Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Paul Simons, chief executive officer of the agency TBWA Simons Palmer, on television commercials high and low

First Direct


There are two executions in this campaign, each featuring Bob Mortimer: one where he's saying he hates queues, and another where he says he hates it when everything's closed.

In the past has been quite precious in the way it talks to the public: the big criticisms that have been made historically about the advertising is that it's been a bit "up its bum" and very much for the chattering classes. This has probably held them back, but it's a great brand, and this new work from Wight Collins moves away from all that and gives it a more universal feel.

The great thing is that it tells you very clearly about the two basic benefits of banking with : that because it's done over the phone, there is no queuing and the service never closes. It's done with an enormous amount of wit, and it gives the viewer a compelling, persuasive argument for calling - it makes you say to yourself: "Yes, I do hate queuing, and I do hate missing the bank because it's closed."

I like the way Bob Mortimer is used to dramatise the points - pushing in at the front of queues, telling diners the restaurant they're in is closing in a few minutes - and you don't get offended that it's putting other ways of banking down in trying to sell itself. It's well-observed, succinctly done, and is made by people who treat consumers as intelligent peoplen

Direct Line

The Media Business Direct

Direct Line's ad is trying to do exactly the same thing as the commercial - get you to pick up the phone - but the differences between them are vast.

Whereas the ad is stylish and witty, the Direct Line work is hamfisted: it attempts to tell you lots of different things and by the end of it you haven't got a clue what you're supposed to take from it. Then that red telephone comes out of nowhere, and you're left feeling like it was put together by a group of chimpanzees. Also, while the ad is filmed beautifully, this is shot on video and looks very amateurish.

Like , they want to tell you a very basic thing: if you have a crash, talk to us and we'll sort it out. But, unlike , which tells it simply, this confuses the issue with about 10 other thoughts. There's a woman wittering on in the top left-hand corner of the screen, and at the same time the man who's had the crash is discussing it all with his wife. It's a jumble of disjointed thoughts.

You certainly aren't made to feel good about the company. I think this is a great example of the wrong people trying to do TV - people just trying to put a sales pitch on to television - and what it ends up saying is: "Here's a list of reasons why they should use this service - and if you don't like those, we'll throw in a free gift"

Interview by Scott Hughes

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Financial Controller

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is a busy and varied role w...

Senior Business Development Manager

£60-70k fixed, double OTE uncapped: Sphere Digital Recruitment: The Senior Bus...

Ad Operations Executive

30,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: My client is a global name within the ente...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style