Media: Good Ad Bad Ad

In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around. This week, Alfredo Marcantonio, vice-chairman of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, on television commercials high and low

Reebok

Lowe Howard-Spink

There are three ads in this campaign, and my favourite is the one that features Dennis Bergkamp, the Arsenal footballer. I have to say that I am an Arsenal supporter, so consequently this has a special significance for me. Over and above that, though, I think it's a fantastic example of how lateral thinking can produce a really outstanding solution to a pretty conventional brief.

Most sports equipment companies have a number of sports personalities to whom they pay vast amounts of money for endorsing their products. Naturally they exert considerable influence on their agencies to ensure that the money is put to good use, and the stars run, jump or kick their way through all the company's advertising.

It's really refreshing, then, to see our Dennis striding the aisles of a cheese warehouse, rather than wandering round the marble halls of Highbury. In stark contrast to the usual way of doing things, we see what might have happened to Mr Bergkamp if he hadn't bought his football boots. He would have ended up working in a cheese factory, suffering the indignity of a hairnet.

In contrast to so many of the recent sports shoe ads, this one doesn't rely on expensive production values. In fact, it's rather simply shot. It is the idea that is exceptionally good, although credit must go to the director for getting a reasonable performance out of someone who is not an actor. Bergkamp is required to deliver lines explaining how, instead of buying football boots when he was a child, he bought himself a train set.

It's a great piece of thinking, and I'm sure it's going down really well with its target audience of 15-to-30-year-old guys.

Courts

Collett Dickinson Pearce

This is another campaign of three advertisements, but there the similarity ends. The advertising doesn't only lack lateral thinking, it seems to lack about every other variety of thinking as well. It makes the Ferrero Rocher Ambassador campaign look like Oscar material.

This latest ad certainly keeps up the standard set by its predecessors. It features a wigged and gowned Bruce Forsyth striding through Courts, the discount furniture store, blathering on about special offers and price cuts.

There is such a contrast between the inventiveness of the advertisement and the obvious nature of the material the viewing public is confronted with here. I can see the creative team now, sitting with a pad, a pen and the problem, saying: "Courts, Courts - ah, court! Yes, that's it! Judge, barrister, Bruce Forsyth!"

It can't have taken long, and writing the scripts couldn't have been too much of a test, either, as the jokes are cringe-making.

Using Bruce Forsyth straight like this is a wasted opportunity. If you are going to use someone with his kind of image, a gentle jibe is called for. A good example was the way Des O'Connor was used in a cigar ad a few years ago: Russ Abbot plays one of Mr O'Connor's ditties on a river bank and all the fish jump out of the water to avoid hearing him sing.

Retail advertising doesn't have to be like this - look at the work my colleagues here have created for WH Smith.

Interview by Scott Hughes

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - London - £40K plus benefits - Salary negotiable

£38000 - £40000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: A leading consu...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Sheridan Maine: Are you an experienced Accounts Assista...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat