I've been racking my brain trying to work out who will be doing the column opposite. What highly amusing, left-field link will there be between myself and the other reviewer? Perhaps Campaign will get a real priest or vicar to critique the work from a biblical point of view? Hmm ... unlikely. What about John McVicar? Not so big on the lofty religious values, but he certainly over-delivers in the hard-as-nails department. Perhaps they'll get the Priest from VCCP? Although one hopes he's currently sunning himself on an 80-foot yacht in the South of France, surrounded by Brazilian supermodels and a large suitcase full of cash.
Anyway, enough of this nonsense.
The British Heart Foundation (2) has done some new posters. Now here's a client that historically has held a mini-pitch each time they do a new campaign. I've always felt this approach was somewhat short-sighted, and this work doesn't do anything to change my opinion. As someone who sits not a million miles from me often says: "A pitch is the sound of one hand clapping." The best work comes when the client and the agency embark on a long-term partnership. You develop a deeper understanding of the business and of each other. First dates are great, but if you want to have a significant and meaningful relationship that will change your lives forever, I'm afraid the conversation has to go a bit deeper than that.
The Cravendale (1) ads are certainly rattling a few cages. I've had people bending my ear, urging me to give them a serious mullering, and others heaping praise on them. Personally, I love them. They're different, charming and the message is a simple one - milk is a serious business to ordinary folk and the folk at Cravendale. Job done. I haven't got room in my life to retain any more milk-based information than that.
Here at Rainey Kelly, we've been working with Virgin Atlantic for about 11 years. The place is packed with people who have forgotten more than most agencies will ever know about airline advertising. I'm afraid these new bmi (3) commercials would not have made it out of our building. They are nicely shot, but highly analogous and a little lightweight. They don't feel like they have a point of view about the brand. My concern is that they will slip quietly by the target audience, like a goose farting in the fog.
Next up, is a DRTV spot for NSPCC ChildLine (6). It's a good, simple idea, and, more importantly, it feels persuasive enough to get the phones ringing. We watch a terrified little girl barricade herself in her bedroom and make a call to ChildLine. As she waits anxiously for the call to be answered, a voiceover explains that, due to lack of funding, the NSPCC is only able to answer 50 per cent of these calls. The dramatic effect of leaving the child still hanging on the unanswered phone works well, and the good news is it only takes a donation of £3 to get a call answered. The number you need is 0800 021 7677.
The DM piece for Mercedes-Benz (4) looks very expensive, but left me cold. It's not enough just to flash the cash. What's required here is an idea with intelligence and insight. Shame really, great cars and a great brand.
I was also sent a link to a Samsung (5) online offering. I tried two different web browsers, but got nothing both times. Consequently, I'm not sure how I feel about the work. Although the urge to rush out and buy a pound-and-a-half of Samsung certainly feels some way off.
That's all from me for another week. I hope you enjoyed the other column, too. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, eh? I can't believe he likes those British Heart Foundation posters. Still, there's no accounting for taste, is there your worship?
CHAIRMAN - Tim Lindsay, UK group chairman, Publicis
Great work comes from great relationships, and great relationships are built on trust. Agencies frequently complain that its clients don't trust it or its recommendations, but consider this. No account person or creative director has ever stood in front of a client with a script or piece of cardboard and said anything less than "this is great". Yet, exactly 83.3 per cent of what appears on your screen, in your paper or through your letterbox is merely OK to completely crap. Go figure.
Five pieces of work and a YouTube link slide out of the jiffy bag. We can safely assume that in every case, the idea was presented with assurances of greatness. How many will actually have built that all-important trust quotient in the client/agency relationship?
First, three commercials for bmi (3). We have to assume the account director said something like this: "We'll create little pools of tranquillity in the commercial break. They'll be a metaphor for the actual flying experience. It'll deliver real cut-through and memorability." Actually, I'm afraid that, tranquilly shot though they may be, they're completely forgettable ten seconds after viewing. Full marks for trying something different. But what's the betting we'll see some smiling flight attendants next time?
Then Cravendale (1); two commercials for pure filtered milk. "You see, this cow, a pirate and a cyclist are always being thwarted in their search for Cravendale. But they get it in the end! No, animation actually. Product benefit? Oh. Wait, I know! We'll stick it on the fridge door with fridge magnets. It'll be great!" the account man says. Perhaps a return to live action. In a kitchen.
Some British Heart Foundation (2) posters. "The big idea is we'll bring humour to a humourless category. There'll be a bloke washing his car with a dog! It'll be hilarious!" Actually, these do succeed in distilling a potentially complex message down to something that is communicable on a poster. Not sure if they really are distinctive enough in a highly populated and didactic health and wellbeing category, but certainly a chance to move it on next time.
Next, Mercedes-Benz (4); a piece of DM. Anxious not to expose myself as a complete idiot to the readers of Private View, I asked lots of people what I was missing with this, because it's just a test-drive number printed on a piece of metal in a leather envelope. No-one had any idea. I guess it's something to do with the tactile experience. Anyway, whatever the account person said, I'm betting there'll be a big picture of a car on the next Mercedes piece that lands on a doormat near you.
Samsung (5). Having struggled to access this viral on YouTube (and bear in mind my fellow reviewer and I are the only people in the country currently labouring under this obligation), I wished I hadn't bothered. What on earth did the account director say here? "We've ripped off Maxell"? At least when HHCL plagiarised Bob Dylan all those years ago, they did it with wit, style and a point.
And finally, a DRTV piece for NSPCC ChildLine (6). "It'll be very moving. The little girl will stay calm as she tries to get through on the phone, the tension will build as we deliver the simple message that, due to lack of funding, she can't. We think it'll be terrifically effective." And finally, it is, she does and the agency was right. Carpists will say that this sort of thing is easy. But it isn't easy to do anything really well, and this is genuinely affecting. I hope it finds lots of free space to run in.
Wait a minute! The really great stuff is exactly ... let me see ... 16.7 per cent of the total! The trouble is, nearly everyone thinks they can do what we do, and when we falter or fail, they tend to try. So today's moral is: claiming that average is good and good is great, to make the sale and get out of the room intact, undermines our credibility with clients and makes it harder next time. And, God knows, it's hard enough already.
Project: Out of stock, last glass
Client: Louise Barton, senior brand manager, Cravendale Milk
Brief: Put Cravendale on people's radars and remind them why it's
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writers/art directors: Frank Ginger, Sam Heath
Director: Pic Pic Andre
Production company: Nexus
Exposure: National TV
2. BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION
Client: British Heart Foundation
Brief: Encourage 50- to 65-year-olds to get 30 minutes of exercise a day
via everyday activities
Agency: Farm Communications
Writer: Owen Lee
Art director: Gary Robinson
Photographers: Dan Burn-Forti, Zac Macaulay
Exposure: Press, outdoor, DM, online
Project: Bmi Time
Client: Andrew Dufty, general manager, marketing, bmi
Brief: Relaunch bmi as an airline for business travellers
Agency: Euro RSCG London
Writer: Tim Langford
Art director: Dave Burn
Director: Simon Ratigan
Production company: Helen Langridge Associates
Exposure: National TV
Project: Luxury mailer
Client: Richard Payne, marketing communications manager, Mercedes-Benz
Brief: Promote the new CL-Class, the most luxurious member of the
Mercedes-Benz car range
Agency: Claydon Heeley
Writer: Johnny Watters
Art director: Gary Fraser
Exposure: 30,000 mail-outs to prospective and competitor car drivers
Project: Millimetres matter
Client: Eunjeong Park, assistant manager, Samsung Electronics
Brief: Promote the new 5.9mm Samsung phone
Agency: The Viral Factory
Writer: The Viral Factory
Art director: The Viral Factory
Director: Richard de Aragues
Production company: Mad Cow Productions
6. NSPCC CHILDLINE
Client: Lisa Williams, recruitment manager, NSPCC
Brief: Recruit new NSPCC donors using the ChildLine service
Agency: WWAV Rapp Collins
Writer: Abi Ellis
Art director: Simon Attwater
Director: Shona Auerbach
Production company: Bare
Exposure: National TV