Campaign UK



Joint executive creative director, Karmarama

I get physical pangs of jealousy when I see really good work. A little jet of acid in my gut. A squirt of adrenaline. It’s the same feeling I get on my bike when a car passes too close. Or when I suddenly remember some horrendous thing from my past. It’s uncomforta­ble and pathetic and I wish it didn’t happen, but it’s a reliable way to gauge work. So I will use it here. My Envy Spidey Sense. My Green-eye X-ray Vision. The Pang Assessment Scale.

ZOOPLA. What if hermit crabs bought and sold homes like humans? Yeah, OK. That’s an alright start point. These 3D-printed shell houses have done the rounds on the internet, but they’re cute. And kudos for getting performanc­es out of crustacean­s. However, there’s a lot of blather in this ad and the brand doesn’t have a clear point of view on any of it, so the whole thing feels a bit gimmicky. And the voice-acting is very rent-a-gob. No pang.

NO7. A cinematic action sequence in which the stuntwoman turns out to be the star of the piece. Like the window-jump stunt itself, this idea feels like I’ve seen it before. Beautifull­y shot and part of a great new groove for No7 but, sadly, not quite as magical as the previous two spots in the campaign. Only a mild pang.

LLOYDS BANK. It doesn’t bother me that it keeps doing the same thing again and again, because the image of the black horse galloping through our lives is brilliant. Simple, powerful, iconic. A solution that was in the logo the whole time. The only letdown is the pro forma whispery cover of a pop song. But, despite that, this makes me feel weirdly proud of Lloyds. A significan­t pang.

FINANCIAL TIMES. Alternativ­e points of view on topical issues. Didn’t The Guardian do this? Didn’t

The Economist do this? Didn’t The Guardian do this a second time? It’s definitely a well-worn approach for those who deal in current events and – again – these ads suffer from overfamili­arity. There is a good, ownable thought in “thinking beyond the black and white”. I’m interested to see where that goes. But, right now, this is nothing new. No pang. Yet.

SUPERDRUG. Idea-less, generic, pop-video nonsense. How do you write ads like this? Like, literally, what do you write on the page? “Coloured smoke, glitter, marketing adjectives and whatever’s in the charts that month”? Or are they all just mood films that escaped the boardroom and went rampaging off into the real world, frothing at the mouth and barking “CHEEKY! DARING! FUN!”? If it’s all meant to hang off “Super smug” at the end, it doesn’t. Entirely pang-less. Un-pang. Sub-pang. Bafflement.

That’s it. The pangs have been mostly tolerable. The black ball of spite in my abdomen hasn’t burst. But I’m sure it won’t be long before I turn a page or open a new tab and see an ad that hurts. Perhaps even one done by a mate. Those ones reach the highest level on the Pang Assessment Scale: Worst Pang Imaginable.

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