The FA (3) Respect campaign. Ray Winstone is a good actor but in this piece he becomes a strange cockney geezer cartoon cliche of himself. Nasty Bastard No 1 (Winstone in a nylon-acrylic mix tracksuit) is watching his kid play park football. He slags off the referee and then starts giving his son a hard time, while Nasty Bastard No 2 (Winstone in a nice cashmere coat) comments that this sort of rude behaviour will destroy football. I disagree.
Referees who keep making the wrong decisions are already destroying football, so instead of spending huge sums on Winstone and two minutes of production, why not use that money to train the referees to stop making the wrong decisions? It's too long, over-written, over-dramatic and I'd rather have Winstone's dog bite my genitals for two minutes than sit through this again.
Coca-Cola (1). When the ad shot from inside the vending machine came out all those years ago, it was very much of its time - it was cutesy, charming and naive.
The latest version, "yawnbusters", is set inside the machine again but the characters are lethargic and suddenly come to life thanks to the refreshing quality of the beverage. It feels a bit lazy and dated now and, in comparison to a lot of other current Coke work, lacks any edge or tone.
Barclays (4). Most of the high-street banks are in terrible trouble, they've destroyed the economy and now they're in the shit. Boo hoo! Barclays, however, seems to have the funds to create an expensive new ad campaign every six months. Hurrah! These new ads talk about how hard it is to keep track of your money. Let me get this straight. A bank. Saying it's hard to keep track of money. Not exactly reassuring, is it? I sort of take it for granted that banks will do that for me. Oh well. There is a good choice of voiceover in Stephen Merchant, but all the creative energy comes from the negative, which I think is very dangerous. Finally ending with the weird endline: "Take one small step."
If I was a current Barclays customer, I would be terrified. Looking forward to a new campaign in September.
O2 (6) online. I am a human. I have an account with O2. I am open to deals and offers. I use a computer. Brilliant! I'm in the target market for this online idea. Oh no! The problem is, I have a job so I can't spend all day pissing about training up a rubber duck to go round the world so I can enter a competition to win a prize I have no chance of winning. The problem with a lot of online stuff is that it's based around a clever bit of technology that lets you do something cool, rather than a real insight into the headset of the consumer. This misses the mark for me.
Transport for London (2). There has been lots of brilliant work done for this client over the years. This work is OK, but doesn't cut through like previous campaigns.
It's asking kids to look out for their friends but, unlike previous campaigns, these images lack any real emotion or power. Losing your best mate in a traffic accident must be horrendous. I would have preferred to see pictures of real kids, really mourning a lost friend at the moment that it happens.
Head & Shoulders (5). This is a quirky little idea about a man at a train station trying to make up with his hair, who is breaking up with him. In dramatic black and white, he manages to stop his suitcase-carrying haircut from leaving the country. It's for a product called Hair Endurance, and the ad is all about breaking up (geddit?). There is even a helpful super at the bottom of the screen that reads: "Refers to hair breakage." Thank you, I get it now. Feels like a CDP ad from 1978.
CREATIVE - Steve Aldridge, creative partner and chairman, Partners Andrews Aldridge
I read somewhere recently that in troubled times, the advertising we see gets happier. So, which of this week's offerings will put a smile on our faces?
Creating a feel-good TV ad for Coca-Cola (1) must be as tricky in execution as it is easy in theory. Broadly aimed at everyone who's old enough to buy their own E numbers, avoiding cheesiness is the hard part. A global ad could easily disappoint but this spot puts a smile on your face. The animation is quirky and surreal and way better than the acting. But even then, these spots make for happy viewing. Good then.
The warm glow continues with O2 (6). I'm logging on to its "Quacky Races" microsite that's designed to bribe "Pay & Go" customers into more paying and going. If I'm completely honest, it took me a very long time to figure out that the site is totally dependent on you having seen the TV spot. You know, the one with rubber ducks sailing off around the world, bringing gifts and prizes to smiling O2 customers - so that's good.
The website itself is very polished, but flawed in that you have to return to it to keep your duck alive, like an online Nintendog. I don't really care enough to let the duck live. Or see if I get to the end of the race. With a mobile phone, you interact with the brand every day - you don't need to care for a virtual duck to bring you closer.
These Barclays (4) films lend the happy theory some credibility. The first ad is for the Credit Focus service, which enables small businesses to check suppliers' credit-worthiness. The ad takes a complex problem and visually demonstrates how Barclays can help. It's really well done, but my question would be whether TV was the right medium for this message.
The second ad crunches hard as it highlights the lottery around online banking, playing out like a video game version of the pick-a-card trick. It's Stephen Merchant's voiceover that really makes this ad and I can't imagine it being created BC (before crash). As a result, you can't help raising a wry smile.
It's getting serious now, the FA (3) has created a viral film to promote respect for referees. The setting is a schoolboy-level football match, with a crazed father abusing the ref and berating his son from the touchline. Almost inevitably it's Ray Winstone, who also plays the narrator and conscience of the film. It is really well directed and shot but, at two minutes, it lacks the discipline of construction a 30- or 60-second spot would give it.
In truth, I wonder how viral it will really be? Had it pushed a bit harder and stretched the stereotype further, it might be something touchline dads would actually forward on to each other.
Craft skills are really high this week. And that makes me happy. These posters for Transport for London (2) are incredible. These are some of the most arresting and compelling images I've seen for a long time. As ads I think they would work better just with the endline: "Look out for your mates." I had to work hard to figure out they are aimed at children, looking out for each other when crossing the road, as the headlines just don't seem to connect to the shots.
It looks like a happy ending then? Sadly, the Head & Shoulders (5) spot is neither happy nor good. In this parody of a Brief Encounter-esque love story, a walking wig with feet (yes, really) leaves our heartbroken protagonist at a station. The denouement? Wait for it ... "Don't break up with your hair!" Reader, I felt like weeping.
Happy days for some, then. And pretty hairy times for others.
Client: Jonathan Mildenhall, vice-president of global marketing strategy
and creative excellence, Coca-Cola
Brief: Remind people Coca-Cola lifts spirits
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Writer: Rick Chant
Art director: Barney Hobson
Directors: Todd Mueller, Kylie Matulick
Production company: Psyop
2. TRANSPORT FOR LONDON
Project: Transport for London teens
Client: Miranda Leedham, group marketing communication manager,
Transport for London
Brief: Encourage teenagers to pay attention on the road
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writer: Roger Holdsworth (radio)
Art directors: Joe Miller, Tristan Cornelius
Exposure: Print, radio, online
Project: Respect campaign
Client: Bev Ward, marketing manager, the FA
Brief: Promote the FA's Respect programme
Writer/art director: Theo Delaney
Director: Theo Delaney
Production company: Contentment Worldwide
Exposure: Online, on-screen at Wembley Stadium
Project: Take one small step
Client: UK Retail Bank Marketing
Brief: Show how Barclays is in its customers' corner
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Bill Hartley
Art director: Giles Hepworth
Director: Lynn Fox
Production company: Blink
Exposure: National TV
5. HEAD & SHOULDERS
Project: Hairy Harry
Client: James Clark, business leader, Head & Shoulders, Procter & Gamble
Brief: Launch Head & Shoulders Hair Endurance, showing men it can help
stop hair breakage
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Writer: Steve Howell
Art director: Rick Dodds
Director: Chris Palmer
Production company: Gorgeous
Project: O2 Top-up Surprises Quacky Races game
Brief: Create digital engagement for Top-up Surprises
Agency: Agency Republic
Writer: Agency Republic
Art director: Agency Republic
Director: Agency Republic