The last time I wrote Private View, I think I was a little too nasty. So, this time, I am going to be nice and constructive. I remember when Robert (Campbell) and I were at AMV and we used to take our work in to show David Abbott, he would always say it was nice. He did, however, have several ways of saying the word "nice". Some meant "that's good", others meant "that's total rubbish". You just had to work out which "nice" he meant.
First up, we have a new campaign for E.ON (1). I don't have a problem with being nice here. TBWA beat us to the account with this campaign, so anything other than nice would just be sour grapes. This is actually a very nice, simple campaign. The idea behind it is that E.ON is "the wind of change". In the first ad, we see a British seaside town being blasted from E.ON's new wind farm. In the second, we see a town being drowned in sycamore spinners as the wind blows. There are some really charming touches in the way that these are filmed, and the music feels fresh and truly uplifting. I only have one slight niggle. Is it wise to have a power company connected to so many natural disasters? But overall, very nice.
Next is a new campaign that tells us how Volkswagen (5) supports local cinema. Orange has set the bar rather high when it comes to film sponsorship packages. The premise behind this campaign has a lot of room for comedy. We see a series of film "experts", such as projectionists and usherettes, telling us about the deep hidden meanings behind movies such as Ghostbusters and Lord of the Rings. My favourite is the usherette who tells us how she thinks Toy Story is really a tale of teenage sexual frustration, where "Andy has a woody whenever his mother goes out of the room". I hope VW got all the necessary permissions sorted out, otherwise Pixar's lawyers will have a field day, which won't be nice.
One of my favourite TV ads of the year is Fallon's "the baking of Fabia" for Skoda (3). I wasn't sure when I first saw it. I thought it was based on a bad pun, but the more I've seen of it, the more I've warmed to it. It stands out for its sheer simplicity and charm. This direct marketing piece takes on the theme of "full of lovely stuff" and gives us an air-freshener of double-chocolate toffee-fudge cream. Like the TV, it's a simple and charming idea, which is nice.
Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners is next up with a new commercial for the RAF (4). I am slightly worried that my niceness might be stretched with a song-and-dance number that combines dancing pilots and a re-write of Come Fly With Me. However, upon watching it, my fears are allayed. We see a whole load of everyday tools and everyday objects flying up into the sky and making a jet fighter. This is a big special-effects number, rather than song and dance. It's lovingly crafted and put together. Nice.
I am afraid I find this press ad for Drench (6) a little unsavoury. This isn't good news for a product you're meant to drink. I wish they had sent in the radio ads for this campaign that I heard the other day. They may not have been as creative, but they're a lot nicer.
Finally then, is a nice viral film for Ribena's (2) Harvestival. It's a spoof of the Run DMC vs Jason Nevins video, with a dance-off between some groovy young chaps and some Morris dancers. I was directed on to YouTube to find this, where it looked very at home. This, for me, passes one of the most important hurdles a viral can leap: would I pass it on? Which is handy, as well as nice.
Well, that's just about that from me. Have a nice day.
CLIENT - Barnaby Dawe, managing director, Heart FM
The last time I wrote a review of someone else's work, I received hate mail from the managing director of the company. I thought I was being constructive but had obviously hit a raw nerve. I'm now in fear of being at the end of creative wrath around Shoreditch and Soho. I always try to temper my "direct" style when giving feedback so, in no particular order, here goes.
E.ON (1). This feels like it's going to be a sweeping and rousing bank or building society ad signalling the winds of change, but then it turns out to be an alternative energy provider. I guess that's quite alternative in itself. However, apart from the wind-farm shot at the end, I'm not sure the ad really spells out what the changes mean to the consumer. It leaves you hanging somehow, with more questions than answers, but there are some nice touches in the vignettes.
Drench (6). A very arresting image, but slightly stomach-churning. It looks like a wacky government health warning about drinking too much, or not drinking enough water (in the style of the clever Frank campaign). Showing it around the office, most people recoiled at the sight of the brain. Although it is a little hackneyed, there's something to be said in showing the external health benefits of water (happy, healthy people a la Evian's Live Young campaign) rather than our less aesthetically pleasing internal organs (unless you're a Damien Hirst fan, of course). I always liked the old Volvic Volcanicity campaign by WCRS because it managed to get away from the stereotypical and, at the same time, stamp the brand firmly on the creative. I'm not sure how much this will do to establish Drench, or how much it will help the water category generically.
Volkswagen (5). I'm not quite sure what these ads about film have got to do with VW. I know I've just given a classic client response, along with the size of the logo and the headline, but if I were wrapping my brand round independent cinema, I'd want people to take away more than just the association. Orange got association, awareness and product messages all in one. Is this an attempt by VW to muscle in on Orange's "film buff" territory? It doesn't build on its own excellent previous sponsorship credits with people in pretend cars having the classic "we're late" or "we're lost" conversations.
Skoda (3). I love the Skoda TV ad with the big cake, and this piece of direct marketing links in nicely with that. It really does smell of chocolate, too, and is likely to hang around a lot longer than your average piece of DM.
RAF (4). At last, we've got away from soldiers running through mud and Top Gun-style dogfights. This action/sci-fi-type approach really taps into the new mould of action/sci-fi/fantasy movies. X-Men meets Fantastic Four, it immediately gets your attention. It's big and filmic, and cleverly spells out its messages. It leaves the viewer in no doubt what it means and what to do next.
Ribena (2). I really wanted to like this because I thought it was going to be hilarious. And it was amusing, but it didn't tell me what to expect from the festival apart from the fact that the country was coming to the city. When you go on to the Ribena Harvestival website, it looked like it was great fun with wellie-throwing and blackcurrant pie-eating contests. I now wish I'd been there.
However, I suspect there'll be some creatives that will want to throw some wellies, or worse, at me after reading this.
Project: Wind of change
Client: E.ON UK
Brief: Introduce E.ON to the British public as the force behind changing
the nation's energy for the better
Writer/art director: Danny Brooke-Taylor
Director: Andy Lambert
Production company: HSI
Exposure: National TV, press, poster, idents
Client: Rachel Quinlan, brand manager, GSK
Brief: Encourage young adults to experience Ribena Harvestival in their
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Orlando Warner
Art director: Simon Briscoe
Director: Rory Rooney
Production company: Mustard
Project: Skoda Fabia DM launch campaign
Client: Sarah Chapman, direct marketing manager, Skoda UK
Brief: Support the launch of the Skoda Fabia
Agency: Archibald Ingall Stretton
Writer: Jon Vinton
Art director: Martin Lythgoe
Exposure: Direct marketing pack to prospective and existing Skoda
Project: Flying objects
Clients: Richard Huthwaite, head of marketing, RAF; Karen Pinder,
account director, COI
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Writers/art directors: Jon Elsom, Keith Terry
Director: Vaughan Arnell
Production company: Blink
Exposure: National TV
Project: See films differently
Clients: Kirsten Stagg, marketing communications manager; Sally Chapman,
communications manager, Volkswagen UK
Brief: Raise awareness of Volkswagen's sponsorship of independent cinema
Agency: DDB London
Writers/art directors: Graeme Hall, Gavin Siakimotu
Director: Andy McLeod
Production company: Rattling Stick
Exposure: Independent cinemas
Project: Drench water
Client: Cameron Davidson, senior brand manager - water, Britvic soft
Brief: Position Drench as a water brand that is devoted to mental
Agency: CHI & Partners
Writer: Ed Edwards
Art director: Dave Masterman
Exposure: National press, radio, outdoor