Tag Archives: advertising

Harvey Pics

Wallace and Gromit model for Harvey Nichols.

wallace and gromit for harvey nicholsMuch as we love Nick Park’s national treasures, surely they are much more suited to flogging tea bags than glad rags? Mother‘s Hibby and Harvey campaign from the late 90s was far more on-brand. With their delightfully catty captions — “Nice Helmut” — the knitted dolls spoke directly to the fashionistas who shop at Harvey Nicks as well as modelling the clothes. It’s hard to see Wallace and his dog having the same high fashion resonance.

Hibby and Harvey for Harvey Nichols (knitted puppets Nice Helmut ad)

And yet. Marks and Spencer has just launched an ad campaign featuring that beloved working class stereotype Del Boy in an attempt to move away from its current upmarket image. Food retailers in the UK are increasingly under pressure from the ‘Aldi effect’ with credit-crunched shoppers switching to budget outlets. M&S claims that Del Boy has “universal appeal with the British public”. Maybe Harvey Nics is attempting a similar shift by adopting the distinctly mainstream Wallace and Gromit. But what does a luxury brand have without its exclusivity? Luxe brands from M&S upwards may well be about to find out…

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

Leigh Bowery on Advertising

The late great talks to Campaign.

Whilst researching something completely different, I came across an interview with Leigh Bowery in Campaign magazine, of all places. The context was a Pepe Jeans commercial that Leigh was featuring in: apparently when the client was around the director Tony Kaye told the performance superstar to ‘hide in a cupboard’. Unsurprisingly, the devastatingly original Leigh had some choice words to say about the ad world, including the following gem:

I am quite pleased that advertisers use dated ideas and concepts because good ideas should never be used immediately.

Good advice for ad-appropriated club kids, designers, artists, whatevers. I couldn’t find the commercial (anyone?) so here’s the Raw Sewage clip from ‘The Legend of Leigh Bowery’.

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

Product Displacement

UK culture minister says product placement “contaminates” TV programmes.

Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, has used his first big speech on broadcasting to voice his opposition to product placement. The minister in charge of what *you* get to watch also indicated he wanted to see self-regulation of violent, sexual and offensive content on the internet, somehow modeled on the 9pm television watershed.

Burnham is clearly living in lala-I’m-not-listening-land. Putting aside his ludicrous suggestions to monitor online content (good luck with that), his apparent dismissal of product placement is a Big Problem. Paid for product placement is increasingly looking like the only hope for beleaguered free-to-air UK TV channel ITV. TV ad revenues in recent years have fallen off a cliff and ITV had sought to make up the shortfall with money from gambling phone in competition lines. We all know how well that panned out.

Burnham asserts that product placement ‘contaminates’ programming. In the UK, many of our prejudices against product placement appear to have been formed from watching movies such as the Bond franchise, where placement is often clumsy and detrimental. This is strange, given that many homes have multichannel TV and are exposed to US programming – laden with placement – on both ITV and the myriad other channels. American Idol on ITV has to fuzz-out the Coke cups on the judges’ desk. But there is no such regulation of Horatio’s Hummer in CSI Miami, Dunkin’ Donuts in Will and Grace nor of the product references on reality shows such as Top Model. There’s simply too much *there*.

Moreover, US imports such as Seinfeld, CSI and Heroes are often held up as archetypes of fantastic TV. All are at least partially funded by product placement. Hell, they probably wouldn’t have been made had it not been for brands bunnying up the cash to be represented. Not that product placement is devoid of problems; script writers in the US continue to (rightly) complain that brands exert undue influence over the creative process. However, with an estimated $7bn to $10bn invested in product placement in the US every year, it’s increasingly hard to discount it as a revenue stream.

To be blunt, ITV and the UK advertising industry need product placement to happen. It’s their ‘get out of jail free’ card. With his ill-advised and ill-informed opinions on the subject, the culture minister may have just slammed the door shut.

Source: FT.

Update: Andy Burnham has also just launched a personal attack on the director of Liberty and leading human rights campaigner, Shami Chakrabarti. Clever.

Posted in Need To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

Britney Fears

Celebrity tragedy for sale

Footage of Britney Spears being hospitalised for the second time in a month hits YouTube and Google‘s search advertising hits postmodern paydirt. Running next to the clip is an ad for a ringtone of Britney’s current single, ‘Piece of Me’, in which she sings about her life of overexposure and exploitation:

I’m Miss American Dream since I was 17
Don’t matter if I step on the scene
Or sneak away to the Philippines
They still gon put pictures of my derrière in the magazine
You want a piece of me?
You want a piece of me…


Posted in Need To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

Never Screened

Harvey Keitel for Texaco and the best darn yoghurt ad you’re ever going to see

On odd occasions we use this site to eulogise the advertising agency where we both used to work: HHCL and Partners. In this case, we wanted to share a couple of ads that sadly never made it to air.

First up, Harvey Keitel (yes, you read that right) for Texaco.

Magnificent. And, Shape ‘Eat It Like a Bloke’. Brilliant.

With thanks to Chris.

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

Always Coca-Cola

Coke’s corporate communications get animated.

It’s a bit too close to Creature Comforts for — um — comfort but a nice stage in the evolution of corporate communications all the same. Coca-Cola’s ‘Making of’ last year’s animated TV spot features the v/os of actual ‘happy’ workers.

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

No Nirvana

Dr Martens seem to think that featuring an angelic Kurt Cobain in heaven in their ads is a Good Thing.

kurt-cobain-for-dr-martens.jpgSo we suppose the ad agency thought: grunge icon + iconic shoe brand – both a bit irrelevant nowadays = exciting brand-generated controversy and lots of sales.

Guess again.


“The head of Dr. Martens shoes apologized yesterday for an ad featuring Courtney Love’s late husband, Kurt Cobain, and other dead rock stars.

“We are really, really, really sorry,” Dr. Martens chief executive David Suddens tells People magazine. “We do think that it is offensive. We made a mistake. My message to Courtney Love is: This is something we shouldn’t have been doing.”

On Wednesday, Love lashed out at the company via her publicist. “Courtney had no idea this was taking place and would never have approved such a use,” her rep told People. “She thinks it’s outrageous that a company is allowed to commercially gain from such a despicable use of her husband’s picture.”

Suddens says the ad appeared in a British publication and was intended for a one-time use, though it got attention when it showed up on Web sites this week. Suddens says it was a mistake to have allowed even limited use of the ad.

“I wasn’t even aware of it,” Suddens says. “I was still unaware until [Wednesday]. When I found out what happened, I fired [the agency].”

The ad agency that created the effort, Saatchi & Saatchi London, released a statement yesterday posted on the Web site The Daily Swarm. “We believe the ads are edgy but not offensive,” executive creative director Kate Stanners says in the statement. “We regret that the controversy has led Dr. Martens to terminate the contract with Saatchi & Saatchi.”

Stanners goes on to claim that the image was released on a US site without authorisation from the agency. However, an official-looking interview that the writer Andrew Petch gave to the Daily Swarm over a week ago would apparently demonstrate that they were keen to get the word out about the campaign. The article was accompanied by all the executions including ones featuring the recently deceased Joe Strummer as well as Joey Ramone and Sid Vicious.

Erm, do they not understand that the Internet is global?

Source: Newsday via PerezHilton.

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | 1 Comment

Eddie Izzard for Greenpeace

As Greenpeace appoints a new ad agency, we wonder if they can improve on this.

Doubt it …

That planet’s about to fall apart like a pig in a blender.


Full disclosure: this ad was done by HHCL (RIP), our former employer and manger of BST.

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

Crying Kids Update

Ad agency rips off photographer. Gets caught.

Late last year we noted how similar some ads for a Chinese Italian restaurant chain were to the photography of Jill Greenbergh. At the time we noted that while Greenbergh’s work had caused controversy in the UK, similar images were being used to sell pasta in China. We never thought that the agency would be foolish enough to have not actually asked permission, or — if they hadn’t — that they thought that they could get away with such blatantly copycat work. Shanghaist now kindly alerts us to the fact Greenberg was neither involved nor was she asked permission.

According to Photo District News — which has reported on the story independently from us:

The O&M ad, credited to art director Ng Fan and photographer Connie Hong, according to the site AdsoftheWorld.com, shows a 2- or 3-year-old girl with angel wings, apparently distraught because a strip of hair has been shaved off her head. The ad’s tagline says, “Freshly made angel hair” (a reference to the pasta served by the restaurant). The photograph strongly resembles not only Greenberg’s “End Times” concept, but her shooting style. The images from Greenberg’s exhibit were widely published and reprinted both online and in print, and can be found on her web site.

Pursuing a copyright infringement claim in China can be expensive and difficult. Even if Greenberg pursued legal action, “she would probably have a difficult time making a case,” opines intellectual property attorney Nancy Wolff. Wolff explains that subject matter—in this case, crying children—is not protected by US copyright law, at least. And the ad may not be similar enough to any particular image by Greenberg to meet the threshold for infringement, even though it evokes Greenberg’s style. “Style is not something you can easily protect in terms of copyright,” Wolff says.

Greenberg declined to comment on this story.
Responding to an e-mail request for an interview, Michael Lee, managing director of O&M Advertising in Shanghai, said that the agency is “working with Jill for a solution.”

In our hyper-networked times, why do ad agencies think they can get away with this? There are even websites entirely dedicated to spotting when commercial interests rip off independent artists: check out You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice. Note to agencies: you will get found out.

Posted in Need To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment

No-one Belongs Here More Than You

A charming online ad. Really.

Miranda July’s lo-tech site for her new book mightn’t exactly be up there with Chris Marker’s La Jettee but is nonetheless a nice story well told against the grain of online visual convention: no Flash, no video, just humour and an excellent sense of timing. Nice.

[Via IF:Book]

Posted in Nice To Know | Tagged | Leave a comment