Who needs a theme for Private View? Themes are old hat. And old hats stink of sweat.
To get the ball rolling we have Virgin Holidays (4). Two very exciting words. So, do the two posters excite us? Not especially. The illustration style is just about different enough to catch your eye, but it's not radical. And it should be radical because the message is about adventure. Maybe Virgin should have used a different illustrator for each poster because they both look the same.
Tesco (3) is next on the list. I didn't get it. I've never really followed sport, so I assumed it was a trailer for Grumpy Old Men 2. Christen corrected me and told me it's a cool combination of tennis rivals from yesteryear. He's convinced their fascinating history secures interest levels for 30 seconds, but points out that it would've had more impact if shown during Wimbledon. But do young mums know who these men are? If not, it's a failure. If yes, it's a hit and I'm a tit.
Moving on to Woolworths (6), perhaps a shoddier shop than Tesco, but with better advertising in our opinion. Mascots with a bit of bite. Not miles away from Tetley Tea, but we couldn't give a monkey's. Well, anyway, there were some entertaining moments, and it puts the product up front. The writing is good, but slightly restrained. The dog's character could be more unusual because, at the moment, it just sounds like some bloke's voice. The best part was seeing Rolf Harris dip the sheep in paint and rub it up and down a wall as a punishment for forgetting to buy paintbrushes. Ballsy.
With the retail brands in the bag, it's time to talk Brylcreem (2). Most gel brands get strung-out at the first hurdle and insist on directly saying: "Makes your hair look more attractive to the opposite sex." Nice to see that this isn't the case here. The ad feels laidback and loose, which is not surprising really, as the endline is simply "effortless". As a message this works great because not many blokes want people to know they've spent ages on their hair. It's a hip ad that looks hip for hip people. Hip, hip, hooray.
Using a visual-illusion mechanic in an advertising poster is reasonably ambitious for Heinz (1), but, sadly, these posters don't quite cut the ketchup. They just made us feel a bit car-sick. They look a bit in-house and cheap, and the link to the word "twist" feels tenuous and traditional. As said, we don't mind loose messages, but, somehow, these feel uptight - and being both loose and uptight at once is unheard of.
Last, but not least, is the web work for Cravendale (5). Let's take a moment to reflect and remember that this is an ad for milk. So instant merit is applicable.
The work comprises an interactive web game that lets you choose your favourite character from the charming TV campaign, name it and then faff about in various landscapes, executing five different movements and five different sounds for no reason. Once you've figured out what you're doing, you can record your "hilarious" antics, edit them into a film and send them to a friend. One question: why? These template-based interactive games rarely feel flexible or personal enough to do anything that would genuinely amuse a friend. Perhaps if you could add your own voiceover or something, it'd be getting there. There are lots of web technology boxes ticked here and it all looks very vibrant, but, at the end of the day, we got bored of playing the game after a few minutes.
So that's it from us big mouths. So, until next time, it's job done, box ticked, move on.
GRADUATE PLANNER - Adrian Baxter, graduate planner, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Brylcreem (2)'s "effortless" is a lesson in how a brand in a massively oversupplied market can instil some instant kudos.
After applying Brylcreem, our hero, who was recruited through MySpace, glides effortlessly through a series of early morning actions in a single take. This sequence of smoothly executed movements is slightly reminiscent of Honda, but the simplicity and the direction of "effortless" make it immaculate.
It oozes cool and could not have got the effortless style message across to those image-conscious 18-year-olds any better. The way the backing track is revealed to have actually been played live is also a very clever touch. I really liked this, and it left me wanting to watch it more times than is probably normal.
Wow! Arghh! Errr? Heinz's (1) "twist of" ads for Tomato Ketchup are engaging and will certainly do the job of standing out from the crowd, but only for as long as the viewer's stomach can hold out.
The swirling visuals communicate the "twist of" idea, but this left me feeling just a little bit queasy - perhaps not the kind of thing you want when you are aiming to get people to try a new food product.
Overall, I wasn't that impressed with these. I was left thinking that a launch for a new product from such an established brand could have been more original - I've seen this visual device used very recently by another agency ...
Next is some stunning self-deprecation from Woolworths (6) promoting the launch of its new value range. It's suitably crap on every level and tacky wherever possible. It's brilliant.
The over-the-top canned laughter and cheap one-liners make this mock TV show really noticeable. Our two fluffy friends and the perfectly cast Rolf Harris work well in offering us Woolworths as a transparent, no frills retailer that doesn't take itself too seriously. The ad somehow succeeds in neatly putting Woolworths into its own distinct category - a position it's had problems trying to find for years.
Next we see the court rivalry between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg in the 1980 men's Wimbledon final translated to the supermarket aisles and checkouts. In an almost bipolar transformation, Tesco (3) seems to switch seamlessly from price, in its recent cold-hearted price-watch ads, to service, in these warm "one in front" service promise ads.
Nevertheless, the competition between McEnroe and Borg works really well on screen; hyperbolising our queuing frustrations and offering us a thoughtful solution. The ad is fun and suitably sensational, even down to Borg's smug foil-tray-lifting endframe grin. It may even give shoppers a non-price reason to shop at Tesco.
Virgin's explosion of vibrant colours and fun illustrations aim to communicate to families the array of exciting things they can expect from Virgin Holidays (4).
Unfortunately, I'm left thinking whether these print ads would do that job if standing alone. The explosion of colour is so, well, explosive, that it lacks any kind of focal point, and the two posters lack any real distinction, even between themselves. I suspect and hope these ads must be part of a much bigger campaign that will reveal more about Virgin Holidays.
Cravendale's (5) work left me sad and lonely, as I found myself the only character left animating my pirate shouting "Milk!" and dancing awkwardly by myself while being surrounded by a sea of dead characters (users who had got bored and stopped playing).
It's a real shame, as the idea of being able to record your own clips of the quirky and likeable characters on the actual sets from the TV ad is a good one. Unfortunately, there is no real point to playing the game; recording and watching clips of you and your friends dancing just isn't that much fun, and neither is exploring the animated world. The game says little about the brand, doesn't engage you in a brand experience, and so doesn't help to make the product distinctive or communicate Cravendale's USP. Sorry.
Project: Heinz Tomato Ketchup with a twist
Client: Caroline Clark, marketing manager for Tomato Ketchup, HJ Heinz
Brief: Introduce Heinz Tomato Ketchup with a twist
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: Neil Clarke
Art director: Jay Philips
Exposure: Six-sheets from 27 August, with additional outdoor and print
at a later date
Client: Jonathan Bull, senior brand manager, Brylcreem
Brief: Launch the "effortless" strategy
Writer: Tori Flower
Art director: Oli Beale
Director: Fredrik Bond
Production company: Sonny London
Exposure: Cinema, TV, online
Project: One in front
Client: Paula Withell, brand marketing manager, Tesco
Brief: Demonstrate that Tesco is more committed than ever to delivering
its "one in front" promise to customers
Agency: The Red Brick Road
Writer: Sam Cartmell
Art director: Jason Lawes
Director: Neil Harris
Production company: Stink
Exposure: National TV
4. VIRGIN HOLIDAYS
Project: Summer and winter DM campaign
Client: Helen Litvak, general manager CRM, Virgin Holidays
Brief: Support the new Virgin Holidays campaign with mailings to the
database of existing customers and prospects
Agency: Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw
Writers: Jim Dye, Claire Speedie
Art director: Roxie Messenger
Exposure: Direct mail
Project: Cravendale microsite
Client: Louise Barton, senior brand manager, Cravendale, Arla Foods
Brief: Allow people to interact with the Cravendale world and have a go
at making their own movies
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writers/art directors: Sam Heath, Frank Ginger
Project: Woolworths Worthit!
Client: Tony Holdway, head of brand communication, Woolworths
Brief: Launch the new Worthit! range
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Andy Brittain
Art director: Yu Kung
Director: Simon Cole
Production company: HSI
Exposure: National TV, cinema