Remember that old joke about the bloke who says he's a handyman? Someone asks him if he can put up a shelf and he says: "No." Someone else asks him if he can unblock a drain and he says: "No." Then someone else says: "I thought you were a handyman." He replies: "Well, I only live round the corner."
That just about sums up the new Co-op (3) ad. It just doesn't seem like much of a claim to say you're just around the corner. What about Tesco Metro or Sainsbury's Local? An earnest bloke tells us why he hates doing big shops. I'm left thinking he should ring up Ocado and have all his groceries delivered rather than going round to the Co-op every five minutes. The ad is full of little flashbacks and cut-aways to try to jazz it up a bit. Also, it's a bit cringy the way he says "I love you" at the end. This seems like a step back for the forward-thinking Co-op, which has so much good stuff to talk about.
If you're thinking of going further afield for your groceries, then you can always use the Land Rover Freelander 2 (2) for the journey. The film is a reasonably engaging claymation trip around the world, with various morphings from one terrain to another. It's packed full of detail so definitely worth rewatching on YouTube. The whole thing is a little too sweet for me, however - especially the music.
I like my 4x4 to protect me from all things exotic and dangerous while I'm popping to the shops.
Next up is Butlins (5). I didn't know what to make of this one the first four or five times I watched it, but then it did start to grow on me. Quite a neat way to show off Butlins and provides it with an appealing icon. My eight-year-old daughter said she loved it. I really hope there's a green dinosaur wandering around every Butlins. I thought the Butlins website would have embraced the green dinosaur but they haven't got round to doing that yet. There should be more to come with this idea and it could grow into something big.
The new Innocent (6) ad is a bit of a change of direction for the start-up success story, moving from product credentials to occassionality. It has used various scenarios taken from the past six or so Special K snack bar ads to suggest times when a quick swig of an Innocent smoothie will quell any hunger pangs. The execution is deliberately naive and it has bags of charm. I think it will have big standout, especially because of the music and Brian Blessed's booming voice.
I'm not sure the new Lotto (4) ad will have much cut-through, however. It's about as straightforward as an ad can get. Various people tell us what they would do if they won the lottery. None of which are particularly surprising. The scenarios span the spectrum of characters, from a posh granny to a Sunday league footballer, who - guess what? - would buy a box at Wembley Stadium. The editor has worked hard to make it as interesting as he could but, overall, it's a bit disappointing.
Finally, we move from five TV ads (where will they be shown now The X Factor has finished?) to one very small ambient idea for Amnesty (1). It's clever, neat and makes a simple point. But it's one of those ideas that you think must have been done before. Someone with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Cannes could probably tell us the year and the country it came from. That aside, it's a neat piece of work and the website you're encouraged to visit is also refreshingly simple.
So that's it.
Just one last thing: "I love you."
DIRECTOR - Finn McGough, director, Home Corp (recent work includes Visit Wales and Lurpak)
Remember The Road? A father and son's god- forsaken journey through a desolate, apocalyptic landscape pursued by cannibals? Escaping to the beach, Viggo Mortensen dies leaving his progeny alone, but it turns out there's an epilogue: the Butlins (5) campaign. Here, the bereaved boy happens upon an abandoned holiday camp where orphans are welcomed by Rochdale FC's mascot, Desmond the Dragon. The velour dictator runs the complex like a cuddly Colonel Kurtz on guitar. The soundtrack to the apocalypse is mournful folk whimsy but, on the positive side, there is free ice-cream (medicated) and guaranteed 24-hour nuclear sunshine. If JG Ballard had written In The Night Garden, this would be it. Terrifying.
In the Land Rover Freelander 2 (2) commercial, the car starts off where you'd expect it: outside a suburban home. But what follows is a mind-bending, acid-fuelled commute with Hunter S Thompson.
Rendered in vividly modelled stop-frame animation, the landscape this Land Rover courses through is kaleidoscopic - mountains morph into oceans, streets into ancient forests. The real genius is that it manages to sell Land Rover as a vehicle for those who inhabit a world of irrepressible imagination while simultaneously showing off a fine array of cup-holding options (but, beware - your latte might sprout wings).
On a wet, miserable February morning, I once found myself traipsing around a supermarket buying nappies. But then I saw Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie cutting a similarly dejected figure in the detergent aisle. He was on the mobile asking his missus which brand they use. I was elated. Good art connects people by reminding us that our pain is shared.
In the Co-op (3) ad is another man with a checkout aversion. Here, he makes an impassioned plea to camera imploring his wife to not make him shop on his day off. His argument being they could spend the reclaimed hours on the more noble pursuit of enjoying time together as a family. This is a very smart ad. Like the recent John Lewis strand, it seeks to appeal to women's sense of romance and, like all good romances, it is a brilliantly crafted lie. This is well written and executed with enough humour to prevent it being po-faced. There is confusion, however. Online shopping would be the perfect solution and this is surely the best ad for Ocado never made. Sadly, the man ends up trudging to the supermarket, after all. At least he won't be alone. (By the way, the Gillespies use Persil.)
This is a bold campaign from Amnesty (1) to raise awareness about a US prisoner on death row. In this street art project, portraits of Troy Davis are vertically segmented and pasted on to railings. To passers-by, they are only visible from an oblique angle. The result is visually arresting and conveys the message with an emotional punch.
In this irreverent and deliberately lo-fi ad for Innocent (6) smoothies, the brand is reinvented as a superhero. This is achieved by Sellotaping a red cape to the bottle and waving it about on a stick. To the tune from Flash Gordon (here, it's: "Fruit! Ah-ahhhhhhh!"), the bottle "soars" through the city saving arresting damsels' desires to scoff cake. This is a silly and entertaining romp but I'd have liked to have seen more heroism. Where's the ass-kicking? A secret lair and a wrestle with iced buns next time, please.
The intention of Lotto (4) is to convince us that we can gamble our dreams true, but I'm enamored by a more subversive reading of this ad - namely, that Lotto is actually 'fessing up to the fact that nobody ever wins. We hear a cross-section of society describe what they would do with their Lotto billions, but what we're shown is, in fact, the stark reality of how their lives will pan out. "I'd like to see the Northern Lights," a woman who will, in fact, spend the rest of her life as a librarian in Hendon says. Another lady yearns for a private pool, but the verruca broth at the municipal pool is the nearest she'll get. It's mean, really - but you have to be cruel to be kind. If truth-telling in advertising were a virtue, this spot would win hands down.
Project: Amnesty fence
Client: Jo Metcalf, head of art, Amnesty International UK
Brief: Raise awareness of Amnesty's work seeking justice for unfairly
treated or imprisoned people around the world, in particular Troy Davis
Agency: Brothers and Sisters
Creatives: Lisa Jelliffe, Kirsten Rutherford, Mentalgassi
2. LAND ROVER FREELANDER 2
Client: Dorian Leroy, global marketing, brand communications manager,
Brief: Reflect the world of opportunity available to the Freelander 2
Agencies: Swarm@RKCR/Y&R, Wunderman
Writers: Mark Waldron, Sophie Clark
Art directors: Dave Godfree, Fiona Clark
Director: Peter Sluska
Production company: Hornet Workshop
Exposure: TV, online
Project: Passionate plea
Clients: Helen Nunn, head of media and comms; Sean Toal, commercial
director, The Co-operative Food
Brief: Convey the important role the Co-op plays in people's lives by
making quality food available at the heart of local communities
Writer/art director: Richard Dean
Director: Barney Cokeliss
Production company: RSA
Exposure: National TV, cinema
Project: What would you do?
Client: Richard Bateson, marketing director, Camelot
Brief: Play Lotto and enjoy imagining what might happen
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO
Writers: Dave Buchanan, Gary Walker
Art directors: Mike Hannett, Huw Williams
Director: Kevin Thomas
Production company: Thomas Thomas Films
Exposure: National TV
Client: Jackie Martin, marketing director, Butlins
Brief: Reposition Butlins in a way that demonstrates actively to a
broader audience of mums that it is the perfect place to help your
family rediscover its sparkle
Writer/art director: Mother
Directors: Nic & Sune
Production company: Epoch
Project: Innocent superhero
Clients: Richard Reed, Dan Germain, Thomas Delabriere, Amy Shah,
Brief: Show that Innocent smoothies are a delicious and healthy way to
"fill a gap"
Agencies: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, Saint@RKCR/Y&R
Writer: Kimberley Hutcheson
Art director: Joe Fitzgerald
Director: Ben Wheatley
Production company: Blink
Exposure: TV, print
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk