Media: Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Richard Carman, creative director of the agency Mountain View, on TV commercials high and low

Mercedes Benz

Partners BBDH

This commercial has some beautifully filmed short sequences of vintage Mercedes-Benz motorcars, backed by the Janis Joplin track "Mercedes-Benz" (with the lyric "Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?"). It ends with the simple line: "Consider your prayers answered... for pounds 19,990", which is the price of the C180 model.

The people who wrote this had such a difficult task. They had to make Mercedes more hip, to pull in a younger audience, and make it seem more affordable. Most importantly, they had to make the brand seem warm - because so far it had been seen as too cold, too engineered and too arrogant.

The ad folk have also needed to make Mercedes more accessible, because the A-class is on its way, and the new M-class has to grab a share of the young 4-by-4 market.

But the ad is so simple, and the soundtrack is such a gift; it was just sitting there waiting to be used, especially that brilliant line about everyone else driving Porsches. And while many car adverts simply try to use emotion without saying anything about the product - they give you nothing to buy except a lifestyle or an image - this gives you a very simple proposition: the car of your dreams for less than pounds 20,000. And although it's a price-entry ad, it enhances rather than demeans the product.

If there is any downside to the ad, it is that some older people might suppose the backing track was written by Mercedes ad men, and so think that the ad was arrogant - the opposite of what was intended. But that's just being pedantic; really, it's a wonderful ad.

BT

Abbott Meed Vickers BBDO

A man and a women have an argument in a restaurant, and she storms out. Next, they're in a car, and she's driving, but alarmingly doesn't realise it because she asks the bloke to stop the car. He laughs at her, she storms off again. Then she chucks him out and he hits the bottle; meanwhile, that woman from Ballykissangel has been listening in to their conversation and tells us that we're supposed to phone and make up in situations like this.

Surely the whole point of doing a little story like this is for us to sympathise with the characters. But you hate the guy immediately, and all credibility soon goes out of the window because surely no one driving a car would say "Stop the car". Mr Smarmy laughs at her even more, and we hate him even more, and we're actually glad when you see his suitcases outside the door. And then he goes off to get pissed, and you think, "Hooray, he's got a weak personality too."

Where the whole thing really falls down for me is when the woman is being urged to phone him: how the hell is she supposed to ring him when she's chucked him out? Where does she ring? He's so obnoxious I doubt he's got any mates to stay with, and she can hardly ring him at work to discuss something so personal. Perhaps she's supposed to know what pub he's gone to. Who knows? Who cares? And they drive a BMW, which will alienate about 90 per cent of BT's target audience.

This commercial comes from one of the best agencies in the country, and so I reckon this is just a blip. I guess I admire them even more now, because this shows they're not perfectn

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture