Mr and Mrs, be nice to each other. Mr and Mrs, we've got to love one another.
A: Our new life together has begun, and we couldn't be happier. And, of course, when you start a new relationship you can't help but see the world differently. Everything looks a little bit rosier, a little bit brighter. Doesn't it, darling?
T: Absolutely sweetie. I'm so positive about the future I could weep. And to top it all off those lovely people from Campaign have sent us lots of work to look at. Do you want to go first?
A: No you.
T: You are a love ... Smooth Radio (3) shows striking images of people's faces cleverly obscured by album covers. It's a good device to show the sort of music you can expect to hear on the station, but if I'm honest the effect on TV is strangely unemotional. Maybe it would be more engaging online? I'm sure it won't be long before the talented people at DHM will have a user-generated version, where listeners can upload their own sleeve-obscured faces and blog about it to their heart's content.
A: Maybe we could put All My Life by KC and Jo Jo on there. Remember our first dance?
T: Stop it.
A: Oh, this is lovely. McDonald's (6). Lots of kiddywinks running around on an allotment with their parents, digging and planting and stroking worms. There's a lot of care and attention here. Skilfully directed, well crafted. Is the resolution a bit thin? Perhaps, but the whole thing has a nice feel to it. Tom, I'm feeling broody.
T: Shhh, naughty. The MasterCard (5) ad is really good: a brilliant track and a great idea executed with feverish enthusiasm. I particularly like the manic sky full of aeroplanes as the crowd jet off to their holiday destinations. It reminds me of that honeymoon you promised me ...
A: Not now dear. We have to finish this first. Now, we like hugging, don't we? And so does the guy in these Coca-Cola (4) idents. Bit bored with football football football, but I did laugh. There's a madness here that is hard to pull off. I especially like the giant cymbal- playing monkey, and the very tall man. No, of course I don't like him more than you, Tommykins.
T: Phew, I was getting worried for a minute. Oh, actually I am still a bit worried. What's this Sony Ericsson (1) thing? Click on a banner and watch a Flash animation woman jump off a cliff? I think it's about capturing exciting moments on your camera phone, but it's not very exciting really. Not like you, Ads ...
A: Flatterer. I've just got one of these BlackBerry (2) things. Tom's forever sending me little messages on it. At all hours. Brimming, he is. Which I adore, of course. Who wouldn't? These ads, I'm afraid, I'm less keen on.
T: What a shame. Everything was going so well at the beginning and then it just went downhill towards the end. I hope that's not some sort of omen ... Adam, if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times, keep your stuff on your side of the desk.
A: Piss off.
MEDIA CHIEF - Dominic Proctor, worldwide chief executive, MindShare
Even my parrot knows that the challenge now is to get real cut-through (it always was). Most of this week's victims didn't quite meet the challenge, but at least they tried.
First up is a poster for BlackBerry (2). It needed to be a poster because the small print disclaimers run to 102 words! Unbelievable. You can imagine why pharmaceuticals or pensions need that much small print ... but a wireless device?! Above the small print it is a straightforward and engaging execution, presumably aimed at busy multi-tasking travellers. No doubt the BlackBerry has a million great features, but I can't help but think that the best way to sell them is to just give them free to the big bosses so the rest of us have to buy one just to keep up. I know. I work for Sir Martin. It's relentless.
Next is a spot for McDonald's (6). I hadn't seen it before and as it unravelled elegantly through a soft lens, I would have guessed it was for Waitrose or Marks & Spencer. I suppose this was the intention as it is a real departure from this advertiser's normal style so it will be really interesting to see if McDonald's can keep it going. It will, of course, be the classic struggle between long-term repositioning and selling stuff tonight. By the way, it has good music, too (called Whistle Stop, I'm informed), which is increasingly important to cut through (think Lloyds TSB). Overall, this is a big leap for McDonald's. The chain needs to stick with it for it to work in the market.
I found the Sony Ericsson (1) digital piece harder to create its own cut-through. It's not just this campaign, but the majority of digital campaigns are playing it safe, when they could be pushing all the boundaries. Online is probably the most flexible platform for reaching consumers and the online audience is the one we have to capture to stay relevant. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing the industry raise the bar to meet the consumer's demands in online. The challenge is to build brands in the online space as there are too few examples of brands built online and this will limit future revenue growth.
More good cut-through music on the MasterCard (5) spot for holiday travel, as from the first few seconds you recognise School's Out by Alice Cooper, but the rest didn't quite live up to that promise. The adult/child routine didn't quite hit the bull's-eye in the way it did in its very own "you're fired" spot, full of offspring sacking their parents. Still, I like the "priceless" campaign and the way it has moved it along and stuck with it and applied it to other communication channels.
It is what they do for a living so Smooth Radio (3) had the best reason of all to use cut-through music tracks as you would expect from a radio station. But the spot completely failed, and it's a great shame, because using famous album covers over various body parts is a neat idea and a nice way to show the "product". Sadly let down by Hall & Oates.
Finally, comes Coca-Cola (4). Placed around the Euro 2008 footy, they have three different ten-second ads in the same break. Goals get scored, Coke drinker in bar embraces nearest random freak. Of the 12 I saw, only two were funny in the laddish lavatory humour of the target audience (pissing boy and giant trouser crotch). So the media usage tried to cut through by mixing it up, but the creatives should have spent more time in the pub, observing real people. Most don't need to be told that, whatever the brief.
1. SONY ERICSSON
Project: Sony Ericsson C902
Client: Cathy Davies, director, global marketing communications, Sony
Brief: Create a digital campaign to support the launch of the C902
Writer: Nicky Palamarczuk
Art directors: Matt Firth, Vicky Ghose, Fabiana Xavier
Designers: David Boleas, Jamie Green, David McNulty, Pavel Fernandez
Project: BlackBerry Enterprise
Client: Research in Motion
Brief: Show that BlackBerry understands the unique challenges faced by
managers in small- to medium-sized businesses
Writer: Aimee Lewis
Art director: Liz Moss
Exposure: Print UK and Europe
3. SMOOTH RADIO
Client: Susan Brown, head of marketing Smooth Radio
Brief: Celebrate the passion for music that Smooth Radio shares with its
Agency: Dye Holloway Murray
Writers/art directors: Ollie Wolf, Janson Choo, Gary Anderson, Tony
Production company: Onesix7 Productions
Exposure: National TV, outdoor, press, buses, taxis
Project: The Unhuggables
Client: Ricardo Miquelino, advertising group manager, Coca-Cola Football
Brief: Push Coca-Cola's sponsorship of the European Championship by
celebrating the spontaneity of a goal hug
Agency: Santo London
Writer: Pablo Minces
Art director: Pablo Minces
Director: Andres Fogwill
Production company: Che Revolution Post
Exposure: TV idents
Project: Cross-border campaign
Clients: Rita Broe, head of marketing, UK and developed markets; Ben
Rhodes, business leader, brand marketing, MasterCard UK
Brief: Money can't buy the sense of excitement you feel when you are
just about to go on holiday
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer/art director: Jason Stewart
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
Project: Family brand campaign
Client: Jo Webster, senior marketing manager, McDonald's
Brief: Promote McDonald's Happy Meals
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers: Chris Birch, Daniel Fisher
Art directors: Caroline Rawlings, Richard Brim
Director: Tony Barry
Production company: Academy Films
Exposure: National TV