Creative


Rodrigo Sobral

Vice-president, executive creative director, R/GA London

I was initially taken aback by the awkward feeling of publicly criticising other people’s work. "I’m a nice guy," I said to myself. Yes, I say things to myself all the time. So I decided that I would let my empathy for my agency peers speak louder and critique the brand instead – and also watch each video with none of the judgmental grumpiness that a grey, rainy end of day provides. My methodology was basic: would I buy it? Will I remember it? Was it good for me or do I want those one-to-three minutes of my life back?

*Drum roll*

Subway  is up first. Yes, good line. Actually, great line! I can see "Stay picky" as a platform idea that could generate a whole content series. Unfortunately, it was so good, it clashed with the would-be main message that a new limited-edition BBQ pulled-pork sarnie is in town. Say what?

Irn-Bru is next on the line. I’m unsure how to express my feelings towards this one. Numbness? I quite like pushing the boundaries of taboo subjects, but the mum watching her kid "wanking" and going from frantic to smiling proudly after a sip of Irn-Bru doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe I thought of my mum and that freaked me out – or maybe it didn’t actually push any boundaries and was just a cheap trick and a tired sexual joke.

Where art thou, Tango? Great to hear from you again but…what are you saying? As a teaser, it worked: I want to be Tango’d! But so far I haven’t been Tango’d, thank you very much. See, this is the problem with creating a good reputation for disruptive and epic ads: people will have big expectations and, more often than not, people will be underwhelmed. Big shoes to fill, Tango 2015 – you better bring it on.

Dislife  was awesome. Bold American word to be using, but I’m a fan of anything that changes our behaviour for the better. And I love innovative use of technology so, basically, this one won my heart. Lack of respect for the disabled is a huge issue in a lot of countries, and I loved seeing it tackled in such an impactful and unforgivable way.

The last laugh is Huawei’s pronunciation class and it’s great. It takes on the challenge of living in a globalised world: most of the time, you’re either saying someone’s name wrong or you’re having to spell yours and correct people when they call you. I know this from experience, so much so that my international persona is Rod. Just Rod. So I feel you, Huawei.

The Office-style approach, shaky camera, quick zooms and bad framing are some of the ingredients that make this YouTube content funny and interesting. It’s probably going to be a hit with Arsenal fans. Shame there wasn’t a gag for the sponsor name… the story deserved a more epic ending.

All in all, I will cherish the memory of Dislife’s disabled holograms changing the world one projection at a time, and will definitely remember how to pronounce Huawei. For the next hour.

Creative


Rosie Bardales

Executive creative director,
BETC London

Years ago, I worked in an agency where, as a joke, one of the teams started a list that they taped outside their office door that simply read: "FUNNY… NOT FUNNY." They would keep adding to it every time the ECD would kill their ideas. At first, it started out with simple examples.

"Orangutans = Funny."
"Gorillas = Not funny."
"Big moustaches = Funny."

And so on.

It eventually turned into the agency’s FUNNY bible.

But here’s my point: why can’t filtering out the good from the bad remain this simple? Or maybe it is, but we’ve entered an age when there’s plenty of camouflage around an idea to keep us guessing.

There’s certainly a lot more to consider – celebrity endorsements, media stunts, viral components, faux technology, experiential and, to top it all off, a well-crafted PR strategy.

Don’t get me wrong – I love all those things. But I hope, as I’m reviewing this work, that, at the core of it all, there’s a real idea.

I guess that’s why I enjoy Private View. You jump in head first, hoping to discover some good stuff. So here we go…

I’ll start with Huawei. I’m not personally familiar with this company, so I can appreciate that the idea behind this ad is to help pronounce its name correctly. I started watching this thinking: this is gonna be one for the lads, using football pundits to help increase relevance. But once you get into it, the humour grows on you. However, I think it could have worked harder in keeping me engaged to the end.

Then there’s Irn-Bru in all its adolescent glory. It has a more traditional ad construct where product plays hero. Hero to what, is the question. I don’t think I would have minded this execution as much had the mum not lingered around in the son’s bedroom for a beat too long (no pun intended). I guess it does the job for a younger audience, but it doesn’t quite do it for me.

As Tango is known for its wackiness, I expected big things. This new ad is still wacky, but in a strange and quiet way, and I can’t help feeling that I’ve missed something. Is this purposefully meant to make me angry? Are they using reverse psychology? I would imagine that they’re trying to make being "Tango’d" relevant to today’s millennials. Regardless, I miss the days of old when the brand was irreverent and genuinely in your face.

Moving on to Subway. Although I like the quirkiness of the style of the ad, it doesn’t necessarily make me hungry for the product. I find the storyline distracting. If I were her, I would have slammed the door shut and headed to Subway on my own. Joking aside, I can appreciate the entertainment value, but it could have worked harder to sell me the product.

Last but not least, Dislife. I’m all for doing good for charities, but I do have some questions about whether this is even achievable. This idea starts out solidly. To most drivers, the disabled are invisible, therefore there’s disabled parking abuse. So it makes sense to have electronic tags in disabled vehicles for monitoring. But I haven’t seen a hologram so lifelike since R2-D2 and Tupac at Coachella. How is that possible in a car park, one might ask. Watching the film, you can easily become sceptical. As with a lot of case-study films, you question where the fantasy ends and the idea begins. But if this gets people to take notice,I’m all for it.

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