Good Ad Bad Ad
In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Jeremy Pemberton, creative director at the agency DMB&B, on television commercials high and low
Monday 26 May 1997
Weiden and Kennedy
When got involved with football it targeted supporters with the line "Eat football, sleep football, drink ". Creative departments are full of guys who also eat football and sleep football - though I guess they prefer beer to - and so everyone wants to have a go at writing a football ad. But the problem is how to capture the essence of football without resorting to cliche.
This ad takes a high-risk approach, but it has come off. It shows a blind West Ham supporter, with two of his mates giving him a running commentary on a football match. It could so easily have been over-sentimental, but it avoids that. I believe it's an American production which makes this even more impressive, since US ads are renowned for their sickliness.
You get the tension of the game - it's very well edited - and you can't tell if the match is real or was set up especially for the cameras. I also like the way they get the branding in, with the spectators clutching their cups of Coke - it's subtly done, and there's never a cutaway to the product on its own. But the cleverest thing of all is that you don't see the players they're watching - only the faces of the man and his friends reacting to the game. The result is both exciting and touching.
Personally, I'm not that bothered about football, but I do love this ad, and it seems to be incredibly popular here. We have done football ads for Umbro and Littlewoods, and know how difficult it is to capture the essence of footballn
Ammirati Puris Lintas
This gives me real problems; there are bits of it I just don't understand. It starts with a chap driving from the South of England up to the North, against a soundtrack of classical music. There's then a flashback, filmed in sepia, to what I guess is his boyhood, and we see images of houses exploding. I'm assuming this is an air raid, but if so I do wonder what the boy and his mother are doing outside in the middle of it. I'm not even sure if the little boy is meant to be the man in the car - I think we should be told.
We then see a man on a building site attempting to defuse a bomb. He gets to the point where he's got to make a choice between snipping the blue wire or the red wire. You'd think it would be the first thing you learn in bomb disposal school, but he seems to have forgotten his manual and asks for help over the radio.
Just as he is about to snip the wire, the man in the car pulls up on the building site, and steps in to cut the right wire. He's cool as a cucumber, because the car has suspension designed to relieve stress on long journeys. Give me a break.
Car advertising is difficult, but the Rover deserves better than this. I can't see what it will do to raise sales; the idea is so tenuously related to the attributes of the car. It did raise a few smiles here, though - we were hoping the smug bastard would cut the wrong wire and blow himself upn
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