Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Adam Kean, joint creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, on television commercials high and low
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The Independent Online
Adidas Leagas Delaney

Some people would no doubt say this is an easy thing to do an ad about - Adidas is a big, well-known, contemporary brand - but you have to admire the way it combines high standards of craft with a brilliant idea. Prince Naseem is an arrogant, confident fighter, and the ad picks up on this trademark - the flip he does over the ropes into the boxing ring - and links that confident entry to a confident entry into America.

The ad opens with shots of New York, and a mysterious black preacher announcing that "The Prince is coming", as though the Messiah is about to come. Cut to rapid shots of Prince Naseem training and then we see him arriving on a ship. But Naseem chooses not to get off using the gangplank, and insteadflips over the rails on to the dock. He lands with not a hair out of place, and then gets into a limo, with the preacher shouting, "The Prince will not be beaten."

Many ads that use sporting personalities hope their association with the brand is enough to carry it, but you need to dramatise what exactly it is about that person that's relevant to the brand. This ad says one thing clearly - that just as Prince Naseem is confident to the point of arrogance about being the best in his field, so are Adidas about being the best in theirs.

You don't have to like Prince Naseem to appreciate the ad. The sound and cinematography are good, and although it makes a point, it doesn't take itself too seriouslyn

Wrigley's Extra Bray Leino

I first saw this ad in a commercial break during the Brit Awards. Because it features two sound engineers, and therefore has a rock 'n' roll connection, I suppose some media buyer thought this was a great slot for it, but I thought placing it in this context made a bad commercial look even worse. It made me embarrassed to be in advertising.

This has two sound or lighting engineers, as you'd have at a rock concert, who start talking to one another about their chewing-gum in a kind of "hip" patois. But it's not hip - it's the way middle-aged people think young people speak. And I've never seen sound engineers looking so clean- cut; it's as if they're members of some Christian sound engineers' movement.

This is obviously an attempt to link chewing-gum to the world of rock music, to appeal to young people, but there's no attempt to understand this link, and the casting and script are terrible. Do people really talk about their chewing-gum? Advertisers just can't patronise viewers like this.

This is an ad that sets out to inform, but there's no serious product point being made here - unless I missed it through cringing behind the sofa. It's a sugar-free gum, which is the reason I buy it, so it's not as if there's nothing to say about it. There's nothing wrong with making informational ads, but I think if you're going to do it, you shouldn't dress it up in the Emperor's new clothes of hipness. You need to go for the essence of what the brand is aboutn

Interview by Scott Hughes

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