So here they are, with some hardcore scientific analysis of why they don’t do it for me: ads everyone else loves, but I don’t. (By the way, you’ll notice that they’re all highly-awarded, so I really hope that the people responsible don’t mind my one dissenting voice too much.)
I’ve said this before, but if this ad showed Alex Hleb painted with a Belarussian flag nobody would care (maybe the Belarussian D&AD), but I’ll go further than that and say that nobody from this country would care if anyone from any other country painted his flag over his torso. Well, I hear you reply, it wasn’t someone from another country; it was our Wayne and it’s all actually very English and St George and yadda yadda yadda. OK. Fine. But there’s no idea. I like ideas. I appreciate that many people think this ad transcends its lack of idea by being such a brilliant visual, but I’m a copywriter and that doesn’t wash with me.
So there. I believe the concept has no intrinsic appeal or value, but, for some people (the people who don’t think Wayne is a nasty, granny-shagging, diving, lying little prick) this image just stirs something goddamn English within them. Well, Dr Johnson said that ‘patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel’, so that’s told you.
2. NSPCC Cartoon:
This won at least three D&AD pencils as well as BTAA ad of the year, so the following opinion is officially wrong: Pointing out that kids aren’t cartoons, or that it’s somehow shocking to suggest that it’s all right when you beat up a cartoon but not a real kid, or cartoons are funny but beating up kids isn’t…hang on…what the fuck is this ad actually saying? Seriously? I have no idea. On top of that I don’t really think the man’s performance is very good (now I’m calling the abilities of Frank Budgen into question – how dumb is this post?). Anyway, I think the reality of child abuse is powerful enough without this odd journey round the houses.
3. Ice Skating Priests:
Beautifully shot? Can’t argue with that. Great performances and casting? Check. Good plot worthy of one of the greatest campaigns in advertising history? Um… Look, I’m not saying this is bad, so much as overrated (it also won several pencils and many other awards). Look at the plots of Stella’s Pilot, or Red Shoes (can’t find it online after thirty seconds’ search). They are brilliant, but ‘priests fancy a bit of Stella but one of them drops the booze through the ice so they make him go and get it’? That strikes me as somewhat weak. No twist, nothing surprising, no satisfying resolution. Just beautiful craft, and for Stella, I’m not sure that’s enough.
So there you go. Like an ant whispering in a hurricane, I am putting forward my dissenting voice against ads that I personally, subjectively, individually do not like as much as most other people do. What’s the point of that? Well, what’s the point of any of this? I think this might be my roundabout way of saying that it’s better to have your own opinions, however ‘wrong’ they might be, than feel like you’ve got to appreciate the emperor’s lovely new clothes because everybody else does. In advertising there is no wrong, just a big grey area of like/dislike.
Maybe the next post should be ‘shit ads I love.’