The Work: Private View


Why is it that leaving speeches all tend to be so similar?

Some amusing work-related anecdotes, a few well-meaning words detailing how so-and-so will be missed and a cheery profusion of well-wishing as a climax.

Pleasant but forgettable. Who decided that they should be like this? It takes a questing spirit to say to hell with it, I'm doing it differently. To strike out for great over right.

Nick Gill is one such questing spirit.

When I left Bartle Bogle Hegarty last year, Nick chose to sing/speak the entire lyrics to Born To Be Wild, for no better reason than he knew I love motorbikes and I was leaving to embark on a new adventure. Not a leaving speech in the accepted format but, Christ, it was unforgettable.

Right is brilliant, don't get me wrong; few people like organised, logical thinking more than me. I straighten the tins in my cupboards. Planners are my rock gods. But give me great over right any day.

Because, unlike right, you Google great. You blog about it. Set up dedicated sites to it. Watch it on YouTube. Download the ringtone. Print the paper craft. Buy the merchandising.

You spend time with great in a way that right can only dream of.

So, to this week's ads. Great or right?

Hovis (6). Very, very right. As neat and orderly as my kitchen cupboards. Even down to the casting. Little chance I'll be looking for ways to deepen my engagement with it online tonight.

McDonald's (3). Cute little vignettes of threes of things to help you remember that its new burger has three ingredients in it. Which are, erm ...

Well, anyway, there are three of them. All nicely reinforced by "three is the magic number". This will definitely stick it to all those burgers that only have two ingredients. Neither great nor right. And if it can't be great, it should at least be right.

French Connection (2) - two cinema ads, one for women, one for men. All about the qualities that define a man and a woman. Hardly surprising then that they seem to work differently. The one about the man makes him look a bit daft, while the female one seems more subtle and celebratory. Perhaps it's just that women are a marvel of wile and intrigue, and men are generally rather vain and ridiculous. Could also be that they both have male voiceovers. And maybe a female voice would have worked better on the man's ad. They're definitely striking out for great. Although not sure they've quite achieved it yet.

Home Office (1). This is aimed at teenagers in abusive relationships. In keeping with most public information films, there is a visual device to help you remember the main point. In this case, we see the teenagers watching themselves at the same time as the voiceover says: "If you could see yourself, would you stop yourself?" Gosh, you're right, officer, thank you for helping me to see the error of my ways. Unfortunately, I think it assumes a middle-class sensibility is prevalent among most teenagers.

Stop The Traffik (5). And here's another one. Everyone in a classroom is oblivious to a girl being beaten and dragged out by a thug. We're then told by the voiceover: "Don't be oblivious to human trafficking." Oh, OK then.

Both of these campaigns seem to lack the insight and social relevance of the truly great Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Knife Crime campaign.

Labour Party (4). Tricky business political advertising, now that social media can give you an immediate happy slapping. But as Euro RSCG is the agency of record for the Tory Party, I think this poster is dreadful. Weak, dull and tired. Lacks direction, energy and a vision. Typical of a worn-out,dysfunctional Labour Party. And there are too many words on it to be a poster.

So, on the whole, not a great week.


After a new year detox and a frugal February, Private View dishes up a rich diet of fast food, fast fashion, domestic violence, child trafficking, political sniping ... and sliced white bread. Let's tuck in.

Can we really be about to vote in a Tory government? It's a certainty if this is the best propaganda the Labour Party (4) has to offer. Cameron and his chums should be so easy to vilify and yet Labour looks like it's lost its bottle. Camera on, camera off is funny and punny, but this visual offers none of the iconic caricature of previous famous and infamous political campaigns.

For about a decade, fcuk had all the savoir-faire of a bunch of hoodies sniggering and pointing at a Scope minibus. Thank goodness for this new French Connection (2) campaign - feels like it's got its high-street mojo back again. The Man/The Woman is just the right mix of fashion and fun for its young, streetwise audience. The ads look great, the shop windows look great and it's so classy, some of the photography is even in black and white. The girl is lovely but I'm a bit vexed by the boho bloke. If you look closely, in a quality mag with good repro, you're left wondering if that is a real beard or a load of monkey pubes glued to his chin by the stylist.

From reformed fashion chavs to chavs with clout. This Home Office (1) campaign takes physical abuse head-on and dramatises a nice insight very simply; if the victim or the perpetrator could see themselves, they would change their ways. Even if this only works on victims and their friends, it will have achieved something. The acting's a bit ham-fisted, though.

Something more criminal than hammy child actors is child trafficking. In this spot for Stop The Traffik (5), we see a couple of thoroughly menacing Balkan types wander into a classroom and drag a girl out by the hair while everyone carries on as if nothing had happened. This belongs in the school of cheap thrills charity advertising. Unlike the Home Office work, this seems to lack any insight, it just dramatises the issue in the most brutal way possible - it upsets me, but what am I meant to do now? Set up a vigilante group and look out for prowlers at my local comprehensive?

McDonald's (3) has had a recent run of lovely work and my reaction to shots of flame-tossed burgers, tumbling salad and melting Monterey Jack cheese is normally nothing short of Pavlovian. This spot isn't up to the new standard the agency has set. There's a lot of faffing around murdering a De La Soul classic when all I want to do is murder a burger ... and when it does appear, it looks a bit styro-foamy.

The bread in the new Hovis (6) campaign looks very appetising, though, as does the jam, the cheese, and the ham and mustard that goes into this celebration of the great British sandwich. Last year's Hovis anniversary ad was "lump in the throat" brilliant and much copied. Looking at the comment thread under this new work on Campaignlive, it looks like Brian thinks this is every bit as great. Personally, I'm with Gav.

Brian: Brilliant ads and a very clever strategy ... well done Hovis & MCBD.

Gav: Brian, do you happen to work at MCBD?

Project: Teen abusive relationships
Client: Jo Bray, strategic communications advisor, adult campaigns, Home
Brief: De-normalise abuse within teen relationships
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
Writer: David Martin
Art director: James Manning
Director: Shane Meadows
Production company: Tomboy Films
Exposure: National TV

Project: Spring/Summer 2010
Client: Stephen Marks, chairman and chief executive, French Connection
Brief: Launch the new Spring/Summer 2010 collection, highlighting French
Connection's design credentials and quality
Agency: Fallon
Writer: Toby Moore
Art director: Selena MacKenzie
Director: Blinkk
Production company: One Six 7
Exposure: Cinema, outdoor

Project: The new Chicken, Bacon and Onion burger from McDonald's
Client: Alistair Macrow, marketing director, McDonald's UK
Brief: Launch the new Chicken, Bacon and Onion burger
Agency: Leo Burnett
Writers/art directors: Trevor Webb, Sarah Clift
Director: James Rouse
Production company: Outsider
Exposure: National TV, press, outdoor, DM

Project: Camera on, camera off
Client: Labour Party
Brief: Show people that David Cameron rarely believes in what he is
saying and establish an idea that people can take up and use for
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi London
Writer/art director: Kate Stanners
Exposure: Print

Project: Start Freedom campaign
Client: Ruth Dearnley, chief executive, Stop The Traffik
Brief: Raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking and drive
people to sign up to Stop The Traffik's Start Freedom
Agency: Leagas Delaney
Writer: Matthew Moreland
Art director: Chris Clarke
Director: Jonathan Dennis
Production company: Feel Films
Exposure: Cinema, online, press

Project: 100 per cent British wheat
Client: Jon Goldstone, marketing director, Hovis
Brief: Produce a campaign that illustrates Hovis' change to produce its
entire product range from 100 per cent British wheat
Agency: MCBD
Writer: Jermaine Hillman
Art director: Paul Kocur
Director: Niall Downing
Production company: Partizan
Exposure: TV, outdoor