AC: Sebastian, they say that advertising has the power to sell anything to anybody. Is that true?
SK: Well, by and large. Id say that there isnt much that we couldnt create a successful campaign for. Its mainly all about image.
AC: What do you mean by that?
SK: Everything has an image. I have one and so do you. I project an image of success. People look at me and they say "yes".
AC: And what would you say my image was?
SK: You project a very different image to me. Thats the crucial difference.
AC: Yes but what is it?
SK: Its quite wide. Quite a wide difference.
AC: Are you saying that Im less successful then you?
SK: Well, er, how many houses have you got?
AC: Just the one. Actually its quite small. And a bit crumbly at the edges.
SK: Ive got four.
AC: Lets move on. It seems to me that advertising has changed in recent years. Has that been your experience?
SK: Oh absolutely. These days marketing is highly focussed and slick. If you look back at adverts around a decade ago then youd be amazed at the difference. Also weve got new media to exploit. The internet really will transform advertising. The problem at the moment is trying to get people switched on to it. The whole industry has changed. We create campaigns that are much more direct then ever before.
AC: Im not really sure what you mean by "direct".
SK: Well basically it means the adverts are more upfront.
AC: Right I see. Erm, actually no. No, I dont.
SK: Probably the easiest way to illustrate what Im talking about is to show you. This is the script from an ad that were currently working on.
INT: Supermarket. Day.
NIGELINA and PORTIA are in the feminine hygiene aisle. They are both holding different brands of sanitary towel.
These are absorbent.
But these are more comfortable.
They are interrupted by COURTNEY a supermarket shelf replenishment operative. She is holding a packet of Supasorb.
Here slap one of these on your fanny! They absorb womb linings really well AND theyre comfortable to wear!
And the double-sided tape really anchors it to your knickers. No more slippage!
New Supasorb. Only Dracula sucks up blood better.
SK: So what do you think? Amanda Burton is going to play Portia.
AC: It. Er, yes. Direct.
SK: And did you notice how we worked in the reference to Dracula? Thats a very important tool that we use. Pop-culture references are very popular at the moment. The idea is to try and link the product with something that the public already have an image of in their minds. As I said, image is everything.
AC: Isnt it a bit offensive though? Not to mention graphic.
SK: Yes but people like that these days. They dont want to be soft-soaped. Remember the advert for toilet paper, "as recommended by arseholes"? That was one of ours.
AC: One of your current projects is the campaign for the remake of Planet of the Apes. How is that going?
SK: In general its going very well. There have been one or two small hitches but nothing major.
AC: What hitches were those?
SK: Well one thing that we always do is put up billboard posters all over the country. Unfortunately there was a printing error and 20,000 posters were erected advertising a film called Planet of the Grapes. We had them all taken down and replaced with the proper version so there was no harm done. Oh and a guy did get shot.
SK: Yes. It was silly really. Wed come up with this wheeze that wed get actors to dress as gorillas and run around some public places. Shopping centres and parks that type of thing. Unfortunately one guy was running around Hyde Park and we didnt know until it was too late that theyd called in a police marksman to try and recapture what they thought was a stray gorilla. I blame myself really.
AC: Well it was your idea.
SK: Look its not my fault if people over-react is it? Its as bad as that thing with the Andrex puppy.
AC: What thing with the Andrex puppy?
SK: We were hired to update the image of Andrex. It was seen as being rather old fashioned and frumpy. We tried to zizz it up a bit.
AC: "Zizz it up". Is that a technical term?
SK: It is now. Anyway, you know how the Andrex puppy is always running around the house tied up in toilet roll? Well our idea was that the owner of the house would finally snap as they went to wipe their bottom and the bloody dog had run off with the loo roll yet again. So then theyd microwave the little bastard. It was all done in a very tongue in cheek way. But you should have heard the complaints.
AC: The Daily Mail called it "the sickest advert ever made" didnt they?
SK: Yes. Questions were even asked in parliament.
AC: That must have been a very draining experience for you.
SK: Not really. I just buggered off to my house in Switzerland until all the fuss had blown over.
AC: Whats the secret of a really good movie campaign?
SK: Its got to be something that grabs the attention. Its got to get people talking. For the next Bond film were going to get Pierce Brosnan to ski down the Millennium Dome blindfolded. And naked. It takes a certain kind of mind to think of this kind of stuff. You have to be creative. Can you tie a product into the film? We did that for Scream - we had a tie-in campaign with a carving knife manufacturer. Burger King did a Pearl Harbour promotion the Flame-Grilled Tokyo Burger. Its all lateral thinking.
AC: Sebastian Kilmer, thank you.