Archive | April, 2012

Don’t hate me

30 Apr

I’ll be honest, I’m not standing on an especially sturdy soapbox, as I didn’t much rate the Guardian  Three Little Pigs ad as an original idea. Maybe that’s because I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, Hoodwinked!, as I’m guessing the creative team must have done too. Anyway, while the soapbox is still holding me up, here’s my take on another ad that will no doubt be bothering awards juries this time next year:

It’s beautifully made, and we all like seeing our athletes winning Olympic medals. Who can forget the sense of national joy when (Dame) Kelly Holmes brought home the bacon? But something grates with me in this ad. Pushy mums. Pushy mums who are desperate for their kid to be the next Beyoncé, David Beckham or…Kelly Holmes. Pushy mums who train every ounce of fun out of their kids, who take it upon themselves to live their unfulfilled dreams through their kids. Pushy dads are just as bad but as this ad is for a company that makes cleaning products largely bought by women, it’s women who take the spotlight.

It’s a tough brief, pairing mums who clean and care for kids with sporting excellence. And it’s a lot better than most Olympic advertising that’s around at the moment. For my tastes though, it’s a tad too close to the bone and I’m left wishing that I could see the swimmer getting the medal without knowing how many thousands of lengths she had to do every week as a tiny tot while her mum loomed over her. A bit like wanting to enjoy roast lamb without having to think of the beast skipping through a meadow, or wearing fashion brands without wanting to know about the sweatshops that produced them.

In other words, I feel weirdly less patriotic having seen this, and a bit guilty that I’m a willing accessory in the business of drilling children into becoming elite athletes. Maybe Procter and Gamble have no such qualms, or maybe they just haven’t seen how this ad might be misinterpreted.

The future of bank advertising?

26 Apr

Please watch this:

Now ask yourself these questions. 1.Who is Sainsburys Bank? 2.What does Sainsburys Bank do, create or provide for their customers? 3.Why should I as a customer be interested in this offering? Three pretty simple questions which all advertising should answer unless, of course, it’s not advertising. Unless it’s just sponsored entertainment.

So, let’s answer the first question. I don’t know who Sainsburys Bank is, but from the ad I guess they are some kind of spa. Odd name for a spa but there you go. Question two: what do they do? Given the ad we’ve just watched, Sainsburys Bank provides a guerrilla pampering service to unexpected members of the public. Question Three: why should I care? I am genuinely interested in getting a free makeover, there’s just no link where I can sign up to be the next person to enjoy one. Unless of course Sainsburys Bank is actually a  bank that does loans, mortgages and high interest savings account…

So maybe it’s a bit of sponsored content. But why would Sainsburys Bank sponsor short makeover shows that it has created itself? What are they saying? And who to? One thing is clear: if Sainsburys Bank think this is an advert for their business, they are wasting money. And that’s not a great thing for a bank to be doing in 2012.

Lavazza – what happened?

23 Apr

A while ago, Lavazza posters were a thing of beauty. A gorgeous slice of luxurient surrealism to brighten up the greyness of a tube journey. Posters like this:

Beautifully mad and leftfield. Recently, they have been displaying this around town:

Where’s the joy? I get the air stewardess using her Ganesh arms to serve coffee. I loved the models adorned with teaspoons and coffee cups. It felt gorgeous and ‘coffee’. As for this, we have two models pretending to be in love while their lower regions are soaked in canal water. The coffee is sitting unloved, ignored and possibly a little embarrassed on the table. Who are they? How did they get there? Why? Where’s her bag? There is no back story, no character and the image is just, well, flat. There’s probably been a regime change at the Lavazza marketing HQ, and it is a real loss to advertising. I can’t help feeling that somewhere, the agency that created all the previous beauty is crying real tears.


16 Apr

I am a huge fan of advertising on the radio. This does not mean I like radio adverts; for the most part, they suck. Around one in ten is bearable and around one in a hundred seems truly excellent. Most are dreck. I wanted to review an ad from Tfl which I like, and here is the other great difference between ads on TV and ads on the radio (the first being obvious): TV ads sit comforatbly on YouTube and, if they are great, on numerous blogs. A good radio ad is lucky to appear on the website of the agency which created it or the client which bought it.

And so it is with the Tfl ad. I searched Google in vain. I emailed Tfl but got no response. I even emailed the Radio Advertising Bureau – surely they could help? In the end I gave up waiting. The ad was simple – the Chariots of Fire theme tune played on car horns. We are told that there will be traffic disruptions around the Olympics and to go to the Tfl website to find out more. Not world changing but a small gem nonetheless. A one in ten.

The other ad, however, is lucky enough to appear on the website of its sponsor, an organisation called Armed Forces Day. I have no idea what Armed Forces Day is and the ad leaves me none the wiser. Listen to it yourself here:


It’s excruciating. Never have six ‘members of the public’ appeared so fake. A Caribbean woman says “I was reading about the Royal Navy stopping them drug smugglers, and I thought ‘good on you'”.  Which drug smugglers? And there’s a big difference between saying ‘good on you’ and wasting a day at an event to really get to understand how the Navy stops contraband entering the United Kingdom. And an even bigger difference between that and going on national radio telling people about it. Absolutely toe curling, along with the teenager whose granddad was in the War, ie, born around 1920. For real? How old are his parents? It’s only made more dreadful by being on so often.

The ad is so fake you wonder how genuine anything you see at the event will be. A lazy answer to a great brief that tells me nothing about Armed Forces Day and which makes me want to switch radio channels every time it comes on. A 99 in a 100.