Local government HR ad wins May Ri Fiver

Our ‘Slim-Pret' picnic in Holborn got us thinking about how much the world has bought into the idea of ‘reduced' satisfaction: half the ingredients, half the calories, maybe even half the enjoyment. As we walked back to the office - ourselves two halves of a judging team - we saw halves everywhere. A pile of Ri5 hopefuls divided into two, one for the half-cocked and half-baked, the other for the halfway decent. A little under half an hour later, we were down to the contenders.

1. The 'Crystal Ball' for Southwark Council

Judges' comments: "The council is looking for people within the housing sector who had ‘insight, vision and skills beyond the norm'. Very recruitment, but interesting. After a long close-look (and how many readers study an idea with the intensity of an R15 judge?) we realised that the door knob was meant to mimic a crystal ball - the aforementioned ‘vision and skills beyond the norm'. We'd missed it completely. But, now that we knew, we agreed there was doubtless half an idea in here but, like mystic powers themselves, it was somewhat hidden and far from convincing. Warming to our task, we began to question the concept's whole interpretation. Why blend a dark oak veneer and brushed chrome door with Gothic typography? Why was the perspective of the shot so unrealistic? Why did the on and offline versions differ? Did the ad really need that clichéd headline? And what about that retouching? With more dramatic art direction and thought-provoking copy helping conjure up the right level of intrigue, we felt this really could have been more fully resolved. As it was, we felt it was half the ad it could have been."

2. Matalan's Graduate Brochure


Judges' comments: "Fun, we thought. We could almost picture the team coming up with this neat idea and fighting over who was going to the shops to gather the gear for the shoot. Making products look like other objects isn't exactly unique, but we agreed it had personality. It was most definitely on brand, was well written and we felt the target audience would warm to this one. But that would tell only half the story. We sat back and pondered. If this was the FHM award for best use of gloss laminate then, hey, we'd have a winner here. While the wipe clean surface might come in handy for some students, we weren't at all convinced. The fold-out people profile centre piece was kind of random. Why Polaroid's (again)? We just couldn't help think that there was more to be made from this idea: slide-outs, pop-ups and people interacting with the scenery perhaps? Maybe budget was an issue? Or time? Most of the product compositions used throughout the brochure were playful enough, yet it seemed that the first half of this 16-pager felt more 'loved' than the second. And that was our verdict: a brochure of two halves, not quite making a satisfying whole."

3. Brighton and Hove's campaign for two senior HR leaders

Judges' comments: "We agreed that it was a brave approach. Non-traditional (especially in situ). But risky as well, especially considering the audience, the culture of the public sector and B&H's already well established (and award-winning) Employer brand. Was this a case of an idea trying to be too clever by half? The debate deepened. But at least we had a debate worth having. Surely the right people would clock the spoof logo and the direction this idea was taking, but would they 'buy' it? We weren't sure. Nor were we sure about the execution. We slid the glossy slab of People Management closer. There was something not quite right here. Did creating the perception of dull need to include the perception of hopelessly negative? Why did the audience need to be lead in with the notion of hating yourself? Why did it name-check the mock council again so soon? Something else came to our attention too. Whilst the creative team clearly paid attention to the subtle detail in the photography, we were left wondering why the typography felt harsh, under-developed and somewhat 'slapped down'. The copywriter should feel let down. His or her work was well crafted with some nice touches throughout, but the setting and choice of Courier made things too hard to read. We tapped the url into our browser... Shame, it was what we expected but still very different for this sector. Which, in the end, we decided, can only be a good thing.

At this point, a part of us (a half part, probably) couldn't help feeling a little short changed, but we still needed a winner. Dullton and Hive (Brighton and Hove) it is.  We decided that the idea, the writing and the fact somebody actually got it past the client deserved to win the day. But did we feel it could still have worked harder? Not half.

As always, Ri5 is grateful to judges MarK Fones of TMP and Andy Holden of WDAD and sends warm thanks for their efforts.  On this occasion however, we take issue with one of the points they raise: the typography in the Dullton & Hive ad is surely part of the pastiche and worth a bonus point rather than a brickbat?

Ri5 thanks all who entered and congratulates LawtonWare and its client, Brighton & Hove City Council, who win the Ri Fiver for May 2008. Commiserations to Tribal and ThirtyThree for coming close.

The Ri Fivers are sponsored by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), one of the world's leading professional societies for the engineering and technology community. The IET publishes two key offline recruitment titles - Engineering & Technology and IET Student & Young Professional Magazine - and the website Engineering & Technology Jobs (www.theiet.org/jobs).

Closing date for entries for the June Ri Fiver will be Monday, 30th June at midnight.  Judges will be Jon Dobinson of Other Creative and Jim Landen of Bernard Hodes Group.

Saturday, 31 May 2008

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