Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Mark Roalfe, creative partner of the agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, on television commercials high and low
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The Independent Online
BT Business

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

I first noticed this campaign over a weekend, when I saw a TV ad without any branding whatsoever featuring a little girl asking questions. In the next few days I noticed poster boards at traffic lights bearing the word "Why?", and then I saw the full commercial.

This is the first work AMV has done for the business side of BT, and it shows a much lighter touch than the previous work of this kind - those ads set in an office encouraging businesses to "work smarter". This time the message behind the ad - to change the way we work - is much more believable.

What this ad does is add an enormous amount of charm to BT. BT doesn't have anything to sell as such with this ad, but it does what it does in a very charming way and genuinely makes you question why things are the way they are. We see the little girl asking questions such as "Why do we use so much paper?", as she wanders through a forest, and "Why do people fly so far away?", as she watches a big jumbo jet coming in to land at an airport. At the end of the ad, we see her sitting under a boardroom table holding a toy duck, asking why her father can't get home for bath time.

The girl is very beautiful and charming; it's very nicely cast. But what I really like is the simplicity of thought here. The brief is fairly generic, and it's a brief that a lot of people have tried. This is the best execution that I've seen - well done to whoever did itn

Fanta

Leagas Delaney

These ads are just bad from beginning to end. In one execution, we see lots of people pushing ice blocks across a snowscape to a Fifties- style voice-over. Then a meteorite comes to earth, blows up, and a Fanta vending machine appears. People drink the Fanta, and all of a sudden their lives are transformed.

In another execution, running hand in hand with this one, we see life among "the mud teenagers of Bonga Bonga", and again, all of a sudden their lives are changed when a lorry turns up to deliver a Fanta vending machine. After a rather tacky shot of the delivery girl taking off her uniform, the teenagers are transformed into "intelligent beings" by drinking Fanta: they start sunbathing and reading The Face.

This all seems completely out of step with the majority of soft-drinks advertising - take Tango, for instance, which seems to be really catching the Zeitgeist. This, on the other hand, feels like it's about 10 years old. It's meant to be a spoof, but it's not silly enough, and I guess it's meant to be trashy, but it's not really trashy enough. It's after the youth market, but it's far too heavy-handed. What it feels like is one of those old-fashioned global soft-drinks ads, whereas more parochial advertising is needed in this market, relevant to the particular country.

And the end-line, "Welcome to the World", is so meaningless - the ad has no relevance to it. It's a missed opportunity: Fanta is a good product, and could give Tango a run for its money with better advertisingn

Interview by Scott Hughes

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