Media: Good Ad Bad Ad - Ikea St Luke's, Munch Bunch pot shots Bates Dorland

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The Independent Online
In which a leading advertising expert picks some of the best and worst around.

Greg Delaney, creative director of Delaney Fletcher Bozell, on the virtues of sharp wit and simplicity and the vice of talking down to children

ikea St Luke's

On the face of it, this is a difficult creative assignment: advertise a range of office furniture which is very economical. But the solution they've come up with is simple and straightforward, and yet remarkably effective - though not without controversy.

A female Swedish presenter shows us a rather dreary office environment, and tell us in her charming Swedish accent that we can replace it with a more inspiring IKEA office environment. "Where do you find the money?" she asks. "Ee-see! You just let somebody go - and it doesn't even have to be anyone senior!"

We then see a quick resume of the cost of all the furniture - which is pounds 8,024.67 - before she strolls into the dull office, where we see a rather sad-looking chap photocopying. She asks: "What are you on?" and he says: "Ten and a half" - at which she just looks at the camera with a very wicked- looking smile. It's one of those ads in which performance is crucial - and the presenter is a real star.

Apparently, there have been a number of complaints from people who obviously don't have a sense of humour - people who probably think it treats the very serious subject of downsizing with too much levity. But, in fact, it treats a boring subject - flogging office furniture - with exactly the right lightness of tone to make it interesting. There is a wicked joke in it, but it's quite funny.

What they've communicated here is something quite simple: why have a dull office when you could have a really interesting office, especially when it's only going to cost you eight grand? And the joke of "How are you going to afford it?" is probably what makes you notice the ad.

munch bunch pot shots Bates Dorland

I assume this campaign is aimed at children - and this should have made the agency and client think more creatively and laterally than they necessarily would have done for an adult ad. The reason I say this is that all the research I've seen, and experience I've had, indicates that children are very smart at decoding ads. When you look at their favourite ads, they're probably the same as the ones you and I like - they're sophisticated consumers.

Here, people have obviously thought that what kids want is cartoon characters - in this case animated plastic fruit, as far as I can make out. And I think that's a little bit lazy.

What happens is that this collection of animated fruits are on a treasure hunt to find "100 per cent natural ingredients". They then fetch up in a jungle of vegetables - which confused me because I don't think there are any vegetable flavours of this product. At the end, they find their objective, which turns out to be ... the product. But I only worked that out after watching it about three times.

The animation style seems primitive, and the storyline is obscure. I still don't know exactly what the product is, or what it tastes like. And the characters' voices are silly and squeaky; I don't think kids need to be talked down to in that way. Kids love ideas: they are very much at ease with genuine originality, and they are quite anarchic - they respect and enjoy that. And they don't mind being sold to as long as they know what's on offer, and they like it.

The rules of the game are simplicity of the idea, and some sophistication in the way that it's executed. On both counts, I think this advertising fails.