Executive creative director,
’Lection fevah. It’s giving me a bloody rash. And I’m still scratching it. But I think I may have cracked it.
I even woke my husband up by punching him in the shoulder to let him know about my eureka moment. In my humble opinion, it’s all pretty simple. I reckon it comes down to choosing one of the two Ps: policy or personality. After saying "ouch", my husband then declared I was a genius. I don’t think he was being sarcastic.
So what’s going to get my vote? I’m going for personality. Obvs.
Talking of personality (see what I did there?), Warburtons has pulled it off with Sly. Let me rephrase that: Warburtons has managed to cast Mr S to appear in its rather long ad. Mr W at the end says: "Tell me the bit about the bread again." Yes, what about the bread? I don’t give a medium-sliced about how it’s delivered. Stallone is pretty good and I’m sure everyone is feeling pretty pleased with themselves. But, for me, 20 seconds in and I was missing Wendy the talking dog and that brother and sister with a death wish (Britain’s Got Talent fans know what I’m on about).
OK, now the Green Party, obviously trying to attract a younger audience. My 12-year-old boy was shown this in his form class at school. I’m slightly irritated by that, as he wasn’t shown anything from the other parties. (Which may have impressed me if they’d thought about it.) That’s another one on the list for the next parents’ evening, along with "there’s cheese in everything in the canteen". Anyway. He didn’t think it was funny. Or cool. I’m not sure anyone six years older would disagree with him. If you haven’t got any personality, you’d better talk policy. They do at the end. It’s just too late. It made me a bit cross, to be honest. Trivialising the election with yoof is surely just exacerbating the "can’t be bothered" issue. And, besides that, I thought it was more boy bland than boy band.
So on to Channel 4. There are lots of personalities in here and there’s quite a bit to love. But, I am sad to say, it didn’t excite me about the future of C4 at all, which was obviously the brief. This cost a lot of cash. And I’m left thinking it is still going to have the same programmes on in 20 years or whenever it’s meant to be transmitting back from. However, I love the long finger. Wish I had one to poke Mr Bullard with when I have my next genius moment.
Operation Black Vote definitely got my attention. The not-for-profit organisation wants greater black and minority-ethnic representation in politics. By being inactive, you are actively "taking the colour out of Britain". It’s a really interesting thought, but not a simple one. So I’m hoping there’s more to this campaign and look forward to where they take it.
And, finally, Absolut. Look, I stuck with this for 30 minutes. It’s a game that has been created in "collaboration" with Punchdrunk (you know, the immersive theatre group only us Londoners know anything about – so it must be cool, right?) to promote the new Andy Warhol Absolut bottle. I have Absolut no idea what this has to do with the new bottle. What I do know is that it’s infuriating, could be for anything and, even if there is a clever twist at the end of it, I can’t be arsed to get there.
But, to be fair, it has made me want a vodka.
With less than a month before the general election, I’m currently slightly obsessed with politics. So, which of this week’s campaigns would win my vote?
Warburtons is the first candidate. You have to give them credit for going large and getting Stallone on board. People love a celeb reprising an iconic role with a bit of humour. However, it all feels a bit poor man’s Van Damme (or, given it’s Stallone, rich man’s Van Damme). And the shiny silly celeb rather overshadows any policy messages. So, Warburtons hasn’t won me over.
Next on the ballot paper is Channel 4. I have high expectations. I love "born risky" and it has done some brilliant work, such as the pop promo Prototype. Unfortunately, this time I’m not convinced. I don’t care that it has rebranded 4oD as All 4 and this campaign doesn’t make it any clearer why I should care. I have no idea why the new app is better or why it’s the future. Nor does this have the witty, provocative style I expect and love from Channel 4. The gay royal kiss raised a smile, but it all feels a bit more ITV than Channel 4. The party faithful are feeling a little betrayed.
This week, we’ve also been given some genuine election-related campaigns. Operation Black Vote is the first. I know I’m not the target audience, but I struggled with this one even more than I struggled with the pink bus. It will get attention, but it seems a little clumsy. I can’t help remembering the utterly brilliant 1996 Ministry of Sound campaign. It encouraged young people to vote, despite their apathy around mainstream politics. It urged them to use their votes to cancel out the votes of people who held opposing and extreme views around issues such as racism and homophobia. Brilliant, clever, thought-provoking work. Twenty years on, why can’t we match it? But, despite the carping, I think this may get some people closer to the ballot box.
Moving from black to green. The boy band composed of the leaders of the three main parties will get attention for the Green Party. It would have been funnier if they had used better lookalikes, but it’s still shareable. It delivers the message that mainstream parties are all the same but, unfortunately, it leaves me none the wiser about what the Green Party stands for. My main takeout is: why bother voting? That really depresses me. Couldn’t they have found something more powerful to say about the Green Party and made that watchable and shareable? This makes me feel like spoiling my ballot paper.
Finally, the Silverpoint app for Absolut. This taps into the trend of addictive mobile gaming but combines it with real-world experiences. It’s innovative, imaginative and immersive. It’s inspiring to see what Punchdrunk has done with a new genre. I downloaded it and have to confess I was so addicted that I spent the better part of a Sunday morning playing it, much to the disgust of my four-year-old. The branding is subtle but I still came away feeling very positive about Absolut. So, this lot gets my vote outright. No question. No coalition. Absolutely Absolut.
However, all this leaves me with one last nagging question. I can’t help wondering what if Punchdrunk had been given the Green Party or Operation Black Vote brief. What brilliant, innovative, different work would we have seen? How might the election turn out differently? Its ingenuity is a bit of a wake-up call for all of us in creative agencies. So, the next brief that comes my way, I’m going to be asking: what would Punchdrunk do?