I've just spent the past week filming Morrisons Christmas, so I'm full of festive cheer and looking forward to a sackful of lovely work.
So, hold the Queen's Speech, turn the turkey down to low and ... roll Private View.
All I want for Christmas is the new Audi (1) R8. However, I understand from my 11-year-old son, who thinks this is the coolest car since Uncle Gary's Bentley convertible, that I'll have to wait till Christmas 2010 to get one. So, you might ask, why advertise? "Because," a Christmas elf says, "this car says as much about Audi as a brand as it does about the R8 as a car." And he's right, as elves often are. This is a film that oozes Audiness, from the understated visual elegance to the dippy gorgeousness of Simone White's Beep Beep Song. Interestingly, it's a slightly feminine film for a car that has such butch credentials, and there is something about it that makes me feel a little sad, but that's probably down to the fact that I've got a Mini.
Staying in the land of Stille Nacht, and in the world of automobiles, here's a website for Mercedes (5). It's clever, informative and well designed. But it reminds me of the safety video you get on an aircraft before you take off. And I'm afraid it's as chilly as the Audi film is warm. So not quite what I'd wish for in my Christmas stocking.
Unlike the girls in this commercial for GHD (6) hair products. We see them one after another, each incanting a spell in their native tongue. It made me smile, and they've managed to show great hair in a way that doesn't scream formula. As for their film with kids, it's hilarious, and just the sort of thing I'd have sent on virally when we used to do that sort of thing in the olden days.
If you're the kind of person who likes to get the camera out over the holiday season, you might want to check out the Sony Ericsson (3) Cyber-shot website. That's where happy-slappers everywhere can download their mobile phone pics and have them voted on by people with names like Marco, Christiane and Monika. It's a kind of Eurovision Snap Contest, where - last time I checked - Marcel was leading with a massive 20 votes for his entry "Die schne Landschaften, Tiere und Blumen". As a site, it's OK, but doesn't push the digital boundaries in the way a company like Apple might.
Years ago, an ad entitled "long live the insane art director" encouraged and inspired us to think more creatively about posters as a medium. This campaign for Posterscope (2) attempts to do the same in an age where billboards on the high street are under threat from banners on the information superhighway. Somehow, I'm not sure that executions featuring lines such as "Even posters this dull get read" are going to do the trick. Some say that the poster is the purest form of advertising - a maximum of 12 words and a visual. I say bring back the insane art director, your industry needs you.
Finally, as you know, children are for life, not just for Christmas. And these simple, cleverly crafted press ads from the Department for Transport (4) endorse that message powerfully and persuasively without resorting to tactics of shock and awe. However, one child has spelt "pedestrian" incorrectly, so I hope he or she will be punished and sent to bed without any Christmas pudding or presents.
So sue me and call me Scrooge. Happy Christmas.
DIGITAL CREATIVE - Simon Waterfall, founding partner, Poke
Private view ... of public work, published publicly. Why don't you just tar and feather me now? So, at the risk of cutting off many free lunches, the use of Bob's Tuscan villa and the love I have worked so hard to hoard away for a rainy day, here goes nothing/everything.
There seems to be a tenuous thread emerging in this week's lucky dip, centred on kidz ... or at least creatives acting like them. The Department for Transport's (4) new posters for the "Think!" campaign are, as usual, up to the pull-no-punches and kick-you-while-you're-down standard that we have come to expect with COI, England's most hardcore and adventurous client. The posters read (and write) themselves, and although you can't see the series as I can, splayed out on the desk, they put a convincing message to the family centric that "if you do it, they will too". Problem is, I am single and kid-less and have no idea what they are talking about; a goddaughter in Berlin is not gonna cut it. Pull my heart-strings another way, you soulless bureaucrats.
Next, the Posterscope campaign to promote ... errr ... Posterscope (2). The Teletubbies ad especially reminds me of when I was a student. We would phone each other at all times of the day or night (preferably at 3am) and sing the first few bars of a popular "Brain Worm" to each other; the best, we found, to be any song from Nancy Sinatra or Kylie ("these boots were made for wa ..."). It pissed me off then and does so now. It's self-fulfilling, self-prompting self-abuse, or, as Kylie squawked: "I can't get you out of my head ..." But I wish you would sing a better pop song.
The two pieces of work for GHD's (6) "thy will be done" campaign had me crying with pleasure and pain. The most beautiful casting and the lovely locks on the ladies making a wish ... I am learning French, Russian and Swedish online right now. Shame I missed the English punchline as the accent's too broad. And then the brilliant simple story of what little girls are made of, jealousy and vindication wrapped up in gingham ... I loved it equally and showed it to the normally jaded digitally enhanced YouTube-warped Poke studio, who loved it as well, and then found it and blogged it immediately.
Sticking with kidz, the Sony Ericsson (3) site for its Cyber-shot phone is everything that can and does go wrong and right with user-generated content. It's a site dedicating itself to the glorification of the youth's obsession with 15 milliseconds of web fame. I urge you to go to the site now (www.sonyericsson.com/cyber-shot) and see the entry for 2 November. I can only thank Inas in Germany for sharing that and making my life that little bit shorter. And just like the web, it is full of kittens (not ninjas, I'm afraid) - see 12, 27, 29, 30 October, etc. This stuff is endlessly stuck in our screens till you quit it and go to Flickr, where you can actually get some quality content and sack off the media message. I love the idea, but it needs that great content to pull me back, and it's never gonna beat the big boys, so go play nice with them, not against them.
The last two are brilliant examples of how to spend automotive money well. Online, they account for a massive amount of spend, and it's a blessing and a curse trying to do something new and innovative, and also give the full depth of information that the user demands from a connected media. The Mercedes (5) site does it. I was on it for ten minutes, mainly trying to catch out the transitions and continuity ... but couldn't. It's really, really nice, and a pro job from bumper to bumper.
Finally is the Audi (1) R8 commercial, which, I have to say, I managed to catch on TV on my Sky+ box, and far from skipping it as God (Murdoch) intended, I played it successively till the DVD turned up in the post from Campaign and I ripped it. It's a beautiful car and the ad comes perilously close. "The slowest car we have ever built ..." Send me one now Audi; I promise more people will see me in it than see it on Sky+.
Project: The slowest car we've ever built
Client: Peter Duffy, head of marketing, Audi UK
Brief: The Audi R8 is the slowest car Audi has ever built
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Creative team: Andy Clough, Richard McGrann
Director: Olivier Gondry
Production company: Partizan
Project: Posters fight back
Client: Glen Wilson, deputy managing director, Postercope
Brief: Illustrate the full creative and interactive potential of the
Agency: Dye Holloway Murray
Writer/art director: Dave Dye
Exposure: 96-, 48-, six-sheets, golden squares, digital escalator
panels, lenticulars, cross tracks and Tube cards
3. SONY ERICSSON
Project: Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot
Client: Sony Ericsson
Brief: Promote the Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot phone's photo-editing
Writer: Yasmin Quemard
Art directors: Claus Stengel, Darrio Stengel
4. DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT
Project: Copy cat
Clients: Emma Rundle, publicity team head; Glyn Robinson, campaign
Brief: Encourage mums and dads of four- to 11-year-olds to recognise
that they are responsible for their children's road safety behaviour and
that they teach their kids one thing and do another
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers/art directors: Richard Brim, Dan Fisher
Exposure: Press, radio, online
Project: The Anatomy on Pro-Safe
Client: Richard Payne, marketing communications manager, Mercedes-Benz
Brief: Drive home the fact Mercedes still goes further than anyone else
in using its Pro-Safe technology to provide the ultimate passenger
Agency: Agency Republic
Writer: Gavin Gordon-Rogers
Art director: Gemma Butler
Project: Thy will be done
Client: Sarah Deakin, group marketing director, GHD
Brief: Maintain GHD's position as the most desirable hair and beauty
Creative team: Kyna Griffiths, Jennie Birchall
Production company: Annex
Exposure: National TV, cinema, online