The Work: Private view


"I like it," June from Bristol says. "It's catchy." "Yeah, catchy," Dave and Mick from Swindon concur. It's comforting when agency and client hear the word "catchy" in a focus group. It suggests you have an idea that's memorable. Something that will reside in people's minds for longer than it takes to watch it.

A weekend has passed between viewing this week's selection and writing this. So I'm going to chance my arm at reviewing it from memory. So, in descending order of catchiness...

A spot to encourage cycle journeys in London from Transport for London (4). The little painted bike icons on our roads come to life and freewheel effortlessly through the capital, soothingly accompanied by one of those gentle "beardy-weirdy" folk tracks everyone seems so fond of at the moment. Over the weekend, I began noticing all the cycle lanes around my manor, which must be exactly what the ad is designed to do; I started picturing myself breezing around the parks and cobbled lanes of "old London Town" astride my especially adapted Raleigh Grifter. This image stayed with me until Monday morning, when I imagined my water melon-sized forehead exploding under the tyres of an 18-wheeler on the Euston Road.

The 118 118 (5) viral is the next thing I remember. It's a glorious, ghastly and utterly pointless piss-take of the Jennifer Beals "maniac" routine from Flashdance. Yes, it's not the first time this scene has been parodied, but it left me in a heightened state of sexual confusion, and that stuck. Of course, 118 118 has an unfair advantage over all the other stuff here. The genius of the approach was to acknowledge that the directory enquires market is nothing more than a memory game - pure and simple. Everything it does is about making that number top of your mind. They should broadcast this because it breathes a bit of life back into a tired campaign, and beats those drab little psychiatrist break bumpers hands down.

The third thing I recall (after referring back to the list Campaign sent in the Jiffy Bag) is the ad for BT (1) - a tight, simple script that's very well put together. Perhaps Gordon Ramsay is a little over- exposed at the moment, and perhaps this isn't enduringly memorable, but to be fair, someone selling outsourced IT solutions rarely is.

Next up is the NSPCC Childline (3) work. It appeals to abused children to stop putting on a brave face and shop their tormentors. It's good, visually clear stuff, and I just hope that it sticks with its audience for long enough to get them to blow the whistle next time something rotten happens to them.

Second from last, bizarrely, is Honda (6). I wonder if it's because I've parked this spot in the "don't-like-it-like-I-liked-its-other-stuff" part of my memory. Some of its other work is unforgettable. It stays with you because it offers up little mantras and optimistic ideas that you can live by and call your own. This didn't stay with me nearly as successfully.

The same goes for Orange (2) - yet another inspired campaign - but I remembered it, at least. Watching what I already knew was an ad on a laptop robbed it of the chance of masquerading as a cinema trailer, which didn't help. Regardless of that, it seemed contrived and laboured next to the simple pitch scenarios we saw in earlier executions. So, similar to Honda, I remember this idea only in the context of other work.

Project: Do what you do best
Client: Mick Hegarty, marketing director, BT Business
Brief: BT Business enables businesses to focus on their core
competencies by handling their IT and communications
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Nick Simons
Art director: Jules Chalkey
Director: Lenard Dorfman
Production company: MJZ
Exposure: National TV, online, press, DM

Project: Orange film board
Client: Rachel Macbeth, head of advertising and design, Orange
Brief: Remind people to switch off their mobile phones in cinemas
Agency: Mother
Writer: Mother
Art director: Mother
Director: Stacy Wall
Production company: Epoch
Exposure: UK cinemas

Project: Don't hide it
Client: John Grounds, director of communications, NSPCC
Brief: Make children aware that they
don't have to hide their pain
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writers/art directors: Dave Henderson, Richard Denney
Photographer: Dave Stewart
Exposure: Press


When I got my list of work to review, I thought "wow", and then I thought "shit". I realised that I used to work on BT, and Yell, when it was 118 247, and Transport for London. I was also on the funding committee for Childline. So that just leaves Honda and Orange untarnished by my hand. Still, I know that I have it in me to be both cognitive and impartial.

Transport for London (4) first. A bicycle-lane image peels itself from the road and gleefully roams about the city and beyond. A free spirit, liberated to the soundtrack of whistling. I think it is disarmingly surprising that TfL promotes alternatives to buses and the Underground, but I am always left with confirmation that it is only funding diversionary tactics, since even it admits nothing is working. Still, at least it does surprise and is not trying too hard.

BT (1). A restaurant opens and is busy trying to function during the disruptive attempts by Gordon Ramsay to install the IT and technology. The message is: "You do what you do best and let BT do what they do best." I like this confidence and agree that BT is still a trusted brand, but everyone's personal experience and horror stories undermine the commercial. Sadly, more bloody vox pops are needed before this ad will be as credible as it deserves to be.

Orange (2). The cinema auditioning campaign is consistently brilliant. The clueless commissioning team ruining the pitch or, in this case, the shooting of a movie about Joan of Arc with Mena Suvari, is up to that high standard. My issue is that it fights with the other Orange work, as if that market was not cluttered enough, and they do not need to invest their own cash in order to fight themselves. The effectiveness of this particular work only potentially highlights a total brand mess to punters. As far as this one is concerned, though, it's great stuff, and this is part of a huge campaign on its own.

NSPCC Childline (3). This is press work of children in photographs smiling, with their true tortured faces behind them. From personal experience, this is a relevant insight, and it hits to the core how many kids carry their pain alone. I think the execution might be more potent for parents to look for the signs of trouble, rather than to actually move a child to act and call. I hope I'm wrong about that, because the idea is wonderful.

Honda (6). A treatment that attempts to humanise a brand that has come so far already with cogs and design innovation. Sadly, for me, it is not the finest execution in a series of genius work because it labours over how tough it is to produce great work as an engineer, but in an indulgent, dull and uninteresting way. Visually, there is nothing to hold you, and the techno music brings it back to machines again anyway.

118 118 (5). A viral ad that is hours long, all soundtrack, vibrating buttocks and no substance. I love it. For a functional service, the message offers the notion that it comes from an insane company, and that is pure magic.

Project: Signs
Client: Nigel Hanlon, group marketing and communications manager,
Transport for London
Brief: Show London how free and easy cycling in the city can be
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Tom Drew
Art director: Uche Ezugwu
Director: Emil Moller
Production company: Sonny
Exposure: London TV

118 118
Project: Maniac viral
Client: Mark Evans, marketing director, 118 118
Brief: Amplify the recent TV campaign and tap into a new generation of
118 118 users
Agency: WCRS
Writer: David Cornmell
Art director: Jane Briers
Production company: Hungry Man
Exposure: Online

Project: Hondamentalism
Client: Ian Armstrong, manager, customer communications, Honda UK
Brief: Introduce Hondamentalism
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer: Stuart Harkness
Art director: Chris Groom
Director: Dave Morrison
Production company: Anonymous Content, Los Angeles
Exposure: National TV