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Young blood!

As a young art director I was daunted by the prospect of writing Ad Lib. I think that having little or no industry baggage can sometimes be a blessing, as it doesn't inhibit free-thinking

Kate OglesbyAs a young art director I was daunted by the prospect of writing Ad Lib. Previous authors appear to know the sector inside out, have been there, done that and have years of knowledge to draw from. While it is obviously important to have this experience, I often look at ads and wonder if years of working in healthcare advertising have destroyed any real creative thinking.

With a few years behind me, I now have a fair idea of what will become a potential 'pitch winning' idea, but I often end up questioning whether it was the right decision. Unadventurous clients can be partly to blame, but I think sometimes the agencies should be braver in what they present. Clients can only be brave if they are exposed to brave ideas.

I think that having little or no industry baggage can sometimes be a blessing, as it doesn't inhibit free-thinking. Give me a few more years and I might cringe at how naÔve this sounds! Whatever the case, I hope to offer an honest, baggage-free opinion.

MIZOLLEN - for hayfever

This ad immediately caught my eye. It's stylish, well designed and looks out of place in a medical journal. And that's exactly why I like it.

Okay, so the concept is a bit tenuous, but it did at least make me smile. It is definitely the art direction that makes this ad live. I can imagine the scamp and see how it could have turned out had it fallen into the wrong hands.

Good photography and elegant typography; what more could an art director hope for? Full marks for being understated, well- balanced and managing to keep the logo to a sensible size. Shame about the show-through.

TELFAST - for hayfever

This is a stark contrast to the Mizollen ad and I'm guessing the one that is more memorable with GPs. It's a simple concept and is noticeable, but it doesn't work hard enough for me. I find the headline Power over Flower uninventive, a bit clumsy and the sign-off It's fast man! cringe-worthy.

I feel that either this ad needed to go totally way out (man) and be a psychedelic wonderland, or play it a bit cooler. Instead, it looks like a couple of library shots that someone has done the best job they can with. To be fair, it's more 'designed' than most ads, but the half-way house and a flaky concept doesn't do it for me.


This ad made me chuckle. I'm not sure if it's meant to be ironically cheesy but that's how it comes across. It has a feel-good, light-heartedness about it. The idea isn't awe-inspiring, but I like the way the execution has been thought through. It's not all spelt out in the headline in massive letters and the substitution of body copy and the obligatory oversized logo for the inset ad works well.

It looks like someone's had some fun with it and the result is comical rather than painful. This is not to say that I think this is a brilliant ad, but it did raise a faint smile. I usually despise ads where they try to blend the logo into the picture, but here it just kind of adds to the irony. I wonder if the client sees it that way?


As a series of ads, this campaign caught my attention. Not for stunning design or amazing photography (neither of which it possesses) but for a simple idea that has mileage. The fact that Pariet acts within an hour, juxtaposed to `amazing' facts about speed, is a straightforward, concise concept that could have endless executions.

It doesn't shout aloud though and, as a result, probably gets lost in other noise in journals. There is nothing technically wrong with the ads; however, I think that the art direction lacks imagination. I suspect that the uninspiring template was an attempt to make the photolibrary selection look more consistent as a set. I think it could have been pushed more. A simple, neat idea, but an unremarkable execution.

NEBILET - for hypertension

I've tried to be constructive so far; this ad, however, left me a bit bewildered. I understand the logic in presenting the negative side of a situation against the promise of a product, but this ad just makes me focus on that negative.

Why split the type in a way that accentuates the drama that you're trying to avoid? The only positive thing I can say, is that it's a nice picture. In fact, maybe a different layout would have helped, so the negative drama wasn't all bunched up near the copy and the logo. That said, I suspect it wouldn't make me like the concept any better. It smacks of being given a 'performance' brief and finding an image to fit it. Where's the big, brave idea here?

The Author
Kate Oglesby is an art director at MJL Advertising

2nd September 2008


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