Archive | October, 2012

Virgin Mumbai – a little gem

22 Oct

This is a bit of a cliche but I like it:


It’s using the motif of a six armed Hindu goddess to tell us that Virgin fly to Mumbai. But wait, an attendant with six arms must be incredibly useful and helpful on a plane – what a great metaphor for the in-flight service.

The art direction is lovely too – I have no idea what the hindi script says at the bottom but I like it that it’s on there. A fantastic job all round.

Exit Visa

18 Oct

This is more of a gripe than anything else but it feels good.

It’s my last week as freelance CD of a top London ad agency. I was due to stay on another month but this all changed yesterday. Still, no one has told any of the teams I’m working with that I am leaving so I’m carrying on with business as usual. Only I’m not, of course. Now that I won’t be seeing any of my projects to fruition, the energy has been rather sucked out of the working day.

Just now, I sat in a meeting for a charity during which work which I have not seen before was laid out on a table. The work is going to be presented to a third party organisation who is going to work with us and the charity to create some kind of newsworthy experience.

Well, that’s the plan. The trouble is, I didn’t much like the ideas. Not only that, no one asked me if I liked the ideas, making my CD role in the team somewhat redundant. Normally I would have thrown in an opinion – even an unasked one, but with an end date a week away I thought I’d go for the easy life instead.

Then the account director mentioned a viral clip which the marketing director had seen. You know the one, it’s the panda sneezing. He says he’d like us to do something like that. A clip that 148 million people have seen. Clearly no one has felt it their place to tell the marketing director that we might be unable to unearth a spontaneous, unplanned piece of natural world TV gold, especially one which no one else has seen.

It’s been a ride but one I’ll be quite glad to get off.

Lexus misses the point

10 Oct

The point being that no one is especially interested in ads. Have a look at this:

It’s snazzy, for sure. But who is going to take time out of their day to load an iPad, place it under the page of a magazine and watch a Lexus demo? Why would they do that? If they have to switch on the iPad, why not put the whole ad on the iPad?

Time and again advertisers live in a bubble where they believe that people read magazines for the ads. Reality check: they do not. They skip the ads to read the features, news, horoscopes, problem pages, puzzles – in other words, any page that has something more interesting on it than an advert. Occasionally, an advert will either jump out or blend in so well that it seems to be a piece of editorial. The best one of these that I have seen recently was for the radio station, Coke FM ┬áin South America. You can see it here. I actually spent most of the afternoon listening to the station online as a result of seeing it.

It is print ads like this we should be shouting about, not time and money wasters like Lexus.

Unhate campaign form (sorry, from) Benetton

9 Oct

This is different, isn’t it?

We’re used to expecting the unexpected from Benetton – I guess that’s their advertising property. Their ads never feel like ads because they aren’t selling clothing. Instead, the ads come across as insights into the mind of Benetton, or the brand’s guardians.

And so here, instead of an ad that shows off the Benetton autumn/winter range, we have lots of young folk from around the world who are unemployed. I like the idea of ‘Unemployee of the Year’ and of people being non sound engineers, non actors and non doctors. I like the idea of a competition where Benetton helps fund a program for these potential-laden non achievers. But is it an advertising campaign for Benetton?

I see it as a promotion for a Benetton initiative which sits separate from the brand. But why help young people? I guess the answer is why not? Young people are Benetton’s core audience and without a job or any income, they can’t buy Benetton clothing.

But if this is the argument, any product aimed at the under 30’s (and let’s face it, there are enough of them) could have run this campaign. Is it enough to say ‘our ads are never about our products, and here’s another one’? Perhaps, but in doing this, Benetton sits outside the advertising camp and plays by it’s own rules. And it only takes a Diesel, or a Levis or a Nike to follow suit and Benetton’s usp is blown out of the water.

And one last gripe, the lad in the picture isn’t form the UK, he’s from the UK. Someone at Benetton HQ should be embarrassed !

This is brilliant!

4 Oct

I have never spent four hours looking at an ad until yesterday. This was the ad:

You can look at it in more detail here.

The image contains visual clues to 75 London Underground stations and there’s a prize if you guess them all. A quick check on Twitter shows that a lot of us have already lost a lot of man hours trying to work out what the sheep in the bath, Barbie and Ken and the witch with the two green people might mean.

Apparently it’s a promotion by CBS Outdoor to show advertisers how good advertising can stand out on the Tube – I first saw the poster at Embankment Tube.

If the other brands who advertise here are even a quarter as engaging as this poster, they should do brilliantly.

Should we do what the client wants?

1 Oct

Well, should we? Because they pay our bills and they should know what they want shouldn’t they? Let’s use the analogy of a painter and decorator. They just paint what we tell them. But if we use an interior designer, we are open to suggestion. It’s the difference between a home that is magnolia and one which is beautiful.

So, are we a client’s interior designers or are we just painters and decorators? Artisans or hired help? I was reminded in a meeting today of what the client whose business we are pitching for is expecting. Oh joy! We know what our client is expecting so surely we can surprise, excite and stimulate their minds by giving them something they are not expecting?

Wrong. We are worried. We need this business (never a good headset to go in with if you want to be truly creative) and we are ticking boxes like it is a prize draw and we want to win a holiday.

IMHO, forget what the client wants and give them what they need. Have an opinion that is different to ‘we agree wholeheartedly with everything you say.’ You never know, they might respect you, even if they disagree with that opinion.

Too often we are told to be pragmatic in pitches and go in with a banker – a dull oil tanker of an idea that excites no one, least of all the public who are expected to put their hands in their pockets as a result of seeing it.

Too often we fail because our work is magnolia, and if we do win a pitch with work that, at best, can be called ‘solid’, how can we hope to steer our the client towards work that inspires us, our colleagues, others in the industry and, best of all, the public?

So let’s not do what the client wants. What the client wants can go to hell. They might just respect us a bit more for it.