Sportsmen and advertising is usually a rather messy and uncomfortable relationship. Unless you have a wonderful script and a star with a personality, the results are almost always dismal.
Vodafone sponsors Lewis Hamilton and, for its latest ad, Vodafone's agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty has made the wise decision to keep him in his racing car, with his mouth shut. The ad uses the racing conceit nicely, though. It takes us on a superbly filmed journey where we race stomach-churningly through a city. It's a bit like being on one of those simulators where you convince yourself you're on a roller-coaster when you're just sitting in a dark room watching a piece of film and your seat's lurching about a bit. A similar effect is deftly captured here, thanks to some wonderful directing and editing.
Shots of Hamilton racing round a track are spliced with our personal vision of racing through the city. The drama ends when we realise that we've been looking through the eyes of a man running to meet his lover at the train station.
The theme is Vodafone's "Make the most of now" and the scripted voice-over works beautifully. Vodafone has used Judi Dench again to tell us about those "decisive moments" in life, fleeting chances where "one second can make the most of everything". The script this time does full justice to Dame Judi's luscious tones, and the clash between the power of the racing and the tenderness of the lovers is lovely.