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The Independent Online
In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around.

Richard Carman, creative director at Mountain View, prefers fast food sauce to treacly sentimentality. Interview by Scott Hughes.

McDonald's Money for nothing

Leo Burnett

A young, precocious-looking man sits and stares intensely at a large, empty canvas. So deep in thought is he that we can almost sense his brain cells at work, as beautiful, soothing music plays. Suddenly, inspiration hits him like a bolt out of the blue: he stands erect, grabs a massive paintbrush covered in black paint, and creeps towards the canvas as if stalking prey. With a slash, he daubs a thick, dark mark from top to bottom, then, with a gesture of utter contempt, he drops the brush on the floor, striding petulantly to the studio window. The painting is finished.

Seconds later, we cut to a private view at a gallery full of almost identical paintings to this, one of which has just been sold for an incredible fifty grand. "You too can make a load of money doing absolutely nothing," says the voice-over. "Just play `Money For Nothing' at McDonald's.

It's simple, hilarious, straight to the point - brilliant. Congratulations to the agency, and also to the client - they've gone along with some great work. I'm one of those people who's far too pessimistic to think I'll ever win pounds 100,000 in a McDonald's promotion, and I must say that over the years I've ditched McDonald's in favour of Burger King, but this commercial makes me feel a little more predisposed to the big yellow M. I also liked the "holiday" execution a lot, with its Judith Chalmers-type character, because I didn't know what was coming at the end.

Certainly, at the moment, McDonald's advertising is good, and people are talking about it - especially the "Clever Daddy" one with the guy going to dinner at his in-laws'. Ten years ago, you'd never have dreamed of seeing wonderful, creative McDonald's ads, but this is fantastic stuff.

Werther's Original

Pahnke and Partners, Hamburg

Boy, do I hate this campaign! I think there are two or three executions, but they all seem exactly the same: grandad and grandson having happy, smily adventures in happy, smily adland, where the sun always shines and people beam at each other and point at things in the distance a lot. And it's always to a soundtrack that is, as Blackadder might say, cheesier than an extremely cheesy thing in a cheese sauce.

I know we're supposed to be going through a Seventies revival, but this is going too far. Just check out the words to the song: "On an ordinary day/ A child's bright laughter fills the air/ One loving word, one loving glance/ There's sunshine everywhere." Not in an ordinary day for you and me there isn't, but it carries on: "Your Werthers is his Werthers too/ So glistening with its golden glow/ So sweet and creamy, it tastes so good/ You're so alike, the two of you. Werthers and the feeling/ That you never will forget/ When one who loves you says to you/ You're someone very special too."

I felt quite bad at first for having a go at this ad: it's such an easy target. Then I thought, sod it - it deserves a good kicking just for pure laziness. It's confectionery; there must be a thousand things you can do with it. Think of the great sweet ads there have been. There are young creative teams out there who would love to show what they could do with 40 seconds of prime air time; when they see squandered opportunities like this, it must stick in the back of their throats like an unsucked Werthers Original glistening with its golden glow. It's money for old rope.