Muller Light (6). Two young ladies are taking a stroll in the countryside. With their diet books. When suddenly they happen upon a clay pigeon shooter. This gives the girls a bonkers idea. Unbeknownst to the shooter, they replace his clay pigeons with their diet books. PULL!!! The clay pigeon shooter blows their diet books out of the sky. He turns to the girls with a look of astonishment on his face. "You bitches. You just fucked up my clay pigeon shoot," he screams. Bursting with rage, he turns his shotgun on the girls. As they desperately flee the scene of their misdemeanour, he shoots them both, right in the buttocks. Cut to the girls nursing their wounds, dabbing ever so gently with the yoghurty side of their Muller lids. OK, so it actually ended with the astonished look from the shooter. But it just goes to show what a difference an extra ten seconds can do for an ad.
Xbox (3). A poster that shows the evolution of a football all the way from an old pig's bladder right the way through to shiny metallic Xbox logo that happens to be the same shape as a football. I guess this is saying football has evolved into a game we play sitting on our arses in front of the telly. God help us if that's true. I'll stick with the real version at the only too real Loftus Road, complete with real dog burger and real away fans' spittle. Not sure posters are the right medium for this category, and even if they are, I find this execution a little familiar and old-fashioned, which can't be good considering it's for Xbox.
The Harvey Nichols (1) campaign starts off promisingly. A beautifully adorned mannequin cowering at the imminent onslaught of the sale mob. Unfortunately, the other three ads were almost exactly the same, save for a slight change in the position of the cowering. I'll pretend I didn't see the other three and say I like it a lot.
Cadbury's Creme Egg (5). Animated eggs running around shouting "goo". Sweet enough that you don't particularly mind it interrupting your viewing of Ulrika falling apart at the seams. But not sweet enough that you'll remember it or engage with it. I feel very mean saying that. I think because you can see there's some time and effort gone in here. But I just find it nice. Sorry.
Comparethemarket.com (2) appeals to my divvy brain. An aristocratic Russian meerkat explains that his site, comparethemeerkat.com (I know, you can see what's coming, can't you? But it doesn't matter. It's one of those), is not the same as comparethemarket. com, where you can find cheaper car insurance. He does it with a charm and wit that totally makes you forgive the ridiculous pun. Not just forgive it. Rejoice in it. Good old-fashioned fun. Eons ahead of all that other compare stuff with "real" people telling you how amazing their site is. Have you seen the one where the "real" young woman says: "The new confused.com site rocks?" Out of curiosity, I went online to see for myself. It doesn't rock at all. It's functional at best. Comparethemeerkat.com, on the other hand, does rock. A wonderfully pointless timewaster that makes you think comparethemarket.com might actually have some human beings behind it.
And lastly to Virgin Atlantic (4). The point of this ad is to celebrate its 25th birthday. But that's not the point, really. The real point is to let us know it is still confident and assured in these troubled financial times and still the young whippersnapper breathing fresh life into otherwise dull and cloudy skies. It's young, cool, cheeky and sassy. And as a Virgin customer, it makes me feel young, cool, cheeky and sassy too. Ha ha, that's the power of advertising for you!
CREATIVE - Chris Clarke, chief creative officer, LBi
Whether you take your news by paper, telly, webbernet or all three, over the past few weeks you'd assume business had ground to a halt and the great, glorious whirligig of marketing and commerce had skittered into irretrievable doldrums. But when the Private View envelope arrives, I'm reassured to see there are still one or two businesses out there clinging on by their toenails.
There seems to be a rule that no insurance company is allowed to advertise without a stuffed animal. Comparethemarket.com (2) has added meerkats to a venerable list including a dog, the Admiral's parrot and Michael Winner. "Insurance is dull, ani- mals are fun" seems to be the mantra. The TV is entertaining enough, with a bizarre East European aristocratic meerkat from comparethemeerkat.com. The campaign site is as mildly funny as meerkats are, though I was sent it virally before doing this review, so, anecdotally, it's working. Overall, a decent job has been done with a tough brief.
Now here's the "Harvey Nicks (1) sale" to prove it's the beginning of the year. These are spooky and very well realised. We see mannequins in a state of despair at the sale message. I have to love the bravery of this, making dark humour of these dark times.
If sales weren't enough, it must be January if it's time for Cadbury's Creme Egg (5) ads, because with the turkey still repeating on us, we're all focused on larding up for Easter, right? This is a straightforward announcement that "the class of '09" is ready, using a class of rookie eggs and a teacher of "Gooology". I can't help feeling this lacks the product theatre of "how do you eat yours?" Let's see where they take "Gooology" in the future to make this worthwhile.
At this time of year, there's nothing more worthwhile than a diet. Muller Light (6) is here to tell the British public it's time to put fad diets to one side and focus on the serious business of eating yoghurt. It's all very life-affirming, and with healthy-looking ladies in folksy knitwear, and be-Barboured country types, this spot hopes to position the mass-produced gloop as the product of some bucolic idyll. Muller advertises relentlessly on TV, so you can only assume it works for it, but in a digitally empowered world, claims like this are easily exposed. Muller Light is not really light, and it isn't an antidote to fad diets. It's full of fructose syrup and cornstarch, as a quick web search confirms. I guess the stuff is bought by the last target audience in town who don't have a computer.
It can't be fun being an airline at the moment, but here's Virgin Atlantic (4) to distract us from that with some nostalgic escapism. With the taint of aspartame still in my mouth from the Muller spot, it's great to taste real sugar. This is what telly is for; big bold statements, as fun to shoot as they are to watch. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, brick phones, big hair and some bloke buying a Big Country LP (presumably to play on the plane with his 12-inch vinyl Walkman?). It's always nice to celebrate your birthday, and a party with Virgin is one most people want to be invited to. More than that, though, the lucrative business travel segment will feel warm and fluffy watching these vignettes unfold, whether, like me, you were the boy with his parents waiting for the internet to be invented, or whether, like the bloke with the brick, you were high on the hog at Saatchi & Saatchi.
This week's Private View also contained some Xbox (3) print. It shows the evolution of the football, from pig's bladder to the Xbox logo. It's the kind of thing you see in student portfolios. Perhaps it's a sign that, in recessionary times, computer games are so mighty that Xbox needn't try too hard.
1. HARVEY NICHOLS
Project: "Mannequins" sale campaign
Clients: Julia Bowe, marketing director; Shona Campbell, marketing
manager; Anna Davidson, marketing officer, Harvey Nichols
Brief: This winter's most coveted sale
Agency: DDB London
Writer: Mike Crowe
Art director: Rob Messeter
Photographer: Giles Revell
Exposure: National and regional newspapers
Brief: Raise brand awareness and name recall
Creatives: Matt Lloyd, Rich Connell, Clem Woodward
Director: Darren Walsh
Production company: Passion Pictures
Exposure: TV, online
Client: Murray Panel, group product manager, Xbox UK
Brief: Promote football games on Xbox 360
Agency: McCann Erickson
Writer: Neil Clarke
Art director: Jay Philips
4. VIRGIN ATLANTIC
Project: Love at first flight
Client: Breda Bubear, head of advertising and communications, Virgin
Brief: Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Virgin Atlantic
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: Pip Bishop
Art director: Chris Hodgkiss
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV
5. CADBURY'S CREME EGG
Project: Here today, goo tomorrow
Client: Jodie Bates, brand manager, Cadbury
Brief: Announce that Cadbury's Creme Egg and Cadbury's Creme Egg minis
are back on the shelf
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Rachel Donovan
Art directors: Izy Peugniez, Pablo Videla
Director: Chris Cairns
Production company: Partizan Lab
Exposure: National TV
6. MULLER LIGHT
Project: Muller Light
Brief: Carefree eating
Writers/art directors: Senan Less, Graeme Bowman
Director: Andy Margetson
Production company: Home Corp