So how will the credit crunch affect advertising? Which agencies won't be here this time next year? How many production companies will merge? Will purely digital agencies exist? How much more streamlined will agencies become? Heaven knows. But one thing I can tell you for sure - it's going to be tougher and tougher to make a great ad as clients get more nervous and budgets get cut.
But this is the very time that good, effective advertising can really help. And it costs exactly the same as bad advertising. So let's get down to the good and bad of this week's Private View.
First up is a DM piece for The Sun (3) fantasy football league. You are sent a wad of cash to buy up your fantasy team on the back of money-off vouchers for The Sun and The News of the World. Now this may not be award-winning direct mail, but it's very knowing of its target audience and I think it will work well.
Next we have an ad from the British Heart Foundation (4). If any brand is recession-proof it ought to be this one, as the worry of the credit crunch is sending us all to an early grave. A few years ago, the British Heart Foundation did a brilliant ad through Euro, showing the fat that congealed in the veins of smokers. It helped me give up. Then for no good reason it held a pitch for its next ad and, rather than building on a relationship, it produced a rather poor follow-up. Then another pitch. And now we have a two-minute extravaganza with Steven Berkoff telling us what a heart attack feels like. This is not a heart-stoppingly bad ad, but it's not a patch on the one from Euro. And maybe there's a lesson here for these tough times: if we act like sluts, we get treated like sluts and nobody gets great work.
Next, a print campaign from Schweppes (2) telling us to be seen with a mule this summer, a Moscow mule that is (geddit?). In each of the executions, we see a glamorous babe out on the town with an ass, which really is complete arse. However, you have to give Schweppes some credit in these credit-crunching times - it has done a packshot with a bottle of Smirnoff in the background, which I'm sure it has made co-fund this rather confusing campaign.
A campaign for Kwik-Fit (1) next. Now, I have to admit, I was rather a fan of the old talking-head campaign it used to run. It was well-branded, hard-working and nicely done. So, a tough act to follow. The new campaign uses the line "You'll be amazed what we can do", and in each commercial we see a member of Kwik-Fit staff doing something amazing for a brilliant price. This is hard-working, recession-proof stuff that is charmingly filmed and cast.
I'm not too sure what to say about the next campaign from the Home Office (5) by M&C Saatchi. It's telling us we need a licence to bring in immigrant workers. This has to be one of the most sensitive briefs of all time. M&C Saatchi has done a straightforward analogy of the hurdles an employer must clear. A well-measured answer to a difficult brief.
Finally, a campaign from the Natural Confectionery Company (6) by Fallon. Now, the other week, that nice Robert Senior slagged off our BBC campaign for the Olympics, which I was rather proud of. So I won't be saying I find this campaign very vanilla and self-indulgent, and that the production values and script are rather weak. Because if I said all that, it would sound rather petty and tit-for-tat. No, I won't say any of that. In fact, I'll say I think the ads are rather good and bound to see the brand through these chewy credit-crunching times.
CREATIVES - Ben Mooge and Andy Sandoz, creative directors, Work Club
Hello, it's us again. And again. Maybe it's a summer thing; they show weightlifting and archery on primetime TV, we get to do Private View.
Enough with the Olympics analogies, they'll be a mere ripple in the diving pool by the time this appears.
Ah. The Home Office (5) has gone straight into a hurdle-based immigration ad. It's slightly more new Liu Xiang than old Colin Jackson. Essentially, there are many hurdles to get over when employing migrant workers from "outside the European Economic Area". Is that the same as an "all-comers record"? The messages, cunningly printed on the top of the hurdles, come at the camera with such speed that you'd have a job remembering the sentence they're forming, let alone employing a migrant worker from outside the European Economic Area.
Not the personal best of Beverly Hills Cop, but always a medal hopeful as an actor who does acting, Steven Berkoff acts his, and someone else's, heart out in the latest British Heart Foundation (4) ad. No wonder the poor guy's having a heart attack, with Berkoff constantly screaming at him. However, it somehow misses the simple impact of the British Heart Foundation "belt" poster, with all the cutaways to the metaphorical smashed clocks and wrung flannels. It might have been more compelling if Mr Berkoff had acted out the heart attack himself. But maybe that would have been too much acting.
The short journey from acting to football takes us to a piece of DM from The Sun (3). It has gone down the ever topical "brown envelope stuffed full of vouchers" route to promote its new Dream Team season. Some gag attempts that never really trouble the keeper, and the whole brown envelope is at risk of being chucked away with all the other brown envelopes gathering on the coffee table.
Back on the track and up next is Schweppes (2) Ginger Ale. This is the principal ingredient of a Moscow Mule. The posters puncture the typical unholy drinks/fashion photography alliance by featuring a donkey. It's like Calvin Klein and Freddie Ljungberg all over again.
Kwik-Fit (1) - you'll be amazed what they can do. And we are. No longer the dancing goons of yore, the Kwik-Fit-Fitters are now multi-talented multi-taskers who can summon birds or speak Mandarin, as well as replace your brake-pads. They're nicely performed and the jokes aren't bad either. To be honest, we probably would have gone to Kwik-Fit anyway for our tyre-changing needs, so everything else is a bonus, and the Kwik-Fitters themselves probably love these.
Finally, the Natural Confectionery Company (6). We're ever so slightly confused by these. It's like watching the Taekwondo or the Madison cycling - no-one's told us exactly what we're watching, or what any of the rules are. In the noisy world of confectionery, nicely shot natural sweets talking naturally is fair enough, yet these seem to be trying desperately hard to be random and funny, and they just didn't make us laugh enough. Maybe this is just a training run and next time they'll reach the qualifying standard that the suicidal Creme Eggs have set.
So no gold medals in this bunch. But that's enough lazy, half-baked, false-starting, Olympic-based writing. By the way, we wrote this during the Olympics, if you hadn't noticed. I think it might have finished now.
Client: Chris Bosworth, business development and marketing director,
Brief: Communicate that Kwik-Fit has moved beyond tyres and exhausts
Writer: Dave Henderson
Art director: Richard Denney
Director: Andy McLeod
Production company: Rattling Stick
Exposure: TV, press
Project: Schweppes Mule
Client: Claire Turnbull, senior brand manager, Schweppes
Brief: Schweppes Canada Dry and Smirnoff vodka
Art director: Mother
3. THE SUN
Project: Dream Team
Client: Simon Cobby, head of CRM, News Group Newspapers
Brief: Encourage sign-up to the 2008/2009 Dream Team season
Agency: EHS Brann
Writer: Ben Gough
Art director: Thomas Craig
Exposure: Direct mail
Project: Heart attack simulator
Client: Betty McBride, director of comms and policy, British Heart
Brief: Raise awareness of heart attack symptoms and ensure people call
999 immediately upon experiencing them
Agency: Grey London
Writers/art directors: Damon Troth, Joanna Perry
Director: Brett Foraker
Production company: RSA
5. HOME OFFICE
Client: Allan Carruthers, strategic comms adviser, Home Office
Brief: Inform employers of new immigration controls to bring in migrant
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: James Lowther
Art director: Bill Gallacher
Director: Marcus Tomlinson
Production company: @radical.media
Exposure: TV, radio, press
6. NATURAL CONFECTIONERY COMPANY
Project: Contemplative sweets
Client: Martin Driver, senior brand manager, Cadbury
Brief: Launch the Natural Confectionery Company in the UK
Art director: n/s
Director: Tom Kuntz
Production company: MJZ