Feature

The Work: Private view

CREATIVES - Adam Kean and Tom Ewart, joint executive creative directors, Publicis

In the learned words of Lifehacker.com: "If you've never fired a pistol before, you might be surprised how difficult it is to get a headshot with one. The skull is a small target. A rusty chainsaw, on the other hand, will have an undeniable post-apocalyptic je ne sais quoi."

Well, exactly.

We're all having a go at doing original stuff that changes the conversation, using all the exciting new tools out there, and seeing if we get it right. We've got a few big ones coming up ourselves over the next six months, which we're obviously very excited about.

But anyone who says they know for certain the best way of using all the new tools at our disposal (or whether, in some cases, it's wiser to use the old ones for a while longer instead) would, we humbly propose, be telling a porky.

Alex Bogusky puts it nicely: "Everyone's making it up as they go along. Don't model yourself on us. I don't think more than 30 minutes into the future. It's all new models, one-offs, what's best for the brand in the short term - the new, long-term ones aren't there yet, which makes it scary."

The downloadable BMW (3) car that draws on your laptop is a tool we'll have to take on trust for the moment. It wasn't compatible with our Macs. Apparently they're working on it, and it might be working by the time you read this.

But, for us, it was 20 minutes each of faffing around for no return. A tool that, in the end, made us feel a bit of one.

Pot Noodle (6) tries to nail it with its usual tool of post-modern irony. Two parts Flight of the Conchords to one part old-fashioned musical spoof, we preferred "tastified" to "kebab flavour". It's funny, it's honest and it feels right. Ed Gein.

Co-op (5) is not ironic at all. If only. There's not much you can say about this. The kind of advertising Muzak that many of us have been involved with (in spite of everything and to our shame) at some point in the ad game of our lives. It just fades, a bit annoyingly, into the background.

Ladbrokes (4) decides on a large, rampaging lemur to get its message across. A huge amount of care and post-production attention has gone into this, but isn't it a case of a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Or too much tool, for too little, not to mention too random, a reward.

Motorola (2) uses a couple of the oldest tools in the box: David Beckham (yawn) and an endline with the word "artistry" in it. Not really sure what it was on about at first, though there is an interesting quote from the overexposed one on Brand Republic, which helped: "I love classic watches, so a phone that exposes its mechanics while also being so stylish is really unique." You're in trouble when Beckham is more articulate than your ad.

Philips (1) goes for a tool we've seen a couple of times before - the Matrix-style frozen moment - but definitely adds the wow factor, by deciding to stretch it out into a longer format. It makes each scene into a mini tableau with its own story to tell. So there's lots of good detail and a nicely judged sense of mystery. It's cinematic, which is the point. And tells you that the new 21:9 screen gives you more peripheral vision, in an engaging way. Jason Bourne.

With so many ways of telling stories now, you have to be choosy. Using interesting and modern tools doesn't make you modern or interesting. Using the right tools can.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE - Alan Bishop, former chief executive, COI; chief executive, Southbank Centre

As we observe the desperate struggles of Britain's financial services, all eyes turn to the creative industries to restore some hope for the economy. Can our ad agencies' best and brightest lead us back to the sunny uplands?

When I hear that Motorola's (2) latest spot is "partly inspired by anatomical renaissance art", I know that the art directors are doing their bit for the nation. It might be a bit of a stretch to compare David Beckham's magnificent anatomy to that of a phone, but at least there has been a valiant effort to make a celebrity endorsement in some way relevant to the product.

I don't think I should be seen to dwell on Beckham's physique for too long, so on to BMW's (3) uplifting "expression of joy" for the Z4. Now, thanks to some impressive interactive wizardry, anyone can be "a great artist" and paint pictures with the wheels of the car. If art can sell cars right now, it really can save the world - although I'm not sure if the "Ultimate Driving Machine" is best demonstrated by using it as a paintbrush.

No artiness for Pot Noodle (6), oh no. Indeed, any hint of aesthetic sensibility could destroy the brand's carefully constructed anti-image. Like so many, I have a guilty weakness for jingle-driven, all-singing, all-dancing ads. But to begin with the line "I know you find this annoying" is actually as annoying as being told "I know you're going to like this". Couldn't we just have an unashamed, unapologetic and old-fashioned romp, without a post-modern irony that is no longer post-modern (or even modern)?

The Co-op's (5) traditional community values are so right for our times it must be slightly irksome for them to have to make a diversion into self-indulgent and cosmopolitan territory with the instruction: "Bring out your Italian side tonight." But never fear, after a bit of a synchronised Lambretta routine we are brought back to good old, thrifty basics with the assurance that we can get a meal for four for just £4! That's good value even in euros.

In a very different way, Ladbrokes (4) is also strangely in tune with the spirit of the times. A highly watchable urban game of hide and seek with a hyperactive lemur carries the message: "Don't hide from thrills." Why should you? If the entire global banking system has turned out to be one giant gamble, can it be too wrong to have your own little punt with Ladbrokes? And lately, we have seen more unlikely things than leaping lemurs in the City.

Finally, an epic microsite from Philips (1) to launch the first-ever 21:9 screen TV. An ingenious single, long take through the frozen action of a Tarantino-esque movie makes the simple point that all the sophistication that goes into the making of a big screen film deserves a TV that can show it fully. You can insert members of the film crew into the action as they explain the tricks of the trade, further underlining the message that this is the TV for the real aficionado. It's also rather nice that all this brilliant online interactivity is used to make the point that people actually still enjoy lying around watching very large televisions.

Well, the art directors seem to be doing their best to get us all spending our way out of recession. Maybe it's because I've been thinking about our annual Southbank London Literature Festival, but I feel that the writers are not really pulling their weight on the advertising front.

In this selection of work, words, when used at all, seem to be regarded as a necessary evil or come in for deliberate abuse. Maybe we need a few more writers to put aside that unfinished novel for a while and do their bit in our hour of need.

1. PHILIPS
Project: Cinematic viewing experience
Clients: Gary Raucher, head of integrated marketing comms; Nourdin
Rejeb, director, digital marketing comms television, Philips
Brief: Position Philips as providing the true cinematic viewing
experience
Agency: Tribal DDB Amsterdam
Writers/art directors: Carla Madden, Chris Baylis, Mariota Essery,
Andrew Ferguson
Director: Adam Berg
Production company: Stink Digital
Exposure: Online

2. MOTOROLA
Project: The aura of David Beckham
Client: Motorola
Brief: n/s
Agencies: Bluestar, Ogilvy London
Writer: James King
Art director: Anthony Mandler
Director: Anthony Mandler
Production companies: ArtMix, Les Enfants Terribles
Exposure: Print, TV

3. BMW
Project: Z4 - an expression of joy
Client: Natasha Newman, advertising executive, BMW
Brief: Help launch the new BMW Z4
Agency: Dare
Writers/art directors: Tristan Pride, Laura Farmer, Emma Lawson
Production companies: Dare, Inition
Exposure: Online, press, DM

4. LADBROKES
Project: Lemur
Client: Andy Harris, managing director, games and new channels,
Ladbrokes
Brief: Advertise Ladbrokescasino.com as a place to get thrills
Agency: M&C Saatchi
Writers/art directors: Dan McCormack, Luke Boggins
Director: Scott Lyons
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV

5. CO-OP
Project: Let's do something good
Client: Debbie Robinson, director of food retail marketing, The
Co-operative Group
Brief: Show people that they can get a delicious, great value dinner at
their local Co-op
Agency: TBWA\Manchester
Writers: Kyna Griffiths, Jennie Birchall
Art directors: Jennie Birchall, Kyna Griffiths
Director: Andy Lambert
Production company: HSI Chief Productions
Exposure: TV

6. POT NOODLE
Project: Kebablab, Tastify
Clients: Cheryl Calverley, marketing manager; Noam Buchalter, marketing
manager, Unilever
Brief: Launch Pot Noodle's new doner kebab flavour and announce that Pot
Noodle has improved its product's taste
Agency: Mother
Writer/art director: Mother
Director: Garth Jennings
Production company: Hammer & Tongs
Exposure: TV

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