You know when you've turned 40. The hangovers last three days. You start answering the odd question on Mastermind. You can have a reasonable stab at the value of things on Antiques Roadshow. A pressure cooker is a life-changing discovery. And a bunch of idiot models cavorting around in a pond dyed red pretending to be animals to sell jeans goes completely over your head.
Wrangler (1). I haven't the foggiest what to make of this. Oh, that's a lie. I think it's crap. Not good crap like Basshunter and Katia rutting away live in our sitting rooms. Just crap. Stuff you don't really notice until you're right up close and about to step in it. I'm impressed with how seriously the models are taking it, though. If that was me cavorting around a dyed red pond half-naked pretending to be a gazelle and getting paid for it, I'd be pissing my sides. Oh well. I'm battling a three-day hangover. Someone's got to pay. Banal Wrangler nonsense, it's you.
Asos (4). More fashion nonsense featuring animals. This time, cats. It's got all the makings of something cool and funny but, for me, the dialogue isn't quite up to scratch and generally the films don't feel like they've been given enough TLC to make real waves. A few glimpses of actual product wouldn't go amiss either, although I know there are some bizarre rules against that when doing idents.
Barclaycard (2). Remember the charming film with the guy going home from the office in a water chute? Good. This one's exactly the same. Except they swapped the water chute for a rollercoaster. I'm running a book on the next film. Man going home from work on a helter skelter is 6/4. That said, I admire the unashamed use of cheesy feel-good music which lifted both films. Worth shelling out for.
Ford (5). A press campaign done in the style of a 50s comic book so as to hint at the adventurous nature of potential buyers. Any more borrowed interest and we'll be hurtling towards recession again. I would imagine the business problem is Ford's lack of credentials in the 4x4 market. This work doesn't tackle that. It feels plenty inauthentic and uses advertising conceit when what I really want to know is: "Why Ford?"
O2 (3). Here's the proposition. In cinemas on Saturday, you can watch the Six Nations game between England and Wales LIVE on the big screen. But, wait, that's not all. Better than that, you can watch it LIVE IN 3D!!! Frankly, you could just run a load of press that said that and it'd be a complete success. But for such a groundbreaking event, I'd expect something a bit better than the same tired old shots of the England team making their way down the tunnel. Such an event deserves more of an event to promote it.
MySpace (6). This isn't a new idea. But what sets it apart is the way the films have been lovingly put together and your own personal photo weaved so seamlessly into the action. I had already received this neat digital idea before I got to review it. Job done.
That's the lot. Nothing as howlingly bad as that sausage ad where the bloke gets up at the end and says: "Stop the digging."
But nothing quite as good as the Wickes work that has been doing the rounds for a while now. I actually wandered into a Wickes the other day off the back of it. Which reassured me that in our ever-changing landscape, simple, honest, well-crafted ideas still rule OK.
MEDIA PLANNER - Ivan Pollard, partner, Naked Communications
I have spent the past few weeks in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, where they pass their time ice-fishing, playing poker and watching the play-offs for the Super Bowl. The Minnesota Vikings - with a 40-year-old quarterback - almost got there, so I have done much watching of the TV with large men called Everett hurling "support" at the TV.
As a result, I got to witness the parlous state of American TV advertising. There were high-cost, high-profile spots in NFL games but every single ad in this week's Private View has so much more to offer than any dire piece of nonsense from Luke Wilson and AT&T that it makes you feel honoured to be able to watch these. So, please, view the positivity of the following comments as if they were the delighted musings of a professional footballer finding himself alone with an underwear catalogue.
Let's start with O2 (3). Real men, playing a real sport with a real man's voiceover and a real technological breakthrough in 3D ... but an ad that looks like a reprise of a Nike effort from 1998. Maybe everything is just so fabulous that VCCP didn't think they needed to make much effort and perhaps they are right. No-one in their right mind wants to see what Steve Borthwick looks like in close-up 3D; they want to see what he does, so they play on our anticipation and leave us to fill in the blanks.
More "real men" pop up in the Ford (5) work from Ogilvy. So what if we have seen this sort of stuff before and often? It is so nicely executed that it will bring back moving, familiar, comforting feelings of warmth and nostalgia to those ten-year-olds from the 50s who are now 70 years old and thinking of buying that new truck.
Maybe a more modern take on being manly comes in the work for Wrangler (1). Man, woman and denim all delightfully served up in sumptuous photography in the print work. Don't ask me why I think it works, I can't tell you. I find scantily clad youngsters soaking in steamy water and panting strangely alluring in an animal kind of way. The film work does not do as much for me as the print. It feels like watching Annaud's Quest For Fire while hung over, queasy and wondering where you left your house keys.
More manly shenanigans in the Barclaycard (2) ad. The thrill of a rollercoaster ride using Spider-Man technology and some brilliant film all for the split-second pay-off of the split-second pay-off with the swipe card. Beautifully executed and a joy to watch. And even though the money shot is only a couple of seconds, it is made all the more memorable by the serious fluffing beforehand. And it even features a man with a beard. So 70s.
Better stuff from Bartle Bogle Hegarty is found in the MySpace (6) fan video work. At first you think: "Ho-hum. What's so great about this?" But then you upload a 1937 black-and-white photo of your grandad in Halifax into a 50 Cent video and it is done so brilliantly that you are left chuckling and forwarding it to your friends. It works flawlessly, captures both data and imagination and definitely makes me believe MySpace is developing clout in the music world. Go try it for yourself.
And, finally, work with no men in it at all. Mother's work for Asos (4) is strange. It is hard to crack sponsorship idents but I suspect the fashion cats might catch on in a small way. OK, so it is not "Monkey" but it does open up the opportunity for multiple executions and jokes about merkins. And even this is better than the American football ads I was subjected to.
So a mixed bag of manly stuff with much to commend it. Now where is my underwear catalogue?
Project: We are animals red campaign
Clients: Giorgio Presca, Dieter Jacobfeuerborn, Alessandro Vigano,
Stephano Aimone, Adam Kakembo, Yasemin Akkaya, Wrangler
Brief: Reconnect Wrangler with the European youth
Agency: Fred & Farid Paris
Writers/art directors: Fred & Farid, Feng Huang
Photographer: Jeff Burton
Exposure: Print, online
Client: Paul Troy, head of advertising and content, Barclaycard
Brief: Bring to life Barclaycard's mission of making its customers'
lives easier through contactless payment technology
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Writer: Daniel Schaefer
Art director: Szymon Rose
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Production company: MJZ
Project: Priority rugby walk
Client: Ed Pellew, advertising manager, O2
Brief: Raise awareness of the 3D screenings of the Six Nations available
for O2 customers
Writer: Veryan Prigg
Art director: Kieran Knight
Director: Saam Farahmand
Production company: Partizan
Client: Emma McLaughlin, head of marketing, Asos
Brief: Develop 12 idents to leverage Asos.com's sponsorship of the new
America's Next Top Model series
Writer: Susan Hosking
Art director: Peter Robertson
Production company: Rokkit
Project: Real Man's Adventure
Client: Maureen Graham, director of marketing communications, Ford of
Brief: Position the Ranger as the "heart and soul of a true pick-up"
that delivers desired authenticity and rugged capability through its
working vehicle credentials, looks and heritage
Agency: Ogilvy Advertising
Writers/art directors: Andy Wyton, Jason Mendes
Exposure: UK press, online
Project: Get real close
Client: Lindsay Nuttall, marketing director, MySpace
Brief: Celebrate the launch of MySpace Music in the UK by bringing fans
and artists closer than ever before on MySpace
Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Creative team: Dean Woodhouse, Hugo Bierschenk
Production company: Pulse Films
This article was first published on Campaign