'Tis the season for holiday advertising.
Thomas Cook (3) thinks we all deserve an extra day's holiday (take note Mr Senior), and has gone so far as to give us a free day. Hoorah! This promotion allows it to rise above simply showing smiling families frolicking in the sand and sea under an impossibly blue sky. Though it still manages to get that all in with the yellow and blue brand colours, accompanied by the track What a Difference a Day Makes. Because they set out a belief that we all deserve more holiday, there is a strong sense of the brand personality coming through.
First Choice (2) has taken a more insightful approach to holiday advertising by showing that it understands why we take holidays. In this case, to reconnect with our kids. "Oh, is that what they are trying to do?" interrupts Mr Silburn from the other side of the table. Applaud the thought, not sure if the execution has pulled it off; the performance of the dad, highlighted by shooting it in slow- motion, the set and the music all play their part in the overall effect being fake.
The Children's Mutual (4), like First Choice, tries to pull off an emotional connection between father and newborn son. In this case, it is rather more successful. A nicely performed little monologue from proud new father to son, standing at a window introducing him to the big, wide world. Ever since I became a mum, I blub at absolutely anything, and I could have started if my CD head hadn't quickly intervened and asked: "Is that it? Where's the idea?"
Innocent (1) smoothies is on air with its home-made animation style. Question: "How do you make a smoothie innocent?" Answer: By putting in only fruit. Shame it's exactly the same as the Ella's Kitchen Smoothie TV spot that is on air at the moment. I guess this is what happens when you have created a whole new category. I have loved everything Innocent has done, from Fruitstock and knitting hats to the copy on the labels ... somehow the TV has never delighted in the same way.
Nokia (5) is doing music on its mobiles. Like every other mobile company. And therein lies the problem. I first saw one of these posters on a grey day on the Wandsworth Road in Stockwell. The next one I saw was bloody massive, on a side of a building on the A4 flyover, which is how this campaign should be seen, because it looked great. The campaign itself shows mobiles with different types of pimped headsets, depicting different styles of music, all on greige backgrounds (because Sony Ericsson has taken all the brightly coloured backgrounds for itself). Reminiscent of the great Sony Walkman poster campaign of the late 80s and 90s, it is clean, simple, nicely done.
Lynxeffect.com is where you can view Lynx's (6) latest viral campaign. The videos show various chat-up techniques, shot to look like they are done for real, on unsuspecting lovely ladies under the thought: "Get in there." The best one shows a bloke going up to a table of girls in a pub and asking one of them if he can borrow her phone to make an emergency call. He reassures her that he is not going to nick it by making the call in front of her, then proceeds to dump his girlfriend on the phone, his reason being that he has just met someone in the pub. "What's her name?" he says, repeating his ex's question. "What's your name?" he asks the girl. It's funny, cheeky and perfectly laddy.
The other examples are a bit lame. A lot of them feature a "hot detector" sound effect that you can download on to your phone from the website. Is it true to the idea of the campaign? It shows the breadth of what has become one of the great advertising campaigns of the past few years. This time, the Lynx Effect is on the confidence of the blokes to chat up girls. Definitely my favourite piece of work this week.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE - Farah Ramzan Golant, chief executive, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
I love January. Yes, it's true. Everything starts anew as though for the first time. Twelve uninhabited months lie ahead, unburdened and uncontained. Time to grasp good things and make them real.
Let's start with the simply outstanding. The Nokia (5) print work that trumpets "Music Almighty" on everything in view is just that. Attention- and ear-grabbing, crafted and epic in effect. Every execution is breathtaking. You believe that it gets mobile music and there is not a hint of any androgynous model drifting down a European street projecting a sense of enjoyment. Bravo, creative team; surely you're getting ready to do the walk?
Lynx (6) has a great pedigree of offline work that owns a compelling territory, and this online offering takes its proper place in the campaign. The site provides useful gadgets, advice and inspiration for young men trying to pull. There's something for everyone - whether you're just watching the videos, downloading stuff for your phone or really getting involved and making films of you and your mates doing the monthly challenges. It doesn't take itself too seriously and is perfect for the kind of shy pubescent who is credulous enough to believe that your choice of deodorant might just get you laid.
After that, I'm afraid it's a bit of a blur, with two holiday ads that fail to capture me.
Thomas Cook (3) has come up with a smart marketing promotion, but the ad does little to highlight what a difference an extra day might actually make. Just think of the depression that sets in as a holiday ends. Well, by reverting to cliches of jolly capers on sun-drenched beaches, we have the same old, same old holiday ad. The clunky yellow umbrella mnemonic pops up all over the place, and we're looking at a missed opportunity.
First Choice (2) takes a different approach. Its ad wants you to read into the untold holiday story that gives meaning to the father and son "big hug moment". The problem is, you don't. You need elements of interest to get interested in any story. An endlessly long sequence of said heroic father's face as he watches the advance of his offspring into his arms certainly doesn't provide any.
What is it with all this father and son stuff? The Children's Mutual (4) is another spot where a father cradles his baby son. It reminded me of some truly remarkable John Hancock insurance ads from the US decades ago. They were chokingly intimate, fly-on-the-wall ads showing conversations packed full of human chemistry. They made you yearn to protect the people you love. This one nearly made it in that vein, but not quite. You're left wondering what this company does and resent the intimation "with our help" your child's future is assured. It isn't, we live in a chipped reality.
And finally, Innocent (1). What's not to like? We love the brand, we love its approach - it's all very zeitgeist. The TV is a straight demo of all this real fruit, this ethical stance, all compressed into this recyclable bottle. However, the drive to squeeze artifice from the ad, as from the product, also eliminated any charm or attitude that makes the brand so lovable. The grating Teletubby-style voice didn't help. The press ads in this campaign (not under review) did the same job admirably, as would the pack labels, store leaflets, little book of Innocent etc. Does the TV do Innocent justice?
Roll on February.
Project: How to make a smoothie innocent
Client: Sarah Gamble, campaign manager, Innocent Drinks
Brief: Show all the things that go into an Innocent smoothie: the
product, the people and the principles
Agency: Lowe London
Writers/art directors: Steve Paskin, Dan Germain
Director: Blac Ionica
Production company: Another Film Company
Exposure: TV, press, digital
2. FIRST CHOICE
Project: Arms full
Client: Andy Laurillard, head of brand strategy, Thomson & First Choice
Brief: Highlight First Choice's family focus by demonstrating the
brand's understanding of the critical role of holidays in bringing
families closer together
Agency: Beattie McGuinness Bungay
Writer/art director: Simon Bere
Director: Jackie Oudney
Production company: Rogue Films
Exposure: TV, cinema
3. THOMAS COOK
Client: Simon Carter, executive marketing director, Thomas Cook
Brief: Create a positioning that draws on everyone's increasing need for
quality time - specifically where families are concerned
Writer: Natasha Freedman
Art director: Steve Williams
Director: Marcel Gardelli
Production company: Rolling Picture
Exposure: TV, outdoor, press, online, DM
4. THE CHILDREN'S MUTUTAL
Project: First words
Client: Tony Anderson, marketing director, The Children's Mutual
Brief: Raise awareness of this ethical, child-focused brand
Writer/art director: Kirsten Everett
Director: Simon Ratigan
Production company: HLA
Project: Music almighty
Client: Will Harris, UK marketing director, Nokia
Brief: Launch new Nokia music handsets - the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic and
the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer/art directors: Fabian Berglund, Ida Gronblom
Exposure: Print, online, radio
Project: Get in there
Client: Karen Hamilton, European vice-president, marketing, Unilever
Brief: Create a consistent long-term presence for the Axe brand online
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writers/art directors: Hugo Bierschenk, Dean Woodhouse, Andy Clough,
Richard McGrann, Peter Sells
Production company: Preloaded
Exposure: Online, mobile