In the olden days (and I mean olden days, running backwards away from me as I limp diabetically toward my forties, cigarette in hand and heart in mouth), people used to say that the ads were better than the telly programmes they interrupted. As every Private View needs a slightly tortuous theme, and I don't do football, let's put that to the Pepsi Challenge. In the blue corner we've got Heroes, My Name Is Earl, Gavin And Stacey and Doctor Who et al.
And in the red corner ...
That bloodless couple from the BT (5) campaign. Drained of colour by some overly enthusiastic telecine bloke and the faint embarrassment at wasting their actorly talents ("I gave up series 23 of My Family? For this?"), the two greyly mutter their way through 30 seconds of marketing stuff about free computer back-up. As she smiles saucily at the end, not even that wee twinkle is going to compete with Dexter waiting patiently for me at the other side of the ad break.
Maiden Outdoor has been driven to profligate madness by the bloody and vicious vendetta that the mayor of Sao Paulo has been waging against them, and has produced a honeyed hymn to the gaping whore's-gum ugliness that the dead 48-sheet spaces have left in the city's skyline. True, it drags on to the tipping point of interminable, but I'm convinced; posters are beautiful things that enhance the lives of us all and we're lessened without them.
But wait, hold your horses; the title at the very end tells me that actually it's all an analogy for Sky Movies (2) about not having ad breaks any more. Which, in an ad break that will probably solely appear on the Sky platform, and in a format that cries out for the magic fast-forward button on one's Sky+ handset as you whiz through to the premier of Happy Feet, feels a little hollow.
Of course, in today's crazy mixed-up marketing world, it's not just telly ads trying to cut through the deafening commercial hum and drag us away from the good stuff. There's a mail-drop here for Virgin Holidays (1) with stickers that I'll never attempt to use attached to it so I can "create my perfect holiday".
There is also a website for Dunlop (4). Tragically, the website keeps crashing my wheezing laptop and laughing hysterically as it does so, so I guess I'll never find out if injection.tv would win in a head-to-head against www.fazed.com, www.easynews.com or www.celebrityupskirt.com/britney.
You can usually rely on Bartle Bogle Hegarty to produce work that is shiny and muscular enough to square up against the toughest of commercial programming. However, the new Surf (6) ad feels a little less ripped than usual, despite some colourful CGI.
The DVD for the new TV spot for Morrisons (3) proudly carries the chirpy DLKW logo, so I was anticipating the traditional musical spectacular. A re-rendering of The Dead Kennedy's Too Drunk To Fuck, perhaps, with new lyrics about a special BOGOF on 24-packs of Stella. Sadly, it just features Denise Van Outen jiggling along with a trolley through a cornfield.
As advertisers, we have an almost Reithian responsibility to our clients to entertain, educate and inform the public. And the best of our practitioners do this on a pretty much daily basis. It's such a shame, then, that the work I got to review this week was so much less than that; all it does is make me look like a lemon-faced old git. I'm not you know. It's just my photo makes me seem that way.
SCHOOLKID - George Sampson, 13, a winner of the MTV/Department for Transport Road Safety Ad competition
First up is Sky Movies (2) billboards. At the start of the ad it tells the viewer to make a wish. Well I did, but I can tell you the last thing I was going to wish about would be "billboards".
Then it shows me "shanty-like" billboards in a deserted sort of city, and it made me think "wow, maybe somebody is going to change everything in cities like that". However, instead, it says "because we know you like your movies with no interruptions, we took away the ads". This really confused me. I mean ... who gets interrupted by billboards while they're inside watching a movie on Sky? It doesn't happen very often. And one more thing, "we took away the ads", no you didn't, you just added another one to the collection.
Surf (6). Well, it sets you off into this "luxurious" fantasy world blooming with flowers and it has a really good song to go with the feeling ... then it came to me. This is what I'm washing my clothes with if I use this Surf - "indulge your clothes with essential oils". I saw flowers, a bridge and water - no oils though. Then it says: "Gorgeous laundry for less." It doesn't mention a price, so we don't know if it really is for less, do we?
Morrisons (3). I don't get the point in this ad. The thing that came to me was that this woman likes fresh foods from Morrisons. It doesn't tell me that it's cheap or nice, it just tells me that this women likes fresh meat and fish. What's that meant to tell the viewer about the shop? The song Let It Shine just has nothing to do with this lady liking fresh meat. The words "fresh food for you" is the only point that gets to me, and she is the only woman I've ever seen pushing a trolley in a cornfield.
Dunlop (4). I wasn't sure about this one. I didn't get how it is an ad. I got on to the website and it just showed pictures of cars and told me about touch technology, but it didn't advertise anything.
BT (5) backup. A woman has lost a folder with pictures of her kids from when they were babies. Her husband/boyfriend comes in and says he will get another one. It then says: "You get a free package for six months," so if I lose a folder accidentally after six months, do I have to pay? And how do I get it back? It doesn't tell me ... it just seems a bit like a gimmick and another service in which BT can make more money. Services like these should come free, not just for six months, and they should come free with the whole package.
Virgin Holidays (1). The first impression I got from this was that it was just junk mail that I wouldn't even bother opening. I then took in mind some people would open it, so I thought I would have a look. However, when I did, I thought that there is too much writing on it. It shows holidays in hotels and sun in Florida and the Caribbean, but that's not everyone's choice of holiday. People might not like flying, or they may not have the money to fly to the Caribbean. The only thing that was positive was the fun for children with the stickers that were free inside, but then again, children don't tend to open junk mail. So that seemed a bit useless as well.
1. VIRGIN HOLIDAYS
Project: Early bookers
Client: Vicky Hales, 1-2-1 marketing manager, Virgin Holidays
Brief: Encourage existing and potential Virgin Holidays customers to
request a brochure or book a holiday for summer 2008
Agency: Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw
Writer: Jim Dye
Art director: Roxie Messenger
Illustrator: Gary Newman
Exposure: Direct mail
2. SKY MOVIES
Client: Alexandra Lewis, director of marketing and communications, Sky
Brief: Movies without any interruptions
Writers/art directors: Kit Dayaram, Tom Spicer
Director: Sara Dunlop
Production company: Home Corp
Exposure: TV, cinema
Project: Brand relaunch
Brief: Communicate that at Morrisons, we've got more people in store
making and preparing fresh food than any other supermarket
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Writer: Richard J Warren
Art director: Paul Hancock
Director: Jorn Threlfall
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV
Client: Razvan Bosomoiu, marketing manager, Dunlop EU and EMEA
Brief: Redesign the website to elevate content and improve user
Agency: Agency Republic
Writers: Abe Baginsky, Tarn Gordon-Rogers
Art director: Richard Hale
Designer: James Dow
Project: BT Total Broadband - BT Digital Vault
Client: Dominic Grounsell, head of marketing, Consumer Broadband
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Phil Martin
Art director: Brian Campbell
Director: James Griffiths
Production company: Moxie Pictures
Exposure: National TV
Client: Joao Campos, marketing director, Unilever
Brief: Launch new Surf Essential Oils
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Justin Moore
Art director: Steve Robertson
Director: Pete Candeland
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: TV in the UK and Republic of Ireland