A couple of weeks ago I had an interview with M&C Saatchi. Now the great thing about advertising interviews is that point before them, when you know as much as possible about that agency (in theory at least). You ‘revise’ by watching adverts, scour the internet for interesting intepretations on certain ads, find those brands viewed with ‘respect’ (a big thumbs up if something goes viral), and even better with rewards (hello canneslions.com); and look for that niche ‘challenger brand’ which it would be “rewarding working with”. In other words, I over-prepare and become a walking, four-eyed X-Factor commercial break – complete with company information and a list of “skills I could bring to the team”. However, my true crisis point comes at the interview itself – in this case, I was a victim to the caffeine-overload. Energy boosted by coffee AND adrenaline, I was a fountain of words – the bad news being that, without that crucial moment of time where you think before you speak, I was lost. An over-enthuisastic graduate picking fights with a Hyundai ad (quite literally). However, to use a cliche, the interview was not a complete loss – even if I have to face viewing M&C Saatchi’s work everyday on the tube (TFL is one of their clients).
One of things I benefited from the interview was a wide appreciation of their work and how their strategy “the brutal simplicity of thought” gets into the crux of everything they do. One particular example, and a favourite of mine, is their advert for Let’s Kick Racism Out of Football, produced in 2002.
What “Dear White Fella” shows is that race is simply a colour, and ergo there is no logical justification behind being racist. Rather, as the ad demonstrates, judging someone on their “colour” is the exact opposite – illogical and somewhat bizarre (deserved of the poet and narrator Benjamin Zephaniah’s laughter), with the whole effect heightened by the use of monochrome film as the two men appear exactly the same. I also like how this advert so clearly plays to the sentiments of the British football fan – the music ringing patriotically in the background and the strength behind the characters (no sign of emotion, how typically English), two men that England would be proud to have. There is no blame, only a complete destroyal of the ‘reason’ behind racism – brutal simplicity at its best.