Thursday, 22 January 2009

Just When You Thought D&AD Had Sucked All Available Shit:

OK, the other one was bad, but at least they tried to do something creative (they failed miserably, but at least the intention was there).

But this one:

Words fail me.

I'm sorry Miwa Takabayashi, whoever the fuck you are, but really this is beyond the pale. It makes me so angry when people take something that's good, and just through laziness and stupidity ruin it forever. It's like going into your local boozer to find that they've replaced the pool table with air hockey, and put three flat-screen TVs where the old men used to be.

People think this isn't important, "What's another set of awards in the most award-heavy industry there is?" they say. "Why this constant need to pat yourself on the back with a great glittery golden hand?"

But they don't understand, because they work for money. Whatever people say blow by and large we don't do it for the money, I don't for one, because almost no amount of money would be enough. To work all the hours that God sends towards something that's virtually impossible, surrounded by people who are trying to thwart you at every turn? Then if you finally get something decent out there for the final arbiters to be the mouth-breathing general public - no it's too much. Myself up.

That's why it's so important that just for a moment we can blow that there is one respected body we can believe offers some kind of gold-standard in creative work, even if that gold-standard is illusory, it's all we've got. We're not scientists, we don't expect to know if we're ever right or wrong about our work, we go on working fighting a battle with dwindling supplies against an enemy that gets tougher and tougher the further we go. Up.

If you're an artist, ok, you don't sell any books or paintings or whatever, no one comes to see your film, but when all is said and done, you have your integrity. Blow. Myself. Up. You think anyone in advertising is going to end their lives thinking "Well, at least I still have my integrity?"

Who reading this, didn't start their career leafing through the D&AD annuals thinking, maybe one day, if I stay late and work weekends and learn to be really good at this thing, maybe one day I can go in this fucking book?

I am just going to blow myself up.

I've got the instructions off the internet and I am going to blow my fucking self up. I put the belt together after the last D&AD ad, but I thought, no, they're people too. But now?

Fuck'em. Fuck them.

There’s no fucking way that I am eating this shit up. You’re not going to fuck me any longer because I’m blowing myself up.

I've got the belt, I've booked the Taxi. You have brought this Upon yourselves D&AD, yeah yeah, Campaign might try and Belittle Me, dismiss me as “a bit chippy”, but you are going to find out what it means to have yourself fucking blown up seriously.

I know I’ve said this before, but this is Really My Last Post. There’s just No Point. What’s the Fucking Point? But Really? Can You see a Fucking point Mika Takabayashi, on your fucking Cardboard Pencil maybe, because I certainly fucking can’t.

Garrick Hamm You Are About To Be Terminated You Fucking Designer. I’m Blowing You Up.

Dear Oh Dear...

I found this absolutely DREADFUL ad.

Derivative, sexist,'s probably been nicked off something similar from YouTube.

I've had to watch it fourteen or fifteen times to really get to grips with how awful it really is.

And now I'm going to watch it again, just in case there's something rubbish about it that I missed.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Further Thoughts On Award-Schemes-As-Media

Last week I put up a post suggesting that winning awards for an ad can be a good source of cheap media that will be chewed over for years by a certain wealthy, influential, media-centric demographic.

As I continued to ponder this idea, two more things occurred to me:

First, I realised that I got most of my initial knowledge about Amnesty International from Indra Sinha's early 90s press ads that I read in D&AD annuals. They were long-copy whoppers that detailed, in beautifully written prose, just how important the organisation was and the type of problems they helped to solve. So, as a young ad nerd who just wanted to become a better copywriter, I read every word of them several times over and now Amnesty is the only charity I donate to. The same thing happened (except for the donations) when I read David Abbott's beautiful, Pencil-winning RSPCA ads, and on the American side of things, Washington's Holocaust Museum and the Truth campaign against Big Tobacco only came to my attention through the appropriate One Show Annuals, yet the information they presented have always stayed with me. I suppose I paid them far more attention than I would have done had I come across them in their regular media schedule, making their relatively small entry fees money well spent.

Second, I was chatting to Mark Denton the other day about Nike Plus. We couldn't understand how an invention that amazing, something which transcends advertising and marketing to improve and affect the lives of so many, could have just passed us by...until we read about it in awards annuals. Now, without wanting to flatter myself, I'm a fairly computer literate, media savvy person and part-time twat, who is interested in both running and music AND I own an ipod and some Nike trainers. You'd think I'd be a complete bullseye for Nike Plus, and yet they failed to reach me. Maybe I don't pay enough attention to advertising, but I'm stunned that such a paradigm-shifting event only found me when it started to win advertising awards. Actually, I can't think of that many significant pieces of advertising that have reached to me through the natural spread of the internet, other than Honda Cog and Dove Evolution.

So all I can say is 'thank you' to advertising award schemes for enriching my life beyond where it would otherwise be.

And to anyone with something interesting to say who doesn't know how to reach me, make it into a good ad, run it once and send it in to Creative Circle, D&AD, Cannes or The One Show. I'll read every word.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Difference Between D&AD and Creative Circle Thrown Into Sharp Relief:

Last week, I (amongst others) pointed out how lovely the new Creative Circle annual is.

Then I came across this for D&AD:

It seems to demonstrate the harsh truth that you can slave away for ages on something, then have it turn out to be a pointless waste of time.

I'm not 100% sure that's what D&AD wanted to say.

The other odd thing is that they haven't even used the right colours. Why is it white at the top?

And the music is rubbish.

Perhaps it's time D&AD recognised that all of its communications really ought to be worthy of inclusion in its own annual, otherwise, what's the point?

I Don't Love This:

Because I did love this:

I dunno. It's a fucking amazing animation technique, but I hope they paid Blu, especially when you see what's at the start of their YT film.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Why Does This Not Quite Work?

The new Skittles ad is out:

It's better than almost all the ads that are out there and yet...and feels somewhat disappointing.

To me, the problem is one that is common in many episodic art forms that have experienced success: it feels like it's been written by a fan of the campaign, rather than by one of the people who came up with the goods in the first place.

Other examples of this include Friends from about season 4 onwards, the first episode of season 5 of The Wire, The West Wing from about mid-season 4 onwards, and Spongebob Squarepants from Season 6 onwards. Then there's all the great old campaigns, like Heineken and Hamlet, that had to lose quality and eventually end.

And when you think about it, it's an entirely reasonable problem: the shot-in-the-dark unexpectedness of early success can disappear when the task changes from originating something good to merely replicating it. Do we have to get Chandler to say 'Could I be any more...'? Does Jed Bartlet have to whip his jacket on in that cool way everyone likes? Should Spongebob still like Squidward in the face of such vitriol? Do we need to junk those moments as dead cliches and come up with something completely new? Will that mean we lose the essence of what was great, or will such changes preserve it?

And no one really knows the answers to those questions, otherwise we'd still be watching Peyton Place (I concede there are many long-running serials, but they are usually patchy soaps that can take a few drops in quality).

In the case of Skittles, I'd imagine there would have been literally hundreds of rejected scripts. Why do the Sour man, the Pinata man and the Beard make it over (presumably) so many others? Well, that's more a question for Gerry Graf, and the reason why he and Ian Riechenthal and Scott Vitrone probably get paid more than I do.

So here we are with Tailor.

I'd say it doesn't work as well as the others because there's nothing funny during the ad. The conceit is amusingly surreal, but unlike the others, there's no elegant build to an even funnier climax.

The others also had depth of character: the frustrated Pinata man, the melancholy Toucher, the cocky Sour man, the sneaky Beard guy...they all had something about them that no one in Tailor has, something that allowed you to see a back story that made you feel as if this was just one of a hundred odd things that happen to them every day.

And it's as if they couldn't really think of a decent ending. They're hard to do, and Touch has the best ending of any ad, ever:

So that leads us into the last point: the bar was set so high, it was a bit of a poisoned chalice. I was amazed they came up with so many crackers, particularly Pinata, which followed the peerless Touch and still held its own.

And as a final note, many people on Creativity have given it five stars, so maybe I'm just wrong (I'm not).

Sunday, 18 January 2009

The Blog Thing I've Put On The Side Is Already Paying Dividends.

In between waiting for updates on the 'Hot Chicks with Douchebags' blog, I noticed that Cinematical had a review of a new movie playing at the Sundance Film Festival.

The blogger doesn't like it much, but for those of you who are interested in movies and advertising, here's a movie about advertising: Art and Copy appears to be an uncritical, US-centric celebration of the history of commercials, featuring contributions from people like Cliff Freeman, George Lois, Lee Clow and Dan Wieden. It's also backed by the One Club.

I'd be very surprised if it got a cinema release over here, despite being up for the Grand Jury Prize - something tells me the audience for the reminiscences of Mary Wells may be somewhat limited.

Then again, maybe it'll be this year's March of the Penguins.

Here's an interview with the director and George Lois: