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Sch… you know who

Posted by Will Hudson,

Advertising agency Mother London are currently working on an ongoing campaign for Schweppes. Inspired by 18th century artist and pictorial satirist William Hogarth the plan is to release a new advert referencing current affairs every two weeks. We caught up with Josh Engmann and Kyle Harman-Turner, the creatives at Mother London who are behind the campaign to find out more.

With the adverts being produced every few weeks how does the process work of deciding which story to cover?

We start out with editorial meetings every two weeks. They include the client, creatives, strategists, the PR agency and the media company. During the meetings we discuss what’s in the news, possible trends and upcoming events. From there we put together a calendar and a shortlist of potential stories to satirize. Essentially, working this way gives us the opportunity to sit around reading newspapers and gossiping about celebrities on a Monday morning. Myself and Josh are now bigger Heat magazine buffs than the girls in the office.

Is this a response to the Blog/Twitter attitude of updating minute by minute reports, just on a much grander scale? Or was it just the most suitable solution for the campaign?

We were never too conscious of the campaign being a response to that culture, in its simplest form we’re trying to continue Schweppes’ history of satirizing current affairs. Though, we were looking to do this in an original way that would be different to conventional print ads. There are probably parallels to be drawn, people want to be updated more and more, whether its on blogs, Facebook or news about Obama’s new dog. What’s important is that each update is as engaging as possible, which is what we’ve tried to do. Having media space to fill every week with a fresh cartoon is scary, but it’s a great challenge.

One of the medias we did discuss was political cartoons. They’ve become a bit of a forgotten media. People often turn the page because they have such a small section, and we thought that was a shame. We wanted to bring it back to life, because when you consider the quick turn around they’re actually really smart.

Do you think it’s important that advertising relates to current affairs?

Advertising doesn’t necessarily have to relate to current affairs, but when it does, it is naturally going to stand a better chance of being of interest to people. For Schweppes, relating to current affairs is vital to this campaign, but it’s a good thing to consider in any advertising, it just helps make your message feel more relevant to people.

Willam Hogarth, the artist referenced for the piece is renowned for his work Beer Street and Gin Lane, slightly ironic that he is now a key influence in advertising a soft drink?

Yeah there is a slight irony, what’s funny is that this campaign was never intended to be about any Schweppes product in particular. But, if you look closely in every drawing you’ll find a hidden Gin and Tonic.

And finally, what news story would you love to see up on the billboards and in the newspapers?

A Michael Jackson theme would be great, but I’m not sure how we’d get something like that past the client. It is really frustrating when we have some really nice ideas that cant go through because legally they’re just not possible. For example, when Jacqui Smith’s husband was found to be expensing pornography, we reacted and had an execution drawn up and ready to go within 48 hours. Just when we thought we’d got it through, the newspapers refused to run it as they thought it to be too offensive. We’ll keep trying so watch this space.

Illustrated by David Hopkins. To keep up to date on all the latest ads check out the dedicated blog (link below).

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Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.