Let's begin with something from the Hindustan Times (5) (mmm, it almost makes you feel like a globetrotter just saying it). The three- word message "Plant more trees" is cleverly counter-pointed by a very realistic shot of bats hanging among the Monday wash on a clothes line. Do bats really hang in trees? Do dogs really piss up people's legs? Who knows? Who cares? Nice ads.
In a series of ads by BT Financial (6), Tom Jones in a grimy street setting looks as if the dog from Delhi has just splashed his boots (I'm lapsing into a bit of Strine there to indicate this is Australian BT). The artless look on his face is only surpassed by an ad featuring Edward De Bono that looks like it was purchased from the morgue's image bank. The unglamorous stock shots however give an oddly realistic tinge to the strategy, You Never Lead By Following, so avoid chasing quick returns. Odd but effective.
The US work for Champion (4) is less odd, though it strives to be so. No headline, just the chalked word "ESCAPE". Various athletes bound, leap or board over tableaux of sameness and boredom and sub-humanity that Stanley Spencer captured in similar muted tones and warm lighting in his famous Cookham paintings. It is this delicacy and confidence in these illustrations that lift a fairly ho-hum basketball idea up to the hoop.
Basketball is also one of the themes for Germany's ads for the UN International Year of Sport (2). In one execution, a fraulein in curlers is shooting for three points into a large orange saucepan. In another, a swimmer crouches to dive into an equally 70s-inspired tiled bath. It is this 70s shtick I don't quite get, why the Letraset starburst with the 70s Cooper Bold type? Unfortunately I associate the 70s as years of sport when the Germans thrashed us at football, so, quickly moving on ...
To the 80s, when Nike (3) reigned supreme not just in sport, but in advertising too. Nike was the brand that put paid to long copy: the swoosh on a sexy Sports Illustrated-style photograph said it all. Odd then that the only long copy in this bunch should come from guess who? Only Hannibal Lecter could find these moving schema of heart, lungs and muscle appetising but lines such as "Does your bladder need a more intellectual running jacket?" certainly whet your appetite for more info. Sharp, well-crafted and unselfconsciously intelligent, these are clearly ads by runners for runners, just as the tagline reads.
The tagline for EMI (1) could easily read: "By sickos, for sickos." It actually reads: "Please respect artists, stop music piracy," a whimper of sanity in a symphony of madness. These ads are wonderful. Not what you'd expect from France but then nor was Petomane, the great musical farter. Iggy Pop's heart in all its gory glory probably adorns the wall of every blackheaded boucher's boy north of the Peripherique. And Keith Richards' fingers, made from burnt-out matchbooks, are a resounding collision of Man Ray and Basquiat. So Dadaist. So D&AD.
If you think I'm being pretentious, I suggest you take a closer look and remember, like the line says: "Nothing great comes easy."
1. EMI Project: Music piracy awareness Client: n/s, EMI Brief: Respect artists.Stop music piracy Agency: TBWA\Paris Writer: Benoit Leroux Art director: Philippe Taroux Illustrator: n/s Exposure: Magazines 2. UN INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SPORT Project: Year of Sport Client: Dr Christine Kalb, president, UN Association of Germany Brief: Raise public awareness for the UN International Year of Sport and motivate people to participate Art director: Heiner Rogge Photographer: Miriam Ellerbrake Retouching: PX 1 Exposure: National magazines 3. NIKE Project: Sculptures Client: n/s, Nike Brief: n/s Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam Writer: Joe Staples Art director: Johan Dalqvist Photographer: Jeff Minton Exposure: National magazines 4. CHAMPION Project: Champion Client: n/s, Champion Brief: Escape Agency: Publicis New York Writer: Bernard Hunter Art director: Michael Bond Photographer: Nadav Kander Artist: Kurt Wenner Exposure: National press 5 HINDUSTAN TIMES Project: Plant more trees Client: Anand Bhardwaj, vice-president, marketing, HT Media Brief: Encourage tree-planting initiatives Agency: Ogilvy & Mather India Writer: Abhijit Avasthi Art directors: Vijay Sawant, Juhi Chaturvedi Illustrator: Uday Kirloskar Photographer: Vishlesh Deshmukh Exposure: Hindustan Times 6. BT FINANCIAL Project: Investment Truths Clients: John Shuttleworth, head of marketing; Carly Loder, senior advertising manager, BT Financial Group Brief: Modernise BT's brand image Agency: HOST Writers: Jonathan Kneebone, Luke Crethar Art directors: Gary Freedman, Matt Devine Exposure: Metro press, magazines
This article was first published on Campaign