Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Greg Delaney, chairman and joint creative director of the agency Delaney Fletcher Bozell on television commercials high and low

Virgin Airlines

Rainey Kelly Campbell and Roalfe

There's a guy sitting on a bench. Someone shuts a window somewhere above him, causing a statue to break off the building and plummet towards him. The guy is joined on the bench by the Grim Reaper who taps him on the shoulder, pointing upwards to the plummeting statue. We then go into a sequence where the guy's life flashes before him. The things they've chosen to put into this ad are interesting: there's a lot of sexual activity, and naturally a lot of travel shots. We see him playing golf on top of a building, skinny-dipping in the bath with what look like two naked girls, and wearing make-up - a reminder of Richard Branson dressing up as a bride to launch his wedding service.

It's all a lot of fun, and that's the Virgin difference: they've brought in rock 'n' roll values against the stuffy, British, efficient and quality image of BA. Virgin are saying they're more in the entertainment business than the travel business. The brand represents the free spirit, so it's wholly appropriate that it offers enjoyment as opposed to merely getting from A to B, and I applaud the lack of aeroplanes and more mundane aspects of travel. At the end of the ad a lot of destinations flash up, which says: it's a big world out there, and we can help you get out there and start enjoying it.

It's like a wish-list for lads - travel, crazy times, scantily clad women - as if the guy had walked into the ad straight out of Loaded, which might put some people off. It is a deliberate attempt not to please everybody, though, and if you don't want to have a good time then there are alternatives to Virgin. But the best thing about the ad is that it's very watchable: there's a lot in it, and so its life as an ad is longer. As for the end line, "When your life flashes before your eyes, make sure you've got plenty to watch": it's funny and true, and the target audience will agree with it.

Kellogg's Cornflakes

J Walter Thompson

A gospel choir stands on a hillside on a beautiful sunny morning singing "Oh What A Beautiful Morning", clutching bowls and packets of cornflakes. It comes from the school of advertising that says that everything is made more perfect by the product concerned, and it gives advertising a bad name.

People often object to the so-called hard-sell that's used in, say, washing powder adverts, but it's this kind of soft-sell that I object to - ads that tell me how wonderful everything is. People are less and less interested in being told beguiling untruths about a product, and want advertising to be more honest. There's a voice-over that says, "It takes 140 days of sunshine to make every morning as beautiful as this", but we know that every morning isn't going to be beautiful just because we've had a bowl of cornflakes. There then follows what I call the "cornography" - that old shot of milk splashing over the cornflakes.

Basically, it's daft, and the choir, standing on a hillside eating their cornflakes, look stupid: we know these people have been paid to stand there and sing. It treats me like an idiot. Maybe it's a prejudice of mine that adverts should speak the truth, but I really don't like the idea of exaggerating everyday life without some admission, even humorously, that we know life isn't this good. Imagine this ad doing the life-flashing- in-front-of-you sequence, like Virgin: it would be a sanitised, Stepford Wives version. It's about time these ads spoke about things that concern us, and stopped indulging in glossy fantasy

Interviews by Scott Hughes

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Web Analyst / Digital Analyst - Berkhamsted - £40K + 5% bonus

£30000 - £40000 per annum + 5% Bonus & 25 Days Holidays: Ashdown Group: Web An...

Ashdown Group: Global Marketing Communications Manager - 12mth F/T Contract

£75000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Global Marketing Communications Manager - Hig...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable