Chief creative officer, Karmarama
Ooh, I like the new Campaign format. Much better. Less waffle. Less industry bollocks. More concise. More comment and opinion. Well done, all of you.
Excellent choice for Pick of the Week a couple of weeks back too.
Right, let’s go.
In no particular order.
In the latest (or historical) offer from Diet Coke, we see a young hunk mowing Primrose Hill with a small garden mower being perved at by five chicks from Adam & Eve. As you would expect from an advertisement, the girls are from all the ethnic and socioeconomic groups: the mumsy ginger, the girl-next-door blonde, Naomi Campbell’s sister, the racy blonde and the dirty, predatory brunette.
The dirty predator rolls a can of Diet Coke towards the hunk and, to cut a massively contrived story short, the can gets shaken up, the bloke picks it up, opens it, gets soaked and takes his shirt off – soft-drink induced orgasms all round.
Beautifully shot. Very contorted. Better first time round.
Next. Maryland. Lots of talking teacups. A plate of biscuits. Some chat. A dunk. Nothing more.
I’ve watched this 19 times and I genuinely can’t think of anything else to say about it.
Next, Axe Apollo Space Academy. We’re on a beach. Hot chick in the water. Shittox! She’s in trouble! Fart in a cup! It’s a shark! Hunky lifeguard jumps down, gets in the water and punches the shit out of the great white. He rescues the hot girl and carries her on to the beach. Just about to snog. She spots an astronaut, gets up and runs towards him, leaving the hunk dumbfounded. Astronauts shit all over lifeguards. We all knew it anyhow, but now it’s official.
There is some great content on the site with Buzz Aldrin recruiting normal blokes to be astronauts and to go up into space. For real.
I really like it, bang-on right for the audience, and I’d like to buy the creative team and creative director lunch for bringing back the Reverse Baywatch Beach Jog Slo-Mo Shot and making an old man very happy. Seriously. Lunch. Wherever you want. Within reason. Call me. Or e-mail me.
Next. McDonald’s. A bloke is doodling on his notepad, there’s a Chicken McBite in the middle of the paper and he creates a lovely bit of animation using the aforementioned chicken-based snack. Sorry to ruin it, but he eats it at the end. It’s all right. Again. Nothing more. Nothing less. All right.
Finally. Bacardi. Telling us "trueish" online stories of the Unbelievable History of the Bacardi Brand.
I can’t imagine the budgets were massive on this stuff. But these online content films are beautifully shot and art directed. Fantastic set design. Great casting. Great direction. And a mountainous boob gag. Well done, production company. Really nice.
Some of the ideas are a bit better than others. The first two-minute bit of content is massively over length. But it’s all good fun, ambitious, charming and feels right.
Chief executive, M&C Saatchi Worldwide
Chinese New Year celebrations come to an end today. It is traditionally a time for reconciliation – to bury the hatchet, a time to spread peace and happiness.
With that in mind, let’s start with the easiest one; easiest because it’s the best.
Axe "lifeguard" is a 60-second TV commercial linked to a global competition to win a trip to outer space. A simple story – boy saves girl from shark. I’ve managed to make it sound banal, but it’s brilliant. Faultless directing, writing, editing and, most importantly, with an original idea at its heart. I’m sure a male focus group would say the masterstroke is the casting, and freeze every frame of the "Baywatch homage". But its real brilliance lies in "nothing beats an astronaut" and "Axe Apollo Space Academy".
Next candidate on my quest to spread goodwill is Diet Coke. On its 30th anniversary, it has launched a remake of the 12-year-old "hunk", with possibly a bit of Levi’s "laundrette" thrown in. They’ve done a damn good job. "Hunk" mows lawn, a group of girls ogle and throw him a can of Diet Coke, he opens it, wet T-shirt, strips, they ogle some more. Sexual innuendo was the currency of the original and it’s here in spades. But what makes it so watchable are the subtleties of the close-ups (even the one of the can of Diet Coke). And then there’s the soundtrack, I Just Want To Make Love To You by Etta James.
Bacardi has an even more impressive anniversary to celebrate – its 150th. It has made a series of films to run online to remind us of entertaining moments in its history (although I couldn’t find the films on the website). This one is about Emilio Bacardi. His reputation in fighting for Cuban independence rests on the idea of hiding incriminating documents in his maid’s bra, apparently… I enjoyed the ode to 50s Hollywood Stewart Granger swashbuckling, lots of well-observed stuff. Having said that, the two mountains reminding "El Capitan" of a pair of breasts should really have been left on the cutting-room floor. You also have to wonder whether there’s enough of a reason and incentive for anyone to seek these films out.
I like McDonald’s – I like the brand, the product and usually the commercials, but am struggling here. A meteor (a Chicken McBite) lands in an animated town and is feted and worshipped. We then find out the doodle is done by a man sitting in McDonald’s. It is inoffensive, has a nice big product shot throughout and a pleasant enough tune.
And with Maryland, I have finally run out of Chinese New Year peace, harmony and reconciliation. A planner clearly decided that the usage occasion to target was dunking with a cuppa, so the commercial features a number of different coffee and teacups that come alive in a Toy Story type way. Perhaps it was going for old-fashioned innocence and charm, but it left me feeling patronised. I was confused about the target audience – mums, kids, someone else?
So, the Year of the Dragon ends. Whether you are a rat, a pig or, indeed, a snake whose year it is, may you prosper.
This article was first published on