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.

Celebrities pay respect to their teachers in this week's good ad, while John Bacon, executive creative director of Foote Cone Bedding, thinks the team behind the bad campaign has seen one too many sci-fi films.

the Teacher training agency

Delaney Fletcher Bozell

This ad features a group of well-known personalities, each talking about a teacher who has had an influence on them. The end-line is: "No one forgets a good teacher." It's a model of simplicity and, like any really good piece of advertising, is based on a truth. Everybody does remember a good teacher. I'm sitting here now, on a fairly good salary, doing what is kind of a writer's job, and it's because of a man called Ted Hargreaves, who was my English teacher at school and who basically took the trouble over me. The debt we owe these people is something we all carry through life, and this ad has gone straight to that truth.

They've obviously just taken a camera to where the various personalities were, pointed it at them, and given them three or four takes. And that's it. But it has a freshness to it for that very reason. It's very watchable, too: it goes straight into John Cleese talking, followed by, among others, Anita Roddick, David Seaman, Joanna Lumley, Terence Conran and Tony Blair.

Even the performances are well-judged. You don't know the people these personalities are talking about - just their names - but you can tell by the looks on their faces the kind of relationships they had with their teachers. It's understated, but effective.

My only criticism is that the Teacher Training Agency's logo is too small - almost to the point of not being there at all - but it's spot on in every other respect.


Ammirati Puri Lintas

What we've got here is someone who's clearly been dying to make a science fiction-themed ad. They must have watched Alien 1, 2 and 3 until it was coming out of their ears. Basically, the idea existed long before the product came along, and then some poor unfortunate product - a deodorant - happened to be passing.

The ad is set is some kind of Blade Runner or Alien-type dystopia. A girl has been to an area where she shouldn't have been, and swiped something she shouldn't have. We know she's done it, but apparently, the test by which her guilt can be established is if she has sweaty fingertips. But she's used Sure on her fingertips, so they remain dry, and she fools her interrogators.

From what I can see, the only product benefit being advertised here is that you won't get sweaty fingertips. Big deal! I must go and get some of that for the next time I find myself in a futuristic dystopia, being brow-beaten by the thought police. It's a masterpiece of irrelevance. Besides, one thing I do know about futuristic dystopias is that they would just beat you up anyway, sweaty fingertips or not.

The classic Sure end-line - "It won't let you down" - and tick device are both powerful, long-term advertising icons. But to do something like this is a tragic misuse of the brand's properties. My advice to the advertisers is to get some women in to write their ads - they wouldn't be so stupid.