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The beautiful game

With strategy and tactics of international football honed to the highest standard, we expect some great entertainment

Well it's here. The World Cup. The Thrills. The Spills. The Metatarsal mania. With strategy and tactics of international football honed to the highest standard, we expect some great entertainment, and of course we have complete faith that the coach has selected the squad most able to deliver the Great Prize.

See where this is going? Some see the function of advertising as breaking through the defence and cynicism of the target audience, possibly using financial muscle, working on the theory that if you hammer away for long enough with any old bland message, something will give. Sometimes effective, but usually pretty damn boring.

No, the measure of a great ad is its ability to engage and entertain, to weave around defences and past competitors without committing any fouls or breaking the rules of the game, to deliver the brand message right on goal.

With that in mind we will take a look at some current talent and try to reach an assessment (fairly subjective) of their chances of making the team. Why not? As with football we all know best, don't we?

So, who will be over the moon and who will be as sick as the proverbial parrot? As an aside, is it just me or has anyone else noticed, there's enough arm waving in ads at the moment to produce a respectable Mexican wave?

NICORETTE - for smoking cessation
Well someone else has discovered the joys of InDesign, why have a straight line when a curvy one will do? And how can one resist all those lovely drop shadows; it's very tempting. Yet saying that, I really like this ad. Humour, when it's appropriate, has got to be a winner. Remember the Cadbury's Smash aliens? People, even doctors, like to have a laugh, and this joke really does make a serious point very well indeed.


CIPRALEX - for depression
Women play football as well, and she looks like a good sweeper. There is an interesting use of illustration/photo montage for this antidepressant ad. Although I can't help thinking that `zapping' the problem with a vacuum cleaner is the 21st Century's equivalent to sweeping things under the carpet, an own goal in fact.

The headline `Take that' reinforces the use of the cleaning device, as well as the subhead, which mentions the product is `well equipped'. The cloud of depression and negativity works. As a whole, the ad illustrates the problem and its treatment in a simple and straightforward manner.

Overall, this ad is a good idea that works well and has been executed in an original and memorable way. Just out of interest, I wonder what happens to the contents of the bag or cylinder. I hope they are disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.


XENICAL - for the treatment of obesity
There's a lot going on in this ad and it takes a bit of time to understand it. The execution certainly lifts it out of the ordinary. The layout with its headline `Lethal Obsession' draws you in to the copy and strapline. The photography of the frying pan is a little too dark for my liking, and therefore isn't as clear and instantly recognisable as it should be. I don't want to put the boot in but, for example, if it were on a white ceramic hob it would be much easier to see. This should not take away from the fact that the `fatty grim reaper' is a very clever idea. When reinforced with the strapline it leaves the reader in no doubt about the serious health issues of eating too much fatty food.

This ad gets its message across, even though it's a little dark, in a no nonsense way.


LAMISIL - for athlete's foot
Now what is going on in the Lamisil dynasty? There is Lamisil Senior with all that flair and great goal-scoring record behind him, then along comes Junior displaying all the sparkle of a hung-over clogger from the Sunday league. Come on, we know you have it in your genes, but at the moment... sorry mate, you don't make the bench.


RECTOGESIC - for anal fissures
Some people say that negative imagery doesn't work but this gives the lie to that. Pathos will always stir up a bit of emotion and touch a few nerves. Well, there's enough pathos here to make 11 grown men's eyes water. You don't have to work very hard, just looking at that sadistic bog roll and thinking about anal fissures. Ouch! You get the point all right. When you've got a sharp shooter like this, the poor old goalie stands no chance.


2nd September 2008


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