Good Ad Bad Ad: In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst advertisements around. This week, Simon Green, creative partner of the agency BDDH, on commercials high and low

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The Body Shop


This ad stopped me dead in my tracks when I was out walking one day; it has lots of impact and is unusually visual. It bears the line "There are three billion women in the world who don't look like supermodels, and only eight who do", alongside an image of a full-figured woman with a Barbie-type head.

But where the ad really scores is that it flies in the face of the other cosmetic and body-care advertising that portray women as beautiful objects, and which is completely irrelevant and out of touch.

It shows enormous empathy for women. Most women know that they are not supermodels, but there is generally no advertising out there that recognises them for who they are without being condescending or patronising. Against that background, this ad is incredibly powerful. I'm not even in the target audience, but even as a man it makes me have more empathy for the Body Shop.

And, this being a print ad, I think it's far more noticeable than ads for Laboratoires Garnier and all those other companies in this sector who spend millions on television advertising. These posters would have cost the Body Shop pennies by comparison.

Advertising to women is incredibly difficult; I personally find it difficult to talk to them as an audience. Ninety per cent of people writing ad campaigns are guys, and so there's little understanding of how women think and how the industry should talk to them - but the people involved with this campaign have found a way of speaking the same languagen

British Airways

M&C Saatchi

This shows different scenes of people crying around the world, against the familiar BA music. There's an old Chinese lady being moved to tears when she is handed her granddaughter, and we see a guy - I think he's Austrian - watching his son playing the piano before an audience, again being moved to tears. An African guy cries when it starts to rain on the parched desert land where his crops should be growing. The voice- over then says, "The world's closer than you think", and this is followed by the tag-line "The World's Favourite Airline".

I suppose it's trying to say that we're all the same, and that BA is bringing the world closer together, but it just seems to me to be corporate pap. It's irrelevant, innocuous advertising, and such a missed opportunity; BA has done some very innovative ads in the past. It's trying to take the generic, emotional high ground, but I think it's just the sort of thing that doesn't move people - except to go and make a cup of tea during the commercial break. And money has obviously just been thrown at it, which makes it all the more irritating.

It's trying to give me a warm feeling, but I'm more intelligent than that, and from this particular brand, this personality, it feels very shallow indeed. It's trying to be friendly, but ends up being grey and bland. The performances are poor - it's just not believable that these people are crying - and it's almost American in flavour, schmaltzy and sentimental. Most important, it doesn't have a point - the worst crime that advertising can be guilty ofn