Mistakes are there to make us stronger, so every whimsical gift card from Hout Bay to Nuuk will tell you, repeatedly. But that only really works if you can spot your errors. Many of us compound our cock-ups by failing to recognise them and boring our closest friend with pale, thin ideas that have somehow made it to telly-land.
There are times when you should just curl up in a ball and hide in the corner, like the creators of the latest spot for something called “Katjes” hopefully are. Previous incarnations have shown Heidi Klum sticking Katjes between her toes before eating them. It was an odd idea even before I discovered they were some sort of yoghurt based gum, I think. Anyway, the latest offering takes place inside one of the huge space-mobile vehicles that people buy to get away from their children by sticking them in the far distant rear seats. One of the little darlings pipes up with “The question that embarrasses adults,” “What’s artificial insemination?” she spouts, causing a pregnant pause in the car as the super- model lookalike mother swerves dangerously while considering her answer. The other passengers, all of who are barely out of kindergarten, wait, exchanging knowing looks as she battles with the answer. “That’s when fruit gums come with artificial colours, luckily there are others that don’t.” She proclaims, dangling a bag of the offending sweets over her shoulder as the voice-over sings the instantly forgettable ditty, “Katjes, yes, yes, yes…” “No, no. no it has me shouting when I’m treated to it, again.
I would like to think that a whole smorgasbord of creatives were killed in the making of this ad.
To see how beauty can be used with brains take a look at the now old but still lovely to look at Agent Provocateur viral. Maybe I’m biased by the sight of Kylie thrusting her body all over the place while attached to a bar room bucking bronco dressed in skimpy underwear, maybe I’m just human after all. Recharge your batteries at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgX8gOV4x6w, personally it leaves me breathless and moaning, “I wish that was in my portfolio.”
Hopefully the brains behind the latest Salton flat wall heater thingy ad will be thinking twice before claiming bragging rights down the Brazen Head. In this a family are driven to sleep by the comfort of the heaters, or maybe by being forced to watch the commercial a few times, either way they are caught deep in slumber on camera. As we move over each of them we see fluffy type appear telling us what they are dreaming of. “A hole in one,” for the father, a daring “007” for his dozy wife, something called “Smackdown,” for the nasty looking teenager and finally even the family pet doesn’t escape with the predictable “rabbits” hovering over his head. It’s a horrible, sickly family pastiche that is beyond terrible and should be buried somewhere deep where it can live out its radioactive half-life without infecting other half-witted clients. My art director, flashing her new sparkly ring acquired on a dodgy holiday down South, growls loud enough to wake a sleeping hound every time this piece of rubbish comes on, I sense it angers her slightly.
There are easier, and more powerful ways to catch the consumer’s attention. The top and tail inserts on both sides of the Sky weather report are constantly of a high standard. Small smiles highlighting the many high standard offerings on board Qatar airways, beautiful close-ups of tea pouring shots are accompanied by a languid voice; “This afternoon over the Pyrenees we’re expecting a torrent of Earl Grey Tea, lifting later…the weather sponsored by Qatar airways.”
Used to having the last word, the political commentator Adam Boulton often pops up on Sky news harassing the great and good with carefully sharpened jibes so adept and apposite that his interviewees don’t know what hit them. His towering moment, however, is in the ad where, after exchanging sound bites, he dismisses the British Prime Minister with the words, “I think the BBC are waiting for you over there.” Super up the line, Sky, always first with the news.”
It’s neat, clever, and topical stuff, make no mistake about it.