency: The Lab
Writer: Adam Clyne
Art director: Greg Lappage
Photography: Getty Images
Exposure: School canteens in the UK
Client: Joao Campos, vice-president, laundry Europe, Unilever
Brief: Launch Surf Small & Mighty concentrated detergent
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Verity Fenner, Claudia Southgate
Director: Gaelle Denis
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: National TV
Project: Nokia N95 "The Riddle"
Clients: Rachel Wright, multimedia marketing manager, Nokia UK; Elina Jo
Manner, global marketing/campaign manager
Brief: Launch the N95
Agency: Lowe London
Writer: Oliver Green
Art director: Greg Milbourne
Director: Rupert Sanders
Production company: MJZ
Exposure: Global TV, UK cinema,online
Project: 2007 Air Action Vigorsol
Client: Alberto Bruno, marketing director (gums), Perfetti Van Melle
Brief: Communicate that Air Action Vigorsol is a blast of fresh air
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Claudia Southgate
Art director: Verity Fenner
Designers: Rowan Heasley, Rob Heasley at Naked Penguin Boy
Project: The Edwardians - The Birth of Now
Client: Fiona Eastwood, head of marketing, BBC4 and Factual
Brief: Promote BBC4's The Edwardians - The Birth of Now
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Jules Chalkley
Art director: Nick Simons
Director: Steve Cope
Production company: Red Bee Media
Exposure: TV, radio
6. NATIONAL GALLERY
Project: Live with the art
Client: Sam Harris, marketing and communications manager, National
Brief: Drive an increase in sales by attracting more visitors to the
Writers/art directors: Jonathan Plackett, Teddy Keen
Photographer: Jon Day