Jonathan Burley and Laurence Green
With work from The Times/Sunday Times, The Co-operative, Samsung, William Hill, Jeremiah Weed and Fuze Tea.
Executive creative director, CHI & Partners
Truth is, I’m particularly unqualified to give a dispassionate critique of the new Co-operative campaign. Having pitched and lost to this work, any negative comment – however mild – could quite fairly be accused of nothing more than sour grapes from vinegarish old me. I’m also inordinately fond of the supremely talented people and agency that produced this TV commercial so, all in all, it seems best that I just keep the fuck out of it.
However, I do have to say that the identical rhyme construct of the northern-lass poem that runs over the piece feels rather unsatisfying for a 30-second ad. Rhyming "day" with "day" is a bit of a shame when there are so many smashing words out there that would be more than happy to rhyme with it. So many, I’ll try to write the rest of this Private View in "day"-rhyming doggerel, just for shits.
I must declare myself as an interested party but, fuck me, I do have to say
That, following on the award-winning heels of our recent Rich List work, the latest Times/Sunday Times campaign from Grey
Has all the charm, wit and visual appeal of a burnt and sunken cheese soufflé.
Which is a little ironic, as the obvious point of this particular advertising communiqué
Is to position the newspaper of record as some kind of delightful culinary buffet.
The new campaign for William Hill also makes my withered heart ache with advertising dismay.
Another fine brand with its marketing budget bleakly pissed away
On a viciously hateable twat in a parrot suit (a vomitously colourful one, not an African Grey), Dicking and dancing around in a shameful display
Of creative redundancy and moral decay.
I am a huge fan of multichannel integrated campaigns – the very best ones have an irresistibly full-thighed, wide-hipped swagger, the marketing equivalent of Beyoncé.
But, so disappointingly often, an idea that starts off in the experiential or digital place can’t help but convey
A lack of ability in more traditional broadcast channels – an?embarrassing executional naïveté.
So, much as I enjoy the "amateur David Baileys" concept behind the new Samsung camera campaign, as a TV spot it’s DOA,
Populated with gormless camera-wielding biffas, rapeishly leering at some poor, bendy bint who is apparently a panicked escapee from the South Korean corps de ballet.
Oh, thank the baby Jesus: hip hip hoofuckingray,
At last, in this bag of less than ordinary, a genuinely charming TV spot for an iced tea called Fuze from the ever-reliably excellent W&K.
A jauntily James Taylorish folk tune, wittily written about what happens when "this meets that" and just about on the right side of fey,
Is visualised with enough Smith & Foulkes imaginative flourish to delight the knickers off me, despite having Honda "grrr" rather transparently coded into its executional DNA.
I feel like I should enjoy this ad for Jeremiah Weed, another one of those short-lived obscure indie beers from the USA;
It has a crocodile in it, for a start, which should lend any ad a certain flamboyant reptilian cachet.
But the combination of a generically muddy brand point of view and a lack of excellence in direction ultimately means the spot sadly goes astray.
It’s a shame really as, much like the French naturalist, biologist and early proponent of the theory of evolution Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet,
I do fucking love those crazy crocs.
Founding partner, 101
Another week, another completely unrepresentative batch of work to be reviewed. Yes, hard as I look, and directly contradicting what we all know to be playing out in the real world, there’s not a single ad for EE to be seen anywhere among these.
That said, none of these advertisers should kid themselves. Though today they rub shoulders with one another in the chummy walled garden that is Private View, sooner or later they must compete for the nation’s attention and affections with, well, with EE, as far as I can tell.
This spot for William Hill won’t upset the odds (excuse the pun… they started it). On the flimsily assembled premise that, yes, everybody loves a little flutter, we see a creature that can only be described as Big Bird’s bastard child loom large in our everyday gamblers’ lives. Screen grabs and offers do their very best to distract us from it all. It’s demented thinking without the lifebuoy of executional genius.
That said, William Hill does seem like an advertiser that knows its place (that place most likely being daytime TV: the electric alley no self-respecting adman should walk alone). It’s not something that can be said of The Co-operative, which has chosen not just to go early this Christmas but to go large. Not with a big idea, you understand, a big budget or even a big name, but rather with An Awfully Big Sentiment. "We’re with you for life," the nation’s biggest funeral provider proclaims. If this is how you celebrate Christmas, I really hope that’s not the case.
In its haste to try on the clothes of the nation’s favourite retailer, it seems The Co-op missed something crucial: while John Lewis is never knowingly undersold in-store, it is never knowingly oversold on air. We are left to reach our own conclusions, completing the communication ourselves. Response trumps stimulus.
Our next two ads that aren’t for EE both understand this. The commercial for Jeremiah Weed paints an agreeable and, some might say, aspirational picture of a young chap with an alligator for a pet. (A little domesticated for my tastes, but I still wanted to set it on William Hill’s manbird.) Deftly dodging the requirement for what I suspect would be an ironically dispiriting product explanation, "can’t explain it. Best just enjoyed" is the sort of platform that could and should run for years. I’d like to see it get a little odder, though, on the basis that folk who are happy to drink unapologetically non-specific moonshine will happily accommodate less orthodox advertising representation.
Flogging iced tea to us Brits is harder than getting a teenager into a winter coat. Admirably, despite the sometimes bogus pressure attached to The Launch Spot, Fuze Tea doesn’t really try to do so at all, choosing instead to beguile us with the notion that "Good things happen when this meets that". There’s a faint echo of Honda in the animation, but also a decent stab at a brand world – the mere mention of which can make a certain type of client froth at the mouth. And, hey, good things happen when this meets that, no?
The Times/Sunday Times print campaign is good, if not quite as good as it thinks it is, whereas Samsung’s latest offering to the gods of commerce is an accidental ad for a competitor – at least in the eyes of this wizened correspondent. I’m old enough to remember the wonderfully written, well-branded and long-running campaign David Bailey featured in for Olympus cameras in his pomp.
Regardless of this fatal misattribution, I’d rather take one box-fresh Kevin Bacon as my brand spokesperson than 143 "not David Baileys". Given the likely media weights, I don’t think we’ll have much choice anyway. I do hope Saatchi & Saatchi is on a pay as you go contract.
This article was first published on Campaign Work
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