Good Ad Bad Ad

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The Independent Online
In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. Steve Henry, creative partner at Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury, selects a beautifully crafted furniture campaign - and one for a building society that offers zero interest


St Luke's

Really, I'd like to have picked the "Perfect Day" spot for the BBC, like everyone else in our industry, because it's a damn nearly perfect piece of communication. But that's already been picked, so I've gone for the IKEA campaign instead.

I wasn't sure about the "Chuck Out Your Chintz" idea. But the thing about IKEA is that they do buy great work - an agency called Deutsch has run some great ads for them out of New York. And the recent "furniture survey" stuff is spot on - beautifully crafted and with enough thought-provoking elements in it to creep under most people's radar. The point for me is that, as consumers, we have built-in resistance to ads, so as producers of commercials we have to make sure our messages are distinctive - even uncomfortable - enough to avoid instant pigeon-holing.

The survey campaign does that, and there's a new ad which continues the humorous tone of voice really sweetly. In the ad a young girl writes in to a certain Matti Naar at IKEA because she wants an IKEA store near her home. Matti claims he was just about to respond when the girl went above his head and wrote to his superior - thus, in Matti's words, "harming his career".

We see the superior giving Matti a talking-to, but Matti remains imperturbed and announces the new store's location. It's funny, relevant, shows a great understanding of the client's tone of voice and really stands out.

Cheltenham & Gloucester

Saatchi and Saatchi

There are unfortunately lots of contenders for "Bad Ad" this week, and the unlucky winner is this latest ad for Cheltenham & Gloucester building society.

I've seen the ad two or three times now, and I'm still not sure what it's saying. A voice-over says something about the need to move quickly, while the visuals appear to show us an Eskimo lad meeting up with Bigfoot. But I might have got it completely wrong. And whether the lad is lucky to meet up with the yeti (or very unlucky, as I would have thought) is not clear either.

The end-line says something about the building society being run to make me richer. Well, I've got a mortgage with them at the minute, and I'm not sure how their spending lots of money flying people into the Arctic circle is going to do anything positive for my bank balance. It's confused, confusing, and, I think, a rather insulting piece of work.

It must be said, though, that it's very difficult doing work in the financial area - the brief is always "tell people we're big and we're nice". But some agencies have managed to do it with originality - St Luke's, for example, for the Midland Bank - and with apparent integrity, like TBWA Simons Palmer, for Virgin Direct. That's what you need in the financial arena - integrity. If you can fake that, you've got it made.


Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper was not the agency responsible for the Peugeot 406 Coupe commercial reviewed last week. The agency responsible was Euro RSCG Babinet Erra Tong Cuong. Our apologies.