Ri Fiver: Decision time April 2010

Turns out the Tories and Lib Dems aren’t the only team in town. Jonathan Richards, digital and creative services director at Penna Barkers, and Hugh McQueen, managing director of McQueen Consultancy, put aside agency differences and personal interests to form their own coalition and negotiate their way through the nine candidates for this month’s Ri Fiver.

‘We knew it would difficult. We knew there would be tough decisions ahead. We knew there would be compromises to make. However, as we worked together it became increasingly clear to us that, though there were differences, there was also common ground. Our talks took us into deep negotiations, so we can only apologise for the lateness of our final decisions on who made April’s cabinet winners or opposition bench losers.’

Saudi Aramco

Convincing UK nurses of the benefits of working in Saudi Arabia isn’t the easiest of briefs, so we were expecting great things from this innovative ‘sidekick’ ad. Full marks for the introduction of this device, but the web 1.0 experience behind it – clip-art graphics and pop up text boxes – proved to be its downfall. However, will be interesting to see how this technology is handled in future campaigns.

St. George’s Hospital

Given that trauma nurses predominantly work in chaotic environments, stressful situations, and deal with catastrophic trauma cases, the art direction seemed somewhat at odds with the role. One of only four trauma hospitals in London, we could see the value of employing an unusual visual, although we thought the X-ray treatment was a little too expected. If you’re a Major Trauma Nurse, we suspected you would encounter such injuries as a matter of course. We also weren’t sure it conveyed the variety that apparently makes this role a popular one.

BP Retail

Lots going on here. In fact, too much going on, some of which we felt was a little unnecessary (gallery of a BP store anyone?). Putting ourselves in the applicants’ shoes, we were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content facing us. A simpler, stripped down site, with a clearer hierarchy and user journey would perhaps have helped the site’s core objective – recruiting for careers in retail – to be seen more effectively. Having said that, the content was well written and the profiles section was a nice touch.


We were swung here by the novel approach. Putting an animated ad onto mobile video screens parked in campuses across the UK is a creative approach. It’s well art directed and with good use of After Effects/Motion, but both felt it needed to be at least two and half minutes shorter. We were twitchy after thirty seconds, so would be surprised if graduates gave it any longer. Music was corporately safe, but wondered if the tempo was slightly misplaced? It could also have benefited from some narration or better still, and especially given the location, a degree of interactivity.


Recruiting for customer contact centres appeared to us to have all the allure of a night on the tiles with Tessa Jowell, so there was lots to admire in the way Sky tackled the perception. The strategy of focusing on the staff at their various UK locations through animated profiles – an idea nicely borrowed from Sky Sports footie department – worked well and gave a decent insight into what life there is actually like. All in all a good solid site: easy to navigate, with well-structured content. The only potential criticism was a lack of visual impact given Sky’s rich use of TV graphics but, in its defence, this was probably due to the rigid brand guidelines.


The ‘take a cheeky peek’ simulating live feeds from various T-Mobile offices were cute – something we’d not seen attempted before. All very The Office. We did think the headline ‘Get In On The Action’ could well be seen as a contradiction in terms, but we let that one go. On the whole it’s a good, clear, well structured, well-branded site. You’re certainly never allowed to forget whose site you’re on. It was obvious what roles were on offer and clear where we could apply. Other nice touches included the ‘question-ball’ being ‘thrown’ to each interviewee which is a far better treatment than the ubiquitous talking heads. It conveyed a certain T-Mobile personality and environment, but possibly suffered from a lack of ruthless editing.

Herts Constabulary

We enjoyed this. It’s a good interactive ad executed with style. The flashing ‘Call Waiting’ banner had us clicking to see where it went and the following screens all followed up well. It’s basically everything you’d want from an ad of this type, we just felt it was a shame it was entered in the same month as some other weightier campaigns.

Runner-up: The Audit Commission

Obviously an organisation with an issue around being viewed as dull, bit like poor old Gordon. Substance over style. But here they’ve created a site that is at least very clear with an excellent guide to careers and what to expect. It’s refreshingly honest too which is always a definite plus with a subject matter such as this. The profiles videos are well executed, but like Gordon’s attempts to be jolly and down-with-it, the site – particularly the cartoon characters – sometimes veers off towards the patronising, or at worst, a forced attempt at fun. But hey, let’s not take that away from what we agreed was a very fine effort.

Coalition winner: Haringey

The sheer weight of negative press received in the wake of the Baby Peter report must have made recruiting Health Visitors into Haringey Council a virtually impossible task. Initially we found it difficult to see past the ad’s gritty art direction thinking it would reinforce negative perceptions. What slowly crept up on us though was the way it maturely handled and presented obviously tricky information. We particularly liked the way the campaign didn’t try and hide what had happened, or even claim its problems have been fixed. Its dignified headline ‘A lot has happened in a year’ and supporting copy, invited you to examine the third party findings and make your own mind up about applying. It’s a disarming and quite brave approach, but one that definitely pays off. By no means is this an all-singing, all-dancing campaign, but we thought this was definitely to its credit. In the wrong hands this could have so easily been a disaster. And if there’s an award out there for Toughest Brief of the Year, we thought it should quite possibly win that too.

Ri5 sends special thanks to Hugh McQueen and Jonathan Richards for making an excellent job of judging a brilliant selection of entries. Congratulations go to Tribal and Haringey Council, who win the Ri Fiver for April. Commiserations to those who came close, and thanks to all who entered. Judges for the May competition will be Neil Harding and Steve Paton; closing date is Tuesday 1st June at midnight. Entries please to awards@ri5.co.uk – click here for rules and conditions.


Friday, 30 April 2010

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