I hate Putney. I had children, moved there in an attempt to be grown up, and hated it. I hated being stuck on the car park that is Putney Bridge for an hour-and-a-half every day. I hated the bankers' wives and their precocious devil children; needless to say, I hated their husbands. I hated Putney so much that I left London. So here I sit, in the country, in Penn, writing my first Private View of a new decade, snowed in. So much for global warming.
First up we have a commercial from Honda (1). The brand that won Campaign's Campaign of the Decade, and quite rightly so to my mind. In this new spot, "everything", they tell us how all their knowledge and expertise has come together to make the Civic. They do this by using a nice editing technique that uses old footage from previous commercials. Does this hit the heady heights of "cog"? Probably not, but it's nicely done and the track is quite cool.
Continuing the decade theme, we have the next in the Orange (2) Gold Spot series. This campaign was started by the Agency of the Decade, Mother, and used to be one of the most-awarded campaigns of the decade. Then it moved to Fallon. In fact, I heard what is probably an ad urban myth about this the other day. Allegedly, Mother wrote to the Orange client asking them to publish a disclaimer that Mother was no longer involved in the Gold Spots as it felt the Fallon work was damaging its reputation. I'm not sure anyone at Mother will be pleased to see the new Danny Glover Gold Spot; it could completely screw up its chance of becoming agency of the next decade.
Next we have an ad for EA Sports (3) Fifa 10 by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam. Before I write about this, I think I should tell you that I'm not keen on any sports, including football. At school, I only excelled at sports you could do while smoking. This ad features some of the world's greatest footballers playing keepy uppy while blindfolded (which I suppose you could probably do while smoking). It feels a bit like a Nike spot, which may be no bad thing, and I like the way viewers are asked to send in their own attempts at blindfolded keepy uppy to a YouTube site. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be participating.
Moving swiftly on from keepy uppy to shagging. The next campaign is a bit of sex education from the Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (5) telling us to talk more about the different kinds of contraception. The creative vehicle of using speech bubbles may have been used before, but it is quite a neat answer to what I should imagine was a rather tricky brief.
The new campaign for Barnardo's (6) is a very clever piece of film as you'd expect from Bartle Bogle Hegarty. It shows what you think is a young girl leaving home and being led astray. Then the film is reversed and it turns out she is being helped by Barnardo's and returning back to her home. This is all set to what I presume is a real victim's account of her story. I'm not sure this ad quite hits you in the gut the way the last Barnardo's ad did, which I thought was truly excellent.
Finally, we have an ad for the online estate agent, Rightmove (4). It shows a bunch of estate agents out in the Serengeti hard at work measuring up trees and bushes, while a voiceover explains to us what knowledgable creatures they are. I'm not sure this is a strategy that was ever going to wash with me since my move to Putney. All that said, this is quite a charming and polished spot.
Well, that's it from me, and for all of you who live in Putney, may I recommend Rightmove.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE - Michael Wall, global chief executive, Lowe Worldwide
It's good to be back. And given my new role, being offered the chance to review some UK advertising is something of a treat.
While the advertising is last year's vintage (albeit the tail end), I'm hoping it points to a more optimistic and ambitious 2010 for all.
The Department of Health and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (5). Sex, government, 16- to 24-year-olds, contraception, doctor, nurse, parents. That's a tough list.
I think the approach is creditable and empathetic, if a little politically correct for my taste.
A 30-second range ad that travels from the headline of contraception to the specifics of an IUD to an implant dilutes the notion that this subject matter is "worth talking about". Shame, really, because conversations or stuff that is worth talking about seems to me a pretty big area both as a creative idea but perhaps more usefully in this brief as a media and digital one.
Given time, I reckon this campaign will get markedly better and, more importantly, more useful.
Barnardo's (6). The fragility of adolescence and the palpable lack of a state safety net to catch it drive this ad straight to both the heart and purse strings. I'm left thinking "thank you, Barnardo's" and while the film technique doesn't have quite the sleight of hand it might, I'm more than grateful that it gives me both the negative and positive outcomes of this cameo, ie. the impact of getting involved.
There is plenty to be optimistic about.
Honda (1). This brand and its advertising have set some very high expectations over the years. Unfortunately, a brief that is quite literally "everything" brings them down a notch or two. Connoisseurs of Japanese companies may well appreciate quite how brilliant Honda is. And therefore at Honda, "everything" isn't just anything. But for those in the market for a Honda Civic, I'm not sure "everything" adds up to anything.
Personally, I need some of that contrariness that Japan, Honda, the Power Of Dreams and probably a Civic is built on.
EA Sports (3). Wieden & Kennedy, football and youth; should be straight into the onion bag. This is perfectly good knock-about stuff, a blindfolded Ronaldinho doing keepy uppy is better than most of us are ever likely to manage with 20:20 vision.
But when you think about video games rivalling Hollywood blockbusters, a football franchise such as EA and Fifa, the talent signed up for the ad, the fact that this game is the best of the best, I came over all nostalgic and wanted to sail back to Captain Eric's boat for a "three on three" and "a little more action".
The raw materials are in abundance, the ambition isn't there to match them (just yet).
Orange (2). "Dial hard" and Danny Glover is a promising start to this enduring classic. Then it sort of lost me. And this is probably me but I reckon this campaign has to be in the realm of diminishing returns. Don't get me wrong, it has provided unbridled entertainment and at the outset was another great example of Orange's human touch and relevance. However, in an apps-fuelled world, I feel I need to hear more from Orange and less from its film board.
I'd love to see some good old-fashioned product innovation that leads the advertising.
Rightmove (4) looks like it has a good and complete product story, albeit in a territory that is turbo-charged by emotion and stereotype, particularly when estate agents are the subject matter.
A herd of estate agents roaming around safari-style in this nature mockumentary as a means of telling us that they have the expertise to help us prepare our beloved home for sale isn't likely to overcome either of these hurdles.
As a generalist in the property market, I think finding a relevant tone of voice and landing it would be a significant and right move.
Client: Ian Armstrong, manager - customer communications, Honda
Brief: Inspire people about Honda through the Honda Civic
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy London
Writer: Sam Heath
Art director: Chris Groom
Director: Scott Lyon
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: Cinema, TV
Project: Gold Spots
Client: Noel Cottle, senior advertising manager, Orange
Brief: What would the Orange film funding board do next?
Writer: Toby Moore
Art director: Selina McKenzie
Director: Baker Smith
Production company: Harvest
3. EA SPORTS
Project: Blindfolded Keepy Uppy Challenge
Client: EA Sports
Brief: Continue to ask and explore the question of "How big can football
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Writer: Rick Chant
Art director: Barney Hobson
Director: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Production company: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
Client: Kate Luxon, marketing manager, Rightmove
Brief: Position Rightmove as the first port of call for sellers
Agency: Hooper Galton
Writer: Trevor de Silva
Art director: Martin Galton
Director: Mark Chaudoir
Production company: MOB
Project: Contraception. Worth talking about
Client: COI (Dept of Health/Dept for Children, Schools and Families)
Brief: Create a campaign that made talking about sexual health-related
matters part of everyday conversations
Writer: Dan Bryant
Art director: Rachel Robinson
Director: Christian Bevilacqua
Production company: Stink
Project: Turn around
Brief: Barnardo's works tirelessly to ensure that every child has the
chance to reach their full potential and turn their lives around
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Toby Allen
Art director: Jim Hilson
Director: Chris Palmer
Production company: Gorgeous
Exposure: National TV