I think there is a new Bond film out. I could be wrong but that Daniel Craig is everywhere. Entertaining us (not) on Jonathan Ross, pouting down from posters and staring in Sony's (5) TV ad for HDTV.
This spot is beautiful for its simplicity. Close-up on Craig (so far, so good), pull out to a midshot of Craig (very pleasant), and move into a ... close-up of Craig (nice). Throughout the whole ad we are watching him reacting to various explosions, flames of fire, glass walls blasting all over the place, all in slow motion, all in wonderful high definition.
I first saw this ad in a break that was directly followed by an ad for the Camelot (3) Lottery Bond scratchcards. Ouch. Lottery Bond is an unlikely secret agent. Slightly cumbersome as he navigates Monte Croydon's rooftops, before dropping into a casino via its glass roof, and collecting his martini, shaken. "Be more Bond and win big." The name's Tenuous, Very Tenuous. In the battle of the Bonds; Sony Bond, 007; Lottery Bond, 002.
Not to be outdone in the sponsorship stakes, Sony Ericsson (6) has got in on the act. At www.sonyericsson.com/bond you can download stuff, check out latest kit, win stuff and play spy games. I've always felt my alternative career should have been working for Her Majesty's Secret Service as a spy, so I thoroughly enjoyed playing this, although Monsieur Levy, whose service I am really in, maybe wouldn't appreciate the timesheets spent on it. This is fun, looks good and ties up lots of odd loose bits of product and promotions. 004.5. Sponsorships are a tricky subject. A franchise such as Bond has been fairly promiscuous with its associations; it has always led the way in product placement. And for brands such as Sony and Sony Ericsson it makes perfect sense; though, for agencies, it is often more difficult to make sense of it in advertising and communications. Sometimes it can provide differentiation in areas where brands are all saying the same thing; other times, it manages to create a sea of sameness where previously there was differentiation.
Now B&Q (4) (Bond and his gadget-inventing friend). Yes, I'm afraid I've started with the theme, and so I will finish. This campaign features "staff" (nothing new there) at home rehearsing their lines. Cunningly repeating and, therefore, imprinting on our memory a five-year interest-free credit offer. We then cut to reveal the B&Q staffer repeating their lines for the camera in-store. These are nicely executed, hard-working retail ads. 003.5.
Stella Artois' (1) latest posters for 4% seek their style inspiration from the Pussy Galore era. Capturing the mood of the French Riviera in the early 60s, the posters purr "la nouvelle smooth". Coming from Stella, which has made such strides in bringing back classic poster art (or do I really mean the art of the poster?), in recent years, this is a disappointment. 002.
Nike's (2) print ads for ACG captures adrenaline-fuelled snowboarders and skiers doing their thing in the dark of night. These natural-born snow junkies are caught on camera with other nocturnal species by a wildlife photographer who recounts the moment in the copy: "Sometimes you wait for hours for a moment like this. A solid backside 180 kicking off a twisted, half-broken rainbow." Stunts worthy of any Bond, even outdoing Roger Moore's famous opening ski chase in The Spy Who Loved Me, though you'd have to go some way to beat that yellow all-in-one suit. The great photography gives this campaign the edge over this week's selection. 008.
Now I'm off to the cinema to watch Mr Craig in action.
CREATIVE - RORY SUTHERLAND, VICE-CHAIRMAN, OGILVY GROUP UK
One of the most useful things you learn in your first week as a creative is the principle of concentrating your inventiveness in one place. So if you have a funny headline such as "Lemon", you accompany it with a straightforward picture of a car. And if you have a funny picture (perhaps a man lying underneath a psychiatrist's couch), then you make the line fairly direct. It's the reason creative people work in pairs. Sit them apart and everything would end up clever, with the result that ads would be incomprehensible. In fact, you can be as unoriginal as you like so long as you do one thing brilliantly well: no-one cares that Shakespeare nicked his plots.
This relationship also applies to strategy and execution. Got a brilliant strategy such as "the fourth emergency service"? Then do some straight ads. Alternatively, take a really old strategy (testimonials, say) and execute it as never before. One reason Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury & Partners was such a creative force was because they worked in parallel. So they could all agree to be clever in one place at a time, rather than vainly trying to do clever-clogs ads to a clever-clogs strategy.
B&Q (4) has followed the HHCL approach rather well. The boring task? Tell 'em about the interest-free credit. The spectacularly unoriginal vehicle? Use the staff. Here, all the originality goes into subverting the format, producing postmodern testimonials that are all the more believable because the staff seem fallible, and hence likeable and true to life (rather as Mr Blackcurrant Tango seemed somehow more realistic because he was a bit fat). It's well cast (the female B&Q employee is even Welsh, adding an unexpected erotic touch), though, personally, I'd tone down the collective jollity at the end - it's the one thing that seems forced.
Stella Artois (1) seems to me to be doing fairly straight ads in support of a brand new strategy: make Stella seem sophisticated once again by using 60s French Mediterranean imagery to emphasise its Proven(an)ce. My only problem is that Stella is actually not French, but Belgian. But then a beer campaign featuring Tintin and child abduction may not play too well with the ASA.
The Nike (2) work I like more. Even though my base-jumping days are long past, I find the device linking extreme sports and night-time wildlife photography works well. The copywriter can truly write, too (you'll have to take my word for this since Campaign, in line with long-standing tradition, will obviously reproduce these ads so all copy is totally illegible).
Now the three Bond-related ads. And, at this point, I wish Howell Henry were around to challenge the leaden conventions of sponsorship (as with "Irn Bru - officially a drink during Euro '96"). No-one here does. Sony's (5) HDTV ad is seemingly driven by the insight that the only time HD looks appreciably better than normal TV is when you show very, very small things moving very, very slowly. But then you wouldn't appreciate that unless you already had an HDTV, in which case you wouldn't need a new one. And why would you show an ad for a TV to coincide with a film's theatrical release, rather than its launch on DVD? As for the Camelot (3) ad, it begins with a cute enough idea to contrast the real world with Bondworld, but underplays its hand. In fact, the Sony Ericsson (6) website is the most successful of the three since it does at least link the product to the world of Bond. One of the downloadable applications - the spycam - is also rather cool.
One last observation on when not to be original. I couldn't help noticing we have here a Stella ad without "reassuringly expensive", a Nike ad without "just do it" and a Sony ad without "like no other". Three properties gone at a stroke? As we classicists like to say, "ars longa, vita brevis". Roughly translated, that means "brands last for ages; marketing directors don't".
1. STELLA ARTOIS
Project: Stella Artois 4%
Client: Adam Oakley, marketing director, UK, InBev
Brief: Launch Stella Artois 4%
Art director: Mother
Exposure: National poster campaign, selected magazines
Project: All Conditions Gear
Brief: Capture the athletes in their natural environment to reflect the
ease with which they cope with the harshness of the terrain
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Writer: Mike Farr
Art director: Pierre Janneau
Photographer: Mark Zibert
Project: James Bond: Quantum of Solace scratchcard
Clients: Richard Bateson, controller of game development and
scratchcards; Lynda Archer, senior product manager, Camelot
Brief: Launch Quantum of Solace-branded scratchcard
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Milo Campbell
Art director: Andy Lambert
Director: Andy Lambert
Exposure: National TV
Project: Breakfast table
Client: Jo Kenrick, marketing and customer proposition director, B&Q
Brief: Re-launch the "staff" campaign for the modern retail market
Agency: JWT London
Writer: David White
Art director: George Hepburn
Director: Russell England
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV
5. SONY HD
Project: Quantum of Solace
Client: Susan Jurevics, vice-president of corporate marketing, Sony
Corporation of America
Brief: Sony's range of HD products shows you new levels of detail
Writer: Phil Cockrell
Art director: Graham Storey
Director: Baillie Walsh
Production company: Home Corp
6. SONY ERICSSON
Project: Directive C902
Client: Cathy Davies, director of global marcoms, Sony Ericsson
Brief: Create a digital campaign that leverages Sony Ericsson's
association with Quantum of Solace
Agency: Iris Digital
Writer: Matt Hallett
Art director: Bill Adcock
Director: Rob Adderley
Exposure: Digital across 42 countries