I've not been feeling myself of late. Just yesterday morning, in a bid to stave off a wretched bout of listlessness, I reached for the 650g squeezy bottle of Heinz Salad Cream (6) on my bedside table and squirted its entire contents over my genitals, vigorously massaging in. With hindsight, and a major pitch presentation less than an hour away, I realised this was probably a mistake. But I was only doing as I have always done: living my life by the ads I consume. The new Heinz Salad Cream commercial clearly implies that, as well as boosting one's taters, the old creamy favourite could also have Viagran qualities in the cyclopic trouser serpent department. This, as my ruined lucky pitch pants will testify, is palpably untrue. I don't mind being lied to. It's being implied to that gets me into trouble.
Oh, it's easy to be cynical about Gordon Ramsay. So I will be. I simply can't understand why a great big British institution like Gordon's Gin (2) would sacrifice its own heritage and identity to the bloke who puts the git in G&T. Have a word with yourself, Gordon's. It's your gin. Not his.
The Marston's Pedigree (5) posters take us back to an era that probably only existed in John Major's head: when England had pubs. When pubs had tiled urinals. When men drank bitter. And cricket fans feared losing an Ashes series to the Australians. As if.
What is it with stupid people and trains? When they're not bumbling through level-crossing barriers and getting themselves smeared across the windscreen of the 07.14 to the stupid afterlife, they're making busy in the train toilet, stupidly pressing the big red button clearly labelled "Alarm", over and over again in the vain and stupid hope that it will morph into the button beneath it, equally clearly marked "Doors Open", while non-stupid people the length of the carriage have to listen to the resulting stupid claxon sound- effect, over and over and over again.
Sadly, just as I doubt whether heroin addicts ever give much pause to the fineries of ads lecturing them on the error of their ways, I fear that the beautiful art direction of the Network Rail (1) poster will ironically be lost on its stupid target audience. As far as I'm concerned, anyone stupid enough to attempt to reclaim their stupid BlackBerry from a live rail thoroughly deserves to be turned into train mince forthwith. It's nature's way of telling you you're stupid. And it's one less gormless, button-pressing gonk in the train bog next time I head for Birmingham.
If only all train journeys were as entertaining as the Hula Hoops (3) "DJ" commercial. I love the product. I love the direction. I love the hand-acting. And I especially love the way they've edited out the end sequence where the senior train manager solemnly informs the lad that his pre-paid off-peak advance, but not-quite-anytime, stupid student saver is not valid on the High Wycombe route. Holey super.
Things have moved on apace since they shot the VW Passat (4) commercial. Back then we only had a few suicidal bankers and a piddling little recession to worry about. Happy days. Now we have swine flu. The public shaming of our political classes, MPs expenses fiddlergate, the regular arrival of body bags from Helmand Province, swine flu 2, the loss of the world's greatest entertainer, global meltdown of the motor manufacturing industry, the sad recognition that Heinz Salad Cream is not an aphrodisiac, the failure of Obama's trillion-dollar US economic stimulus package. And full daily exposures of Jordan's massive love split.
It is indeed a crazy world what we live in. And positive thinking may not reverse any of the above. But hey, you gotta admire 'em for trying. What else have we got to lose? Chin up. Let's go sell stuff.
PA - Antoinette de Lisser, assistant to Trevor Beattie, Beattie McGuinness Bungay
I'm anticipating the arrival of my best friend, she's arriving from Sydney with her family this week. Check me out - two exciting deliveries in one week. I didn't know which would arrive first. Private View arrived as she stepped on to the plane. You win.
With my first ever Private View comes a myriad of emotions ... nervousness, honour, anxiety and excitement but maybe I'm a bit ahead of myself emotionally cos I'm having trouble getting into the e-mail ... A-ha, after a few failed attempts, here I am:
Heinz Salad Cream (6) - I was enchanted by the opening scene in this TV ad; it's the honesty of it; the woman in the foreground tending to the children and the man in the background fixing HIMSELF a cup of tea. Are they the grandparents looking after the children for the day? It's the only thing I can think of as to why there's such a large selection of dishes on offer to those three bouncy grandchildren. Am I meant to be thinking about the magic of salad cream or feeling sympathy for the Fantasia-grandma with the lazy husband ... the music transports me to EuroDisney.
Gordon's Gin (2) - what can I say? Gordon Ramsay as the brand's best Gordon getting drenched by the ingredients of a gin and tonic - did I find this refreshing? Yes I did. I wish I was the one with the bucket!
Network Rail (1) - now this is a poster. It's brilliant. It's shocking, it's clear and it gets the message across, simply and concisely.
Marston's Pedigree (5) Ashes campaign. Again, what an engaging piece of outdoor work; ironically my friend emigrated to Australia but is currently visiting for a large dose of family and culture - I liked these posters so much I showed them to her; we laughed and laughed. Then we wondered what the Australians were doing to support their team. Honest, intelligent humour gets a thumbs-up from me, from us, for what it's worth, and is my favourite of the batch.
"In a hole world of their own", the Hula Hoops (3) work: I'm watching this ad with a ridiculous smirk on my face. I've watched it a further two times and the smirk is still there. This made me smile, the idea of someone sitting on the train in their own world is one that I often observe. An amusing little ad. I wanna know what the next one's gonna be ... Who knows, I could slip into that world ...
VW Passat (4) "positive thinking" - what an appealing recession- reminding car commercial. What a change to see a car commercial where you don't actually see the car until halfway through and the vehicle speeding along a long winding road. The song was uplifting, the pace was fast enough and the car ... well, I didn't really notice the car, it was the sheep in the back of the truck that I was left thinking about ... how comes the sheep weren't singing along with the driver? Surely as they were bopping along they were feeling very positive? Nonetheless, I'll sum this up in a word - blaaaaaaah. I don't know many car commercials since VW Polo's "singing dog" I've sat up and noticed ...
There, my first Private View delivered. How insightful, as I read it back it's more about me than the ads - my friend and I have also learnt a lot about each other as a result. I've found it hard to put my views on ads into words; ads are part of our everyday life. I've worked in and around them for the past 20 years. I think I've tried hard here to be a part of the audience that consumes them, rather than the media that creates them. Thanks for the experience Campaign, and thank you for reading. Good night.
1. NETWORK RAIL
Project: Adult trespass
Client: Mark Shaoul, head of marketing services, Network Rail
Brief: Raise awareness of the dangers of trespassing on the railway
Writer: Nicole Shelley
Art director: Clive Russell
Photographer: Dan Pothecary
Exposure: All Network Rail-owned and operated stations
2. GORDON'S GIN
Project: Favourite things
Client: Charlotte Cottrell, Gordon's Gin brand manager, Diageo
Brief: Portray Gordon's as the definitive British gin
Agency: Agency Republic
Writers: Jay Geraldi, Jim Stump
Art director: Phil Wilce
Director: Jay Geraldi
Production company: n/s
Exposure: National TV, transvision
3. HULA HOOPS
Project: In a hole world of their own
Client: Helen Warren Piper, marketing director, bagged snacks, United
Brief: Remind people that Hula Hoops are fun to eat
Agency: Publicis London
Writer: Gary Turner
Art director: Jamie Marshall
Director: Mark Denton
Production company: Coy!
Exposure: National TV
4. VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
Project: Positive thinking
Clients: Kirsten Stagg, marketing communications manager; Daniel Hill,
communications manager, Volkswagen UK
Brief: Show how the Passat stands for dependability in a world full of
Agency: DDB London
Writer: Dave Henderson
Art director: Richard Denney
Director: Noam Murro
Production company: Biscuit@Independent
Exposure: National TV
5. MARSTON'S PEDIGREE
Project: Ashes campaign
Client: Des Gallagher, marketing manager, Marston's
Brief: Marston's Pedigree sponsorship of England during the Ashes
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren
Writer: David Adamson
Art director: Richard Prentice
Exposure: 96-sheets, press, programmes, in-ground media
6. HEINZ SALAD CREAM
Project: Heinz Salad Cream
Clients: Adrian Mooney, marketing director, sauces; Lynsey Hurst, senior
brand manager, ambient dressings, Heinz
Brief: Reawaken people's love for Heinz Salad Cream
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writer: Markham Smith
Art director: Richard Dennison
Director: Toby MacDonald
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: National TV