Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Grant Duncan, managing director at GGP, on television commercials high and low
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The Independent Online
The Times

Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe

I like this ad primarily because it's elegant and clever. The opening image is of a footballer - an Ian Wright lookalike - and he's concentrating as he measures his shot. He hoofs the ball, and at the point of contact the image converts into an X-ray depiction of his booted foot, which is encasing a brain. The X-ray motif continues, as the ball - which is also depicted as an X-ray - smacks into the back of the net. The final encapsulation of the idea is in the end-line: " - under the skin of football".

I like its compactness, its simplicity. The ad is only 10 seconds long, but in that time it manages brilliantly to capture the drama of a key moment in the game - a crucial free kick or a penalty - and to sum up the genius of a great footballer. And is, in the process, communicating that its coverage really does get under the skin of sport, and does it with incisiveness and intelligence.

The simplicity of the idea means that it can be carried into other media; it has also gone on to 48-sheet billboards. The outdoor campaign again uses the X-ray motif of the brain in the foot; and there's another one of a cricketer about to bowl, in which the bowling action and the ball are "X-rayed".

Apart from that, I suspect that this campaign didn't cost very much. It was a simple shoot with a bit of clever post-production, so I guess the client must be pleased with it.

Another measure of its success is that the TV ad has been on air only a couple of weeks and has already had a huge impact; that suggests to me an idea that has really hit the markn

Nissan 3-2-1 Offer

TBWA Simons Palmer

This really is the polar opposite of the Times campaign. It's over-complicated, witless, and looks pretty expensive. But what is really disappointing here is that Nissan has been associated historically with very good advertising.

The 3-2-1 offer is in fact a compelling and memorable one. Basically, if you buy a Micra, an Almeira or a Primera, you get three years' warranty, two years' servicing and one year's insurance, free. I'd be looking for a creative solution somewhere within that 3-2-1 motif, but the agency has inexplicably focused on the fact that you save pounds 900 - which seems to me to miss the point.

In a frantic attempt to highlight the concept of saving, they've used one of the lamest and most illogical plays on the word "saving". There are two executions, each with a scenario in which someone needs saving: in one case it's a potential suicide in Fifties Manhattan; in the other it's someone who's about to be burnt to a crisp by a bunch of lunatic Red Indians. Each scenario takes you, not particularly convincingly, up to the point where the person is about to be saved, when the action freezes and the voice-over says: "This is ridiculous. There is another way of saving money." Then you see that what the policeman has clambered up the ladder to in the first ad, and what the Seventh Cavalry is charging towards in the second, is a few wodges of pounds 20 notes.

But these scenarios aren't about saving; they're about rescuing. They'd be good ads for an instant access savings account, for example, but they're illogical ones about achieving a saving on a deal. I think the agency was struggling with this one; I can't imagine that the fact that they produced two executions was because they felt they had a powerful creative property

Interview by Scott Hughes

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