The young girl who sits in the rocking chair on the Frijj (2) website looks like an emo. I can't be entirely sure but, after consulting my Daily Mail, I am fairly sure she is a goth of some kind. Click on a designated part of the page and, in a gothic-horror kind-of-way, she pours Frijj over a model of a cityscape. You are then treated to a film, in a 50s horror style, of a giant blob of Frijj which attacks people, very slowly, a bit like the Marmite blob a few years ago - but slower.
You can also make your own movie and enter the Frijj film festival. When I went to its YouTube channel to watch some of the movies, there weren't many and none were any good. Someone had even posted the comment: "Thats the rubishest vidio eve wors than jammy117s vids." I'm not familiar with the work of jammy117 but this criticism felt a little heavy-handed, yet not entirely untrue.
The boy in the Persil (6) commercial lives in a cupboard and wears a robot suit. He breaks free of his dark domain and his metal suit falls away, he then plays in a puddle in his back garden. At first I thought he was wearing the metal suit to protect himself from knife-crime, then I realised it was an analogy. It's very enjoyable in an AI meets Forrest Gump type of way. I also like the line, "dirt is good", but it does depend which side of the garden fence you're on. I don't think many of the young mothers I see in Sarf London would agree with me. In fact, I would probably need roboboy's metal suit to get home in one piece.
There's lots of crime in Specsavers' (5) idents for Gok's Fashion Fix, but this time it's fashion crime. Incidentally, someone has just informed me that Gok is spectacle wearer of the year, so it makes sense for Specsavers to sponsor his show. But this idea has one drawback for me. The clothes that are featured in the fashion crimes all look like they are from a trendy Hoxton boutique and the so-called fashion police investigating the crimes are wearing Marks & Spencer.
The Muller (4) commercial is full of people in the country, passing a glass of milk along a human chain to the Muller dairy with the claim that all their milk comes from Shropshire, "From farm to yoghurt in only twenty-four hours." It's quite clear after looking at this commercial how Muller achieves this impressive fact. After being passed from person to person, this glass of milk could have enough bacteria and have been churned enough in the hot sun to be yoghurt before it even arrives at the dairy.
Famously, the Lawn Tennis Association doesn't run advertising at Wimbledon. HSBC (1) has cleverly sneaked through the side-door by making a billboard out of grass. This trojan poster looks like a tennis court but is actually an ad. HSBC enlisted the artists Ackroyd and Harvey to recreate one of their artworks, but this time with tennis-related people in the scenes. It's a brilliant technique, it just leaves you wondering who these people are. However, after looking more closely at Ackroyd and Harvey's work, I think I might have stumbled on something that could possibly save the world from the food crisis: vertical farming. We can stop making ads and turn poster sites into cornfields.
Finally, the Digital UK (3) TV commercial is to help us understand how to turn our sets over to ... err ... digital. It features a friendly android as a van driver's mate, who travels the country to the sounds of Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin'. I can see what they are getting at. It needn't be complicated; technology can be friendly and cute. The downside, however, is that all this android technology is putting real van drivers' mates out of work. Such a shame. With that and all the emos about these days, what is the world coming to?
EDITORIAL - Dylan Jones, editor, GQ
Like an increasing number of people, I hardly see any ads on TV anymore, principally because I've got Sky+ and the only things I watch live on television are sport and news. And as I rarely go to the cinema (I've got Lovefilm, which delivers films to my door), I don't see cinema ads either. (My wife and I took my youngest daughter to see Kung Fu Panda a few weeks ago, and, after buying some sweets and a Diet Coke, the whole experience cost me £45 - so why would anyone go to the cinema?)
Ads in newspapers and magazines I see all the time, but then that's because I read a lot of newspapers and magazines.
So, I would have thought that the quality of TV and film ads would have increased accordingly, in the hope of enticing more people to watch the box, but judging by the batch I got this week, maybe not. But then, maybe August is as slow in the advertising world as it often can be in the magazine and newspaper world.
So, the Specsavers (5) ads for Gok's Fashion Fix I thought were mediocre, to say the least. Not bad, just mediocre. As fashion insecurity is one of the easiest things to lampoon, I would have thought that the brief would have been a wonderful thing to exploit, the sort of thing that makes you laugh and makes you wonder about your own sartorial shortcomings too. These ads aren't either, and don't warrant repeat viewings.
The Muller (4) ad makes a great virtue of the local Shropshire milk used to make its yoghurt and, as such, is a fairly wholesome message, with various local residents passing a glass of milk to each other. It's alright, the scenery is quite nice, but the whole ad relies on a song by Nina Simone. It's a great song, but does an ad really have to rely on its music to make you watch it these days?
I did, however, quite like the Persil (6) ad. It's clever, rather moving and shot extremely well. Also, when you first watch it, you don't groan when you get to the money shot, and you somehow feel it's OK for Persil to be the beneficiary of this wonderful celebration of nature.
The ad for Digital UK (3) is similar to the Persil ad in that it allows us to wallow in our glorious surroundings, using that tried and tested formula of "advanced new product = life-affirming transformation". Bizarrely, it also uses a similar device, but instead of a boy dressed up as a tin man, this time we get the old "for mash get Smash" robot.
Elsewhere, the digital ads for Frijj (2) are quite convoluted and I'm not sure I really understand their point. Are they sold in cinemas? The ads aren't the worst in the world, but I don't think they have any great synergy with the product. But then, they look like they're probably aimed at kids anyway.
The HSBC (1) ad was a piece of outdoor advertising that was erected in the Wimbledon car-park during the recent tennis championships. It shows three of the Wimbledon fold superimposed over panels full of growing grass seeds, so, I gather, the grass grew during the fortnight, like some sort of outdoor art installation. Quite clever if you were there, I suppose, and you happened to use the car-park, but why does HSBC feel the need to do this sort of stuff?
I'm normally an optimistic, glass-half-full type of person, and I don't like being negative (especially when commenting about something I'm not an expert in), but the quality of the ads I was asked to judge this week was really quite poor. Maybe if I had seen their newsprint versions, I would have liked them more.
Project: Wimbledon artwork Ackroyd & Harvey
Client: Heather McCracken, brand communications manager, HSBC
Brief: Leverage HSBC's partnership with the Wimbledon Championships in
Agency: JWT London
Writers: Laurence Quinn, Phillip Meyler
Art directors: Mark Norcutt, Darren Keff
Exposure: Wimbledon Championships
Project: Four Ridges must be destroyed
Clients: Richard Tolley, group marketing director; Mike Smith, group
brand manager; Oliver Dickson, brand manager, Frijj
Brief: Improve brand affinity among the target audience of 16- to
Agency: Grey London
Writer: Alex Mavor
Art director: Ed Kaye
Director: Tomorrow's Brightest Minds
Production company: One Small Step
Exposure: Viral, online, experiential
3. DIGITAL UK
Clients: Beth Thoren, director of communications; Matt Elliott,
advertising and sponsorship manager, Digital UK
Brief: Communicate the three easy ways to switch to digital
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writers: Mark Tweddell, Simon Welch
Art directors: Tony Hardcastle, Matt Welch
Director: Ric Cantor
Production company: Insider
Exposure: TV, online
Project: Milk relay
Client: Chris McDonough, UK marketing director, Muller
Brief: Demonstrate Muller's dairy credentials
Writers: James Gilham, Graham Cappi
Art directors: James Gilham, Graham Cappi
Director: Joe Roman
Production company: Knucklehead
Project: Gok's Fashion Fix idents
Client: Richard Holmes, marketing director, Specsavers
Brief: Sponsorship idents for Gok's Fashion Fix
Agency: Specsavers Creative
Writer: Graham Daldry
Art director: n/s
Director: James Haworth
Production company: Another Film Company
Project: Every child has the right
Client: Aline Santos, global brand vice-president, Unilever
Brief: Bring to life the Omo "dirt is good" strategy
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Alex Grieve
Art director: Adrian Rossi
Director: Philippe Andre
Production company: Bikini