Founder and executive creative director,
For summer, today started off grey, miserable and slightly depressing. Everything is incredibly busy – pitches, clients and very little home life. But now, I suddenly feel butterflies in my tummy in anticipation of reviewing these new ads gifted to me by Campaign. Now, you might think I’m being cynical and adman-sarcastic, but I’m not – I genuinely do love watching new ads. I love that feeling of being inspired by what I am seeing; I can tolerate even the crap ones because I can always hear and sympathise with the creative process involved.
First up is the new Ritz ad. Its Amélie-esque bright colours and jovial Puttin’ On The Ritz soundtrack left me feeling up, being a big fan of Young Frankenstein and Fred Astaire. Although the execution is not very challenging and the ad not the most memorable I’ve ever seen, it did leave me feeling euphoric.
The Toyota ad did make me smile at times and is nicely executed, but I must confess that it felt like borrowed interest. It’s almost as if the creatives had come up with the concept of the truth about advertising for another product, but it seems to have ended up in Toyota’s lap. Because of this, the particular branding doesn’t completely land as a Toyota ad.
Katie Price and Piers Morgan star in the new Lotto ad. I recently saw the Piers execution on TV, which I found a more enjoyable experience than the two-minute version I just witnessed. I imagine this is because it is a tad too long. The performances from Katie and Piers seem to be well-done and were at times amusing, but I couldn’t help reflect on the brilliant Logitech ad with Kevin Bacon, who nails the documentary style perfectly. After watching that, I felt I had seen something special – a feeling I didn’t have with these Lotto ads.
The new Kronenbourg 1664 ad with Eric Cantona left me feeling a bit cold. There are nice moments in it, and I love the arrogance and swagger of King Eric; I very much enjoyed the "hero farmer" ads. In this case, I understand the idea is to create more live content and draw the audience to Eric’s heroic swim across the Channel in order to drive debate around and interest in the product, but I think they might struggle with this one.
When I read "Ikea online interactive ad", I got quite excited. Knowing the amazing and thought-provoking ads it has done in the past, I was expecting an immersive, interactive, fun and engaging experience. This, unfortunately, I did not get.
The casting was good but the navigator had very poor material and stunts to help him entertain the audience. I’m not sure why I would want a tour of the Ikea factories but, I have to say, this would not be a great navigation tool I would tell my mates about.
In summary, the ads were well worth the watch. I shall try to hold on to this pleasant feeling while I throw myself back into the heavy world of advertising and deadlines.
Global chief strategy and innovation officer,
Well, it might have taken advances in mobile technology and the advent of preference algorithms for us to recall what was once human instinct, but it seems our industry is reawakening to the importance of context in communication. Given this, I figure my Private View should itself be contextualised.
I find myself early for a lunch appointment, so I’m using the time to review this week’s batch. Only, I keep getting distracted by the Vice boys at the next table. They’re already two pints in, high-fiving away and ordering chasers. While I sit with a laptop and a smoothie. A wave of existential crisis hits me so hard, it brings on a panic attack. Fortunately, my lunch meet is with the super-smart KJ Weir of Facebook. So, to regain a mindful focus, I decide to internally chant some FB platform stats, San Culpa-style: "936 million daily users. Four billion daily video views. Seventy-five per cent of them on mobile. A fair chunk as audio-off autoplay."
And it’s helping. I’m at one with the breath. I’m ready for Ritz. A nice dance number set to a rework of Puttin’ On The Ritz. On first inspection, there’s little more to it, but that’s Mother’s enduring genius. Behind the doe-eyed innocence, every aspect of the piece has been thought through forensically. The make-up, choreography, wardrobe and colour grade are all working seamlessly to build the intended associations with lightness and crispness. Would it work without sound? Nope. But if socially networked mums are into beautiful people dancing, I figure they’ll tap the screen to hear what they’re dancing to.
Next is a personalised interactive tour of Ikea HQ. Now, I’m a big advocate of brands deepening relationships by revealing their origins and design story. But a return to Swedish-cliché presenters? Armed with Wiki-facts? Really? As personalised video goes, this isn’t troubling Chris Milk’s seminal work.
Perhaps taking a lead from Crispin Porter &Bogusky’s excellent Hotel.com auto-play, Kronenbourg 1664 also opts for subtitles. Which is just as well because, barring a penalty claim in the 1996 FA Cup quarter-final, Eric Cantona has never been able to act. That said, his vow to swim the Channel has already been shared about 20 times in my feed today. This just shows what can happen when we develop content with a full appreciation of the host platform, as Ogilvy & Mather has.
Thankfully, the car category has embraced brand transparency by ditching the metaphors and returning to brilliant product demonstrations. This Toyota spot is a piss-take on that theme with a strong showing from Regan Burns and his lie detector. The UK has had its share of self-referential advertising, but this has some nice touches and was made more with Europe in mind. It should do well and certainly has legs.
My fave of the bunch is Lotto. The thinking behind "please not them" is reminiscent of the adversarial strategy BMP developed for its excellent "use your vote" campaign 20 years ago. The KTV spot is particularly good with a performance from Katie Price not seen since Dane Bowers introduced Jordan to a camcorder and a Rampant Rabbit.
Despite the pace and scale of change we’re all living through, the best work this week would have been the best work in any era. It seems that now, as then, whatever context you find yourself in, making someone laugh is usually a good place to start.