The first Fiver of 2008

Our two eminent judges, Phil Welch of Euro RSCG Riley and Russell Upton of ThirtyThree, are both writers. They decided that, to ensure even-handedness, they would call on independent observers to add their views to the mix...

R: Phil?
P: Yes, Russell.
R: I'm worried
P: Why's that?
R: Well, what with us both being writers, there's a danger this month's judging will lack the more rounded appreciation a copywriter/art-director combo might bring.
P: Oh, I don't think so. But perhaps we should ask some passers-by to give us their gut reactions anyway. You know, as an interesting counterpoint to our own incisive, expert analyses.
R: Good idea. Let's get to it.

P: First up, Norwich Union. And not enough words for my liking.
R: Yep, could definitely do with more words.
P: Let's ask that nice Scottish girl behind the bar.
NSGBTB: Well, the media does a pretty good job of targeting young mums (although I still can't quite believe Celeb Babies Magazine actually exists!). So I'm not sure the ad itself needs to be quite so blunt. It also feels to me like the creative team came up with an idea but then couldn't be bothered to follow it through. Personally, I'd have stuck with one letter - "F is for flexitime. It's also for fun and fantastic support". Something like that. Or else worked something out for ABC. But JFSN? It seems a bit lazy to me.
R: Ooo, get her!
P: Some people are just too big for their boots.

R: Speaking of which, Boots are up next and this one's got a decent slab of copy.
P: Yeah, much better. A couple of good-sized paragraphs. I wonder what the fella who runs the newsagent thinks.
FWRTN: The cute headline seems consistent with the homely feel of the Boots brand. But surely the product could have been used more imaginatively? The real stumbling block for me, however, is the inexplicably worthy selling point. Are buyers really more interested in "improving customers' lives" than working with an exciting range of products and having a hefty budget to play with? I have my doubts, gents.
P: He thinks it needs more copy, doesn't he?
R: He could be right, you know. Okay, what about Vodafone?

P: Short on wordage.
R: I reckon so, but what's the verdict of the man-on-the-street. Or rather that traffic warden dishing out tickets.
TWDOT: I can see there's a really strong thought behind these ads about letting the internet speak for itself. But, to my mind at least, it all gets rather lost in the execution. Of the two, the telescope has the more engaging headline and the more interesting visual. Interestingly, there's no mention of media but I'm assuming these are press ads. Which begs the question, shouldn't an ad for Online Specialists run, well... online?

P: Whatever. Now, Russ, what do you reckon to this ad for Games Workshop?
R: Well, what little copy there is, is alright.
P: It just needs more, I totally agree. Quick, before the lights change, collar that kid on the red scooter.
KOTRS: There's been a real swing in recent years towards the use of illustration in recruitment ads. And generally speaking, I'm all for it. But, in this instance, I can't help thinking that a good, gritty photo would have had more impact. The copy does a good job of appealing to the right people, but the headline could work a little harder too. Not a bad effort though. Not bad at all.
P: He thinks it needs more copy too.

R: Clearly. Now look at these drop-down banners for HBOS. Notice anything?
P: They've barely got any copy at all!
R: The audacity of it. Let's get a view from the fat bloke in the vest hanging off that scaffolding.
FBITV: Not the most original of sells, but the creatives have tackled it in an interesting way. The use of animals to illustrate the point is neat - and sound gives these banners a further lift. Ultimately, though, these banners look like works in progress. The illustrations lack polish and the copy could have been tighter. And I can't help feeling the sense of fun ran out when it came to the instructions - why, for instance, does the dog say ‘roll over me' and not just ‘roll over'? With a little more love these ads could have been great.

P: Blah blah blah. Check out this ad for Kent County Council.
R: What's going on with all that white space?
P: I know. They could have filled it with lots and lots of lovely words. I dread to think what the little old lady on that bench would make of it.
LOLOTB: I like this ad a lot. You see, it's a commercial role - and it's got to do with parks.I like the fact that someone has actually sat down and thought about their proposition. And then come up with an idea that combines parks and business. The art direction's rather nice, too. And it's refreshing to see a public sector client run an ad with such short copy. But, if you ask me, its success has as much to do with good account handling and a good brief as good creative work.
P & R: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Congratulations to all involved.

Ri5 thanks all who entered and congratulates Tribal Resourcing and its client, Kent County Council, who win the Ri Fiver for January 2008. Commiserations to Hodes, TCS and Work. And finally, thanks to Phil Welch and Russell Upton, and of course to their assortment of volunteers, for both some wise words and enjoyable contributions.

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 (

Judges for February Ri Fiver will be Simon Russell of Work Communications and Rob Walker of Barkers. We are delighted to reunite Rob and Simon, who worked together and won dozens of awards at the very wonderful Battersea-based Media System, in the late 80s/early 90s. Closing date for entries will be Friday, 29th February, 2008.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

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