When the play The Madness Of George III ran, it was a huge hit. The obvious next step was to turn it into a movie. The only problem was the title. American cinema audiences were used to films called Rocky V, and Die Hard II, and Terminator III.
The producers thought if it was called The Madness Of George III, American audiences might stay away because they'd think they'd missed parts I and II. So they changed it to The Madness Of King George. In which case, you have to wonder who they're talking to. The film was written by Alan Bennett, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and starred Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren. It's probably not going to appeal to the same audience as Rambo III or Predator II.
I feel the same about a lot of advertising. I'm not sure who the audience is, who the ads are talking to. Is it done for the client, who's ticked all the boxes after the research debrief? Is it done to win awards, so the agency network can move up the rankings in The Gunn Report? I didn't get any information with these ads, so I'm having to guess.
The Johnnie Walker (3) online ad is a terrific performance from a great actor. One seamless speech, one seamless take. But is it for the trade, or is it viral? It's six minutes long. The last 60 seconds is just for the credits. It's a lovely piece of film, but I can't judge whether it's a good ad because I don't know who the audience is.
I've seen the Stella Artois (1) posters in the street and wondered who they're talking to. I can't believe the guys who buy six-packs of Stella care if their bottles are made from 75 per cent recycled glass. And I doubt if there's a massive sales opportunity for Stella among ecologically aware style gurus. So who are they talking to?
The Time to Change (5) ad starts with a really well-made pastiche of a horror film title sequence. Then it moves into a commercial explaining that I should "visit this website to find out how you can help end the stigma". Why doesn't the commercial just tell me what to do, if I'm the sort of person who wants to know? And, if I'm not that sort of person, then I won't go to the website anyway. So who's the audience?
The Daily Mirror (6) ad is a really nicely animated little film full of iconic football images. But, at the tabloid end of the newspaper market, you don't make "brand" choices to switch. You read the sports pages to find out what's happening, not because of the great photo archives. So who's the audience?
The Hamelin Paperbrands (4) commercial shows a teenage girl whose dreams come to life as she writes in the pages of her notebook. The voiceover says: "Crisp white optic paper, so you can write on both sides of the page." Is this ad for young girls, or to help the sales force claim a heavy marketing spend when they're trying to sell into stockists?
The Guardian (2) podcast posters are beautifully art directed. They're attractive, stylish and well crafted. But, as they're posters, you have to figure they're not directed at Guardian readers. If they were, they'd be running in the paper. This makes sense, because you wouldn't be reading The Guardian and listening to a podcast. So they want non-readers to access The Guardian via a different channel. Fair enough, at least I know who the ads are talking to.
Dave Waters once told me he was in Paris watching the movie Scarface. It was in English with French subtitles. At one point, someone gets blown away. Someone else looks at the mess and says: "Jesus!" The subtitle says: "Fromages." You have to ask yourself: who are they talking to?
CHIEF EXECUTIVE - Jimmy Maymann, chief executive, GoViral
After an advertising festival in Cannes featuring an abundance of work and ideas, followed by a summer break for us to distil and work it all out, having your work picked out and "grilled" in Private View now could make unpleasant reading. So, are the brands and the ad agencies brave enough to read on?
Johnnie Walker (3) "the man who walked around the world" by Bartle Bogle Hegarty London really pinpoints what branding is all about: storytelling. The casting of the Scottish actor Robert Carlyle to tell the Johnnie Walker story while walking through the Scottish Highlands is sublime. Apparently, it was all, eventually, done in one shot, which just makes it even more impressive. It's too long to work as a traditional ad, but fantastic as a short promotional brand video.
Problem: this is the worst possible time to launch this campaign. Like any brand, Johnnie Walker needs to be true to its heritage and there's a disconnect between its latest plans to close down its plant in Kilmarnock, the very town where Johnnie Walker gave his name to the world-famous whisky in 1820, and this brand-building exercise.
Hamelin Paperbrands (4) "the wind" by Momentum UK targets students in its first TV campaign with an upbeat story about a young girl's fantasies becoming reality as she writes them in her Oxford notebook. It's a sweet little tale, but, in my mind, it raises two questions: will it be able to cut through the clutter that this target group is experiencing? And how will the campaign work online, where this target group is very active and vocal? After all, they can make or break this campaign by clicking, rating, sharing and blogging about it. The truth is that this target group is more advanced than this ad gives them credit for, as the likes of Lonelygirl15 and KateModern prove.
Time to Change (5) "schizo" by Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy is a schizophrenia awareness campaign with two clips. The first film starts as a classic trailer for what appears to be a horror film called Schizo, but you soon realise that the main character, Stuart, is just a normal guy who happens to suffer from schizophrenia. The second shows the "schizo" Stuart happily entertaining a group of children at a birthday party. The cause is important, but both of the clips lack emotional appeal. They tried, but I think Stuart could have had a stronger voice. If they had built a stronger "insight" into the work, that really would have made me stop and think.
The Guardian (2) "podcasts" by Wieden & Kennedy London is using detailed collage illustration to tell a story about what you can expect to get from The Guardian's seven different podcasts. It's art meeting advertising done in an intelligent and interesting way. It teases me, which is what you would want your advertising to do to get consumers to try your product out. That said, I would have liked to see an equally good digital execution. You have to be in front of your computer to experience the podcast anyway, so it's a very short call to action.
The Daily Mirror (6) "football" by Delaney Lund Knox Warren features iconic images of ten famous British football clubs emerging from filing cabinets. I like football, but am not the most dedicated fan, which could be the reason why this ad does not appeal to me at all. It simply didn't spark my interest, and with Google around, most of the information that you need is only a click away already. So, what's the "killer app" here?
Stella Artois (1) "recyclage de luxe" by Mother London is their new "eco-friendly" promotional campaign. It attempts to push its green credentials by highlighting the fact that the lager uses bottles made of 75 per cent recycled glass. I like the 60s feel of the ad and that's about it for Stella and the rest of the ads for this week's Private View.
1. STELLA ARTOIS
Project: Recyclage de luxe
Client: Adam Oakley, marketing director, UK, Stella Artois
Brief: Communicate the many small steps Stella Artois is taking to
become environmentally responsible
Art director: Mother
Photographer: Nick Clements
Designer: Cristiana Couceiro
Exposure: Print, press
2. THE GUARDIAN
Client: The Guardian
Brief: Drive awareness of Guardian podcasts
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Writer/art director: William Fowler
Designer: Karen Jane
Illustrator: James Dawe
3. JOHNNIE WALKER
Project: The man who walked around the world
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
Writer/art director: Justin Moore
Director: Jamie Rafn
Production company: HLA
4. HAMELIN PAPERBRANDS
Project: The wind
Client: Gerard O'Mahony, marketing director, Hamelin Paperbrands
Brief: Launch Oxford as the premier notebook range for students in the
Agency: Momentum UK
Writer: Steven Jenkinson
Art directors: Dave Lambert, Mark Atherton
Director: Eric Delmotte
Production company: Tobago
5. TIME TO CHANGE
Client: Time to Change
Brief: Provocatively challenge people's perceptions of mental health
Agency: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Writer: Nick Bird
Art director: Lee Smith
Director: Jonathan Pearson
Production company: Steam Production
6. DAILY MIRROR
Client: Lorraine Fraser, marketing director of national titles, Mirror
Brief: Publicise the launch of mirrorfootball.co.uk
Agency: Delaney Lund Knox Warren
Writer: Phil Webb
Art director: Vicki Foster
Directors: Run Wrake; Tom, Dick & Harry
Production company: Th1ng
Exposure: National TV