Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Mike Cozens, creative director at the agency Young and Rubicam, on television commercials high and low
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The Independent Online
Blackcurrant Tango

Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury

The Tango ads have been one of the most interesting series of commercials of recent years. The Orange Tango ad of about five or six years ago, featuring the big orange genie, was great, and this ad has to be the best commercial of the past year. It's so innovative.

The product is the hero, at the centre of the ad, and it's on screen all the time, even if it's in the form of the man's purple underpants. It's very, very funny, and appeals to a wide target audience; the guy that appears in it makes it appeal to older viewers too. It's been a great hit with punters as well as with advertising juries, which doesn't always follow.

It touches the strings of our natural jingoism and is brilliantly written, and the direction is faultless. It's interesting, too, from the client's point of view, that they've used a longer time-length than is usual for this kind of ad. I'm assuming the budget was around pounds 3m-pounds 4m, in which case most clients would have thought it most cost-effective to plump for a 30-second commercial. But the length makes it much more impactful, so full marks to the agency, the director and especially the client.

I remember reading some years ago that they were thinking of taking Tango off the market, because it wasn't doing so well, but here is a case of good advertising creating the brand. And it's good to see such a mainstream brand like this winning awards for its advertising; it's often more obscure brands that win, which is sometimes questionable. The great thing is that this is a commercial created from a live brief, rather than one written to win awardsn

Peugeot 406

Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper

I've just come back from the States, where I was subjected to some really dreadful TV commercials, but then I returned home to see this. I thought the previous Peugeot advert - the Search For The Hero one - was the worst commercial of last year, and this new one is the most dire ad I've seen so far this year.

I just don't understand it. It's about a guy having a dream involving lots of self-indulgent and obscure situations, with a token star - Kim Basinger - thrown in. The soundtrack is "Dream a Little Dream of Me", and we first see the car driving into this strange town. There's a shot of a group of clowns, and of a woman dressed in leather. Then we see the guy in a cinema watching a film in which Kim Basinger is starring. At the end, after more of these strange images, Kim Basinger appears in the guy's bedroom and says the line: "What's a 406?"

What are we supposed to believe? It's incomprehensible. The production values make you think at first sight that it's going to be interesting - but it turns out to be a just a bad commercial masquerading as a good one.

This is the sort of brief that most creative teams would be fighting for: the 406 is a terrific, desirable car and there's a lot to say about it. There's certainly a lot more to say about it than about a can of blackcurrant drink, but it's the Tango ad that succeeds. The recent Volkswagen ads have shown that it is possible to do great car advertising with a limited budget; this is an instance of a large production budget gone madn

Interview by Scott Hughes

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