Emma de la Fosse
Co-chief creative officer,
So BB King is dead. RIP, Mr King, a true gent. Apparently, he once called another, lesser-known musician over to him and said: "You know, you can say just as much with two notes as you can with 23." The guy then converted to the blues and never looked back, so the story goes. I wonder what BB King would have made of this week’s campaigns?
Travelodge. Our inner selves, given form as Muppet doppelgängers (obviously), sing about the different reasons why Travelodge is the "Travelogical choice". Strategically and tonally, it feels right. Travelodge is never going to be sexy or exciting. The Muppets sing their way through all the reasons why staying there makes sense. The puppets will be a very ownable property for Travelodge, which no doubt will be praying that people stop confusing it with the place where Lenny Henry stays when he’s on tour. In all, it’s a simple, upbeat idea that gets its point across.
Cravendale has given me something new to worry about. It has invested in a cool, mysterious guy with big production values whose top tipple is the white stuff. That’s not what’s worrying me. It’s the endline: "Filtered for freshness." The mysterious man hasn’t said anything about filtering. What’s in milk that needs to be filtered out? Does that mean my milk has bits in it?
Another question: why doesn’t Lynx make funny ads any more? I can’t work out why some brands (Volkswagen springs to mind) take a hugely popular format and junk it for an expensive exercise of style over substance. A cool enigmatic guy, living in a gritty urban metropolis, is plagued by an outbreak of extreme camera angles and close-up shots. He escapes it all by having a nice shower with some Lynx. This particular execution is a case of 23 notes not saying very much.
Volvo is like a piece of free jazz: rather too long, no narrative arc. We are supposed to draw parallels between the Swedish DJ Avicii’s reworking of a classic Nina Simone track and the design of the Volvo. (I only got that because I read the blurb on The Work.)
At 2.20, you’ve either got to be a big fan of Avicii or the new Volvo XC90 to stick with it. Coming on the back of the hugely successful Volvo Trucks web series, a pantechnicon full of ideas and great music, this is a strange offering. It’s like the "making of" video of a film I have never seen.
Are we nearly finished? It must be time for a break. Ah, look, just the thing: a Kit Kat. No, hang on a mo. It’s a YouTube break. Kit Kat, the owner of "the break", has rebranded its wrappers with more than 70 different types of break including Me Time Break and Sporty Break (I wonder if it has Posh Break and Scary Break?). It has a telly ad showing the kinds of people who exist only in ads having weird and wacky types of breaks. In case you don’t want to watch that, it also has a voice-activated app that allows you to search trending videos on YouTube. It’s a very hard-working campaign. For breaks. If the trending videos are funny, they can piggyback some good content, which will give this campaign a bit of much-needed humour.
So there we are. I’m off to have a Stand In The Queue For A Skinny Latte With My Name Spelt Wrong On The Cup Break.
Chris Bovill and John Allison
This week’s crop is a bit of an advertising soup. It has plenty of nutrients in there but it’s just incredibly samey and not nearly enough gamey. Don’t get us wrong, there is the occasional tasty meaty morsel, although, deep down, you know it’s probably just some reconstituted goat anus.
The new Travelodge ad is fine if you like your ads with Muppets, musicals and krayzee ("Travelogical", anyone?) puns. It’s confusing, though, because the cast of the Dolmio ads are staying in one of their hotels. They’ve totally forgotten about pasta sauce and are more preoccupied with unconvincingly wailing about online booking and fresh sheets. Meanwhile, Zombie Jim Henson, forced to roam the earth for eternity in search of his beloved Kermit, will be out for revenge…
Cravendale has got a great voiceover guy. He has got a great turn of phrase with a perfect delivery. It’s just that he sounds like the great VO guy who also sells cars and butter and deodorant. It’s the Power of Old Lurpak Spice Dreams. Saminess aside, it’s shot well. It features a comical Daniel Day Lewis-a-like on a There Will Be Milk tip. Strategically, it’s the old "real men use X" angle. Can’t see the males out there swapping pints of yellow for pints of white. Beer gets you off, whereas milk just goes off.
You have to admire brands that strive to be relevant. It’s just a shame the new Kit Kat stuff is a bit late to the party. Ten years too late. Literally. It’s like watching a funny gibbon clip on YouTube at work when suddenly a giant bar of newly YouTube-branded Kit Kat storms in screaming: "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS THING CALLED THE YOUTUBES!? IT’S TOTES HILAIR! I MEAN, LIKE, HAVE YOU SEEN CHARLIE BIT MY FINGER! MEGALOLZZZZZ! MICRO-FUNNIES IS WHERE IT’S AT! KIT KAT 2.0! I’M ALL ABOUT DIGI-BREAKS NOW MAH BITCHES!"
Somewhere on the internet, a DJ has done a remix and it’s brought to you by Volvo. The point? DJs are cool and so are cars? Dunno. Have you noticed when something’s great, it’s described as "innovative"? When it’s average, it’s "content". About ten years ago, the jargon committee rebranded the phrase "pointless guff" and renamed it "content". Content is allowed to avoid the normal creative scrutiny because, well, it’s just a bit of content, innit. It’s only there to fill a void. Like a fart in a room.
The new Lynx ad is fine. It’s just another in a long line of "Hard day? You poor thing" ads. We got all sad and nostalgic for the old ads…
Two bottles of Lynx shower gel sit on a shelf in a regional chemists:
LYNX1: Seen the new ad?
LYNX2: Is it cool and funny and involves some dude getting laid?
LYNX1: Some guy misses his bus in New York and has a special man-shower to cheer up.
LYNX2: Confused face
LYNX1: I know, Phillip, we used to stand for something.
LYNX2: I feel empty inside.
LYNX1: I have nothing to live for.
LYNX1: Hold me.
LYNX2: Kill me.
Aren’t you glad we didn’t use "reconstituted goat anus" as a running theme.