Right, the first thing I should own up to is: I'm not feeling very positive today. I've just spent my journey in listening to the Today programme, which has done nothing but fill me with woe. We live in, as they say, "interesting times"; hopefully something in this week's bag of Private View can do something to lift my mood.
My first observation before even looking at any of the ads is that very few of them are for proper FMCG products. Maybe that's a sign of the times too.
First up we have something from the British Heart Foundation (4). Now, I'm not really sure if this is a TV spot or viral or what. Not that that's meant to matter these days. In it we see a beating heart around which a load of nicely animated type explains to me how important my heart is and how the British Heart Foundation is out there to support us. Now, I don't want to be too rude about this as I think they may have sent a PowerPoint presentation by mis-take; it's certainly not in the same league as the last spot I received starring Steven Berkoff.
Next up we have another charity, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (5). The spot opens on the empty set of the Cadbury's "gorilla" ad. We hear the sound of silence, the camera closes in on the empty drummer's seat and up pops a title telling me: "A world without gorillas is closer than you think." To my mind, a world without self-indulgent spoofs of the "gorilla" ad cannot come soon enough.
Sorry, I feel my mood darkening.
Next up is Visit Wales (6) from the mighty Wieden & Kennedy. Could this be a little ray of light? I thought the last campaign it did that was shot in extreme close-up was extremely charming and quirky. The ad follows a rather likeable Welsh comedian rediscovering what Wales really has to offer. I think it's nicely shot and charmingly delivered, although I'm not sure it has the sheer standout of the last campaign.
Next we have a viral campaign for the relaunch of Top Gear's (3) website. Now, the Top Gear magazine is big in the Roalfe house-hold; my son Jack gets it every month and then proceeds to cut it up and stick pictures of the cars all over his bedroom walls. (He'll probably be doing much the same with Penthouse in a couple of years' time.) Although these virals are very sweet, whether or not Jack will send them on to his mates is the big question.
Now we have a couple of press ads for the Department for Transport (2). I think the "Think!" logo is a work of genius. It's such a simple thought and has proved to be an excellent summation to many a great piece of advertising. These press ads are very simple, as all the best ones should be. They show family snapshots that have been destroyed by drink. They have been beautifully and lovingly put together. My only slight niggle, probably due to my mood, is: could they have been written with a slightly less matter- of-fact tone of voice?
Finally, we have an ad for Andrex (1). Now, despite my dark mood and me wanting to make all sorts of shite ad jokes, this ad charmed its way into me quite liking it. It's a very simple idea that both agency and director have brought to life with wit and charm.
Well, that's it from me this week. Sorry I've been a bit glum - maybe I ought to give up the Today programme and start listening to Wogan in the morning.
SUIT - Andrew McGuinness, partner, Beattie McGuinness Bungay
I'm feeling positive. I've just spent a couple of days in the Big Apple looking for the team to start up BMB NY: we've met some cracking people and have come away more convinced than ever that we can make it there.
So let me bring this positivity to this week's work. (Anyway, I'm under-qualified and insufficiently witty to successfully snipe. What's more, if you have a Campaign photo like mine, you learn to be a little less critical.) But one thing I do know is that you have to start Private View with two vital words.
First up is Andrex (1), in which we're treated to a rendition of Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing while we see a series of "fake" canines: a toy, a sculpture, a robot. We end with, yep, you've guessed it, our loveable Andrex puppy ruthlessly annihilating an unsuspecting yapping dog. Well, he knocks it over, anyway. A "nice" way of making a competitive point, and you can't go too far wrong with a Marvin Gaye track.
(Cor, this positivity thing's harder than it looks.)
Next up, Visit Wales (6). I loved the wit of the "mud" work. Here, there's a shift in direction, in which we see the comedian Rhod Gilbert (no, I haven't either) explore the delights of holidaying in Wales. You can feel the slightly heavy hand of planning in the "holidays unpackaged" thought, which I suspect gave the creative team little wriggle room. A well-integrated campaign, although the longer time lengths on the website left me wondering whether this would make a better TV series than it does an ad campaign.
Next out of the jiffy bag, the Department for Transport (2). We see booze-stained family snaps to illustrate the ruinous effect a driving ban could have on our lives. It's an interesting shift in strategy to focus on the impact of being banned rather than of crashing and it allows the work to explore the emotional rather than the physical consequences of drink driving. The "Think!" campaign, now in its tenth year, remains a terrific example of an idea so big, it can effortlessly span everything from road signs to educational programmes via several award-winning ad campaigns. Now that's our industry at its best.
There are some Top Gear (3) virals featuring various members of the TopGear.com team and the ever-enigmatic "Stig". In the spirit of positivity, I'll leave it there.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (5) viral, however, makes my life much easier. In a well-crafted, gorilla-less and Phil Collins-less version of Cadbury's "gorilla" (if you're still with me), we're told that "a world without gorillas is closer than you think". Yes, it would have been more powerful in the immediate wake of the original, but it lands a clear message in an engaging way.
Finally, the British Heart Foundation (4). I blame the jet lag, but my positivity is now beginning to wane a little. This ad appears to have a dual target: those with an ailing heart and those with an ailing brain. The technique of using text to re-enforce what you're hearing from the voiceover is all very well if the typography in some way adds to the communication, but here, it's simply repetitive. The net result: an ad that will look great in the boardroom when you're being paid to watch it, but which will totally pass you by in the real world. A long way from the great TBWA posters of last year or Grey's "watch your own heart attack". A televisual advertorial.
So that's my lot. A lot to be positive about and some TopGear.com virals.
Next up, Sao Paulo.
Brief: Remind shoppers why using Andrex is not something they should
Agency: JWT London
Writer: Jamie Thompson
Art director: Roydon Turner
Director: Martin Brierley
Production company: Bare Films
2. DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT
Project: Spilt pint
Client: Fiona Seymour, head of marketing, Department for Transport
Brief: Dramatise how drink can have damaging and varied personal
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writer: Daniel Fisher
Art director: Richard Brim
Photographer: Paul Belford
Production company: This is Real Art
Exposure: National posters
3. TOP GEAR
Project: TopGear.com relaunch virals
Client: Michael Harvey, editorial director, TopGear.com
Brief: Promote the fact that Top Gear is now available 24/7 through
Agency: Work Club
Writer: Work Club
Art director: Work Club
Director: Wayne Waterson
Production company: Hungry Man, London
4. BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION
Client: Betty McBride, director of policy and communications, British
Brief: Bring the BHF to those who need it most, namely people living
with heart disease and their loved ones
Agency: Grey London
Writer: Grey London
Art director: Grey London
Director: Jonathan Barnbrook
Production company: The Producers
Exposure: UK TV
5. INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE
Client: Rosa Argent, communications manager, International Fund for
Brief: Drum up support for IFAW's endangered species campaigns
Writer: Magnus Thorne
Art director: Paul Turner
Production company: 2am Films
6. VISIT WALES
Project: Holidays unpackaged
Client: David Stephens, marketing manager, Visit Wales
Brief: Position Wales at the heart of a new holiday movement and
generate additional visits through 2009
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer: Darren Wright
Art director: Nicolla Longley
Director: Lucy Blackstad
Production company: Home
Exposure: TV, cinema, online