Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Dave Waters, joint creative director at Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters, on television commercials high and low
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Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Here they invested to impress consumers rather than the industry. From the beginning it's visually stimulating - all the shots are really well thought out - and they've cast it brilliantly, which is bloody difficult because they're trying to carry off the kind of comedy of Jim Carrey films like Dumb and Dumber.

It's the most toe-curlingly embarrassing humour, but the nerdy guy is just likeable enough in his pastiche of fragrance adverts. His bad dancing is suitably excruciating, and the scene where everybody laughs at his jokes has got that "Yeah, we know it didn't really happen like that" tone.

He's schmoozing a beautiful woman, and she plays her part magnificently too. The locations and props are perfect and in one scene there are fountains, a huge moon and fireworks going off.

Then, just as you think they're being serious, up pops the icing on the cake - Jennifer Aniston as his girlfriend in "real life". She's doing his ironing, and, at the end, reading a book called How to Keep Your Man. It was great they used her - she's perfect for the product - and used her sparingly.

And they're not ashamed to tell us what they're selling: right at the beginning the guy does a spoof of putting on the fragrance all over, which is over the top and works really well. It's got a brilliant sound track too. Basically, I wish I'd done it. I've even heard people talking about it in the pub, which is as good as it gets in advertisingn

Gillette Sensor Excel

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

This popped up in the middle of the Grand Prix (hugely irritating because I missed two laps of the race to see it). There are two guys in pyjamas and ridiculous Seventies bouffant hairdos in a split-screen scenario. One is preparing to shave with a disposable razor, the other with the Gillette Sensor Excel.

A dubbed voiceover says "Excuse me, do you think your razor shaves as comfortably as his Gillette Sensor Excel?" before their right arms magically fly off and re-attach themselves to the other person. This is just not an interesting enough special effect to use when Spielberg is making us believe there are dinosaurs walking around the planet.

The whole ad comes across as patronising. I'm not against demonstration commercials - they can be powerful - but this is just saying that one razor is better than another and not proving it: the guy who's using the Sensor Excel says things like "Wow!" and "Mmm!".

And the obligatory end joke - the guy walks off with the wrong arm and the one who's lost his razor says "Hey, I want my Sensor Excel back!" - is badly dubbed and just an excuse to squeeze in another product name check. And what a clumsy name.

The annoying thing is that it is actually a good product, but you wouldn't think so to look at the adverts. I suspect what happened is that AMV were asked to dub an American ad from the BBDO network, but it's really disappointing to have missed an opportunity like thatn

Interview by Scott Hughes

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