He's a lumberjack, and while he may seem on the face of things to be okay, his ability to both sleep all night and work all day is being severely tested.
Yes, he cuts down trees. Sure, he eats his lunch. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if (in the YouTube posting of the Director's Cut) he goes to the lavatory. But there's trouble at t'lumbermill. And while we've no evidence to suggest that he skips and jumps, wears high heels, suspendies or a bra, sadly, as we are soon to discover, neither does his missus.
No, her grundies are of the Double "R" rated Aguileran Dirrty variety, as she's been living in the same pair since she was chained to a 60-foot cedar tree three weeks earlier by her old mate, George The Hoffmeister Bear. In short, he's a bit of a logger. And she's a dirty hugger.
Now I know what you're thinking: utterly mis-matched arborially obsessed couple at loggerheads? Time to call the local branch of HSBC (2). And you'd be right. In steps the multinational and before you can say "convoluted strategic thinking or what?", the issue is resolved. She's wrapped her legs round his velvet rims and they're motor-sicklin' into the sunset, him in the hope of getting wood and her fumbling furtively for his chopper. Aren't couples crazy?
But soft. First Cactus Kid, now lumberjack and Jill. Could this be the creeping Redneck-ification of British advertising? Sarah Palin? Moosehunter. Michael Palin? Lumberjack. I smell conspiracy. I've seen the future and it has a very red neck. Heck, we're 36 days, a few hanging chads and a heartbeat away from the most powerful person on the planet being a woman who shoots her own food, believes the earth is 25 minutes old and labels her offspring Log, Clump and Wagonwheel. Be afraid.
Alternatively, if you're reading the new bmi (3) print campaign, be a bit bored.
In January 1996, I boarded a Number 30 bus at King's Cross station to travel home after a particularly gruelling day spent arguing the toss over Eva Herzigova's breasts. Within two minutes of taking my seat, I was joined by a pair of norks of an altogether less sunny disposition. One sat a little too close for comfort while the other put an eight-inch blade to my throat. They took 40 quid from my wallet, laughed at the cheap, un-nickability of my watch and scarpered at the next stop. To this day I thank my lucky stars that some have-a-go Herbert didn't leap in and attempt to Do Good. Had they done so, I'd have been starring in my own version of Face/Off, a full 12 months before its Hollywood release.
The solution to knife crime lies in the shaky hands of the knifer, something wisely recognised by the Metropolitan Police (6) in their harrowing "consequences will follow" campaign. I wish them every success with it. Before the 27th Londoner this year fails to get the lucky break I got.
On a more serious note, isn't it time they evicted the peanut Revel? I mean. Chocolate. And nuts? In the same mouth? I've always thought that chocolate and nuts go together like, ooh, lumberjacks and tree huggers. Fred Astaire and Ginger Baker. Taxi drivers and the human race. They just don't. So it was with gusto that I went to www.revelseviction.com (4). Great site. But imagine my horror when the words "Voting Now Closed" popped up. Who went? Somebody else decided.
Peperami (5), eh? Still ranting after all these years. I donno. No, I don't. Really.
The brief was "we're opening a shop in Bristol". (Hmm.) The client was Harvey Nichols (1). (Ooh.) The result was enough to make me take out my logger's bandsaw and lop off my own head with jealousy. Print campaign of the year. You beauties.
PLANNER - Laurence Green, chairman, Fallon
Private View is our industry in microcosm: enduringly subjective, occasionally catty, generally fair, a triumph of hope over experience. You hope for six belters in the creative bran tub, a Somers Town or a Hovis. You learn to recalibrate.
I'd seen the bmi (3) advertising in the FT (Rich always gives me his copy when he's finished with it). In that context, the best I can say is that it's perfectly appropriate, albeit no oil painting. Under Private View's unusual scrutiny, however, it doesn't last long, tossing me two tennis balls when I can rarely return even one. Bmi as the business airline (where did that come from?) meets "Sale Now On!" The advertising crime on the surface masks a deeper-rooted problem: these look like leisure tactics for a business audience to me. I look forward to seeing these briefs attacked separately, with The Economist and "World Offers" as the obvious North Stars.
I'd seen the Revels (4) eviction idea too, this time on-pack, for which, hurray: it's a place where too few big ideas and too many small ones land. It's perfect for a brand once described as chocolate roulette and, I dare say, for its audience. The exposed white underbelly, of course, is the reminder that there's always one flavour you don't like. (Maybe chocolate bran tub is sunnier shorthand?) The website, sadly, adds another flavour I don't: "English Eccentric", straight from advertising central casting.
Onwards and westwards, to the fair city of Bristol and the new Harvey Nichols (1) store, as brought to us by those famous West Country natives, er, Wallace and Gromit. There are two basic assumptions, or assertions, at play here. The first is that the good folk of Brizzle do indeed count our Plasticine friends as their own, despite Wigan's counter-claims. The other, that they will extrapolate away successfully to high fashion from a Claymation clothesdog. If these assumptions are correct, then these are good posters and Gromit pulls it off. Challenge those assumptions and they're not. Such is the fragility of our trade.
Into the home straight. Peperami (5) needn't detain us. It's a Life on Mars-style blast from our collective advertising past. Trust me: you've seen this, even if you haven't. A bit of an animal slowly turning into a bit of a bore. You've always been straight with me, Peperami, so I'm giving it to you straight. Creme Egg is eating your advertising lunch. Come on, salami boy, time to get up off the canvas.
From a campaign that's not moving on, to one that, happily, is. HSBC (2) is busy bending away from straight line interpretations of "world's local bank" towards richer, albeit more elusive, turf: recognising how people value things differently. This latest spot features eco-warrior quite literally at loggerheads with lumberjack, adds narrative twist and a delicate reconciliation. It's beautifully scored, with much left unsaid and much asked of the audience, for better and for worse. As a result, and although I can no longer tell you why, I think more highly of HSBC.
Last, but not least, to more important matters, and an extreme example of the sort of job it's unfair to ask advertising to do on its own. I hesitate to knock any attempt to reduce knife crime, especially one as well-intentioned and well-realised as this. "Ignorance of the consequences" is, I'm sure, a legitimate startpoint if no panacea: the photo of her dying son released this week by Grace Idowu carried extraordinary weight. By contrast, I doubt that this film for the Metropolitan Police (6) is visceral, real or arresting enough to make much of a difference to such entrenched, terrifying and terrified behaviour. I fear consciences will be salved while knives remain unsheathed. And, obviously, very much hope I'm wrong.
Thus uplifted, we turn our gaze back to the credit crunch and the recession that we already find ourselves in. Could be a long old soak in Sorrell's bathtub, I reckon.
1. HARVEY NICHOLS
Project: Wallace and Gromit Bristol launch campaign
Clients: Julia Bowe, marketing director; Shona Campbell, advertising and
promotions manager; Mimi Morrish, marketing officer, Harvey Nichols
Brief: Launch the new Harvey Nichols store in Bristol
Agency: DDB London
Writer: Grant Parker
Art director: Grant Parker
Exposure: Outdoor, regional press
Client: Heather McCracken, group brand communications manager, HSBC
Writer: Dinesh Kapoor
Art director: Michael Ashley
Director: Vince Squibb
Production company: Gorgeous Enterprises
Exposure: National TV
Project: Bmi better for business sale
Client: Katherine Gershon, marketing director, bmi
Brief: Relaunch and reposition bmi as the business airline, commencing
with the September sale
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writers: Alan Jarvie, Matt Beaumont
Art director: Alan Jarvie
Exposure: National and regional press
Project: Revels eviction
Client: Roberto de Felice, brand manager, Revels
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Paul Knott
Art director: Tim Vance
Director: Jamie Lane
Production company: Great Guns
Exposure: National TV, internet
Project: Tender and exfoliate
Client: Noam Buchalter, marketing manager, Peperami
Brief: Remind blokes that Peperami is the perfect snack for them
Agency: Lowe London
Writers: Seb Housden, Ben McCarthy
Art directors: Seb Housden, Ben McCarthy
Director: Darren Walsh
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: National TV
6. METROPOLITAN POLICE
Project: Anti-knife crime
Client: Kirsten Ross, campaign manager, Metropolitan Police Service
Brief: Communicate the wide-reaching consequences of carrying and using
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Nick Bird
Art director: Lee Smith
Director: James Griffiths
Production company: Moxie Pictures
Exposure: Music TV, Kiss, Choice, youth online, school posters, flyers,
London ambient events