Wednesday, September 10, 2008

St Luke's

A reader writes: "Have St Luke's ever, I mean EVER done a good ad? Like properly good. It's worth a post, Scampy."

Well, it's certainly true that one doesn't hear much about St Luke's nowadays. Are they any good? Have they ever been?

(comments from earlier thread moved across)

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have St Luke's ever, I mean EVER done a good ad? Like properly good. It's worth a post, Scampy.

They say we've never won an award because we never enter, but production companies enter anything they think is good.

Anonymous said...

St Lukes

Boots No.7 'Ammunition' campaign. Didn't they do that? years ago though.

George said...

Didn't St. Lukes do some pretty funny Clarks stuff before it went to AMV? Life's a catwalk was brilliant - was that them?

Anonymous said...

St lukes - Clarks, life's a catwalk stuff. Loads of amazing ikea.

Anonymous said...

'has St.Lukes has ever done any good ads?'

Not many recently.

But if you go back to the first 5 or 6 years of St.Lukes...
Boots No7 'Be Extraordinary not Ordinary' colours campaign directed by tomato is one of my favorite campaigns ever. Also, other work that stands out was Clarks 'Act your show size not your age', Radio One 'as it is', Ikea - chuck out your chintz and several other subsequent campaigns like the one that linked furniture tastes with personality traits. Or the one that announced IKEA were banning people with facial hair from its Nottingham store. Or the Glasgow store opening campaign. The Clarks Go walking this weekend prints ads. The Erik Cantona Eurostar ad. The BT Broadband burst pipe campaign.
If you do a bit of research, you'll discover that some of the most original and freshest work of the start of the decade came from St.Lukes. Oh, and S.lukes were very strict on not letting production companies that they worked with enter awards either.

Anonymous said...

I'm still not that impressed. They have a reputation way beyond their work. Half the stuff you mentioned is decent, 7.5/10 stuff and definitely no 10s. Chuck out your chintz was awful and Burst Pipe truly dire.

It's about opinions, eh?

And why would they be strict in that way with production companies? I thought the issue was the waste of money, and if they wanted the entire place credited, it would have been fine to enter it under St Luke's. AND there's an Ikea campaign in D&AD from a few years ago, so not that strict after all. I think the work was entered and no one gave a fuck. It seems the most likely explanation. After all, the Boots colours might have got in but little else.

And now they are truly dire.

Anonymous said...

You're right, it is a mater of opinion when there is no official recognition i.e awards.

But let me put it another way, can you suggest another agency in london, who's creative work, across such a broad range of clients, had as bigger impact on the industry between 2000- 2005?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

But let me put it another way, can you suggest another agency in london, who's creative work, across such a broad range of clients, had as bigger impact on the industry between 2000- 2005?

Ok, Al, calm down you wacky thing you.

Anonymous said...

5.36. Mother?

Anonymous said...

Checking our opinions out for a possible creative directorship are we Scamp?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scamp said...

Nope. Just responding to reader demand.

Anonymous said...

Better 2000-2005 agencies?

Obviously, BBH, Wiedens, Fallon, AMV. Over that period I can't really name any St Luke's ads, so I guess all the other agencies in the UK.

What's this 'wide range' stipulation? St Luke's so one 'trick' of nicey-nicey that they've replicated over all their accounts to general indifference/boredom. Really, just look at the actual ads. One blah after another. One style and we all got bored. Clients got bored. It should slink off to a corner of Euston and die quietly.

Oh, it already is.

vf said...

I can imagine that Scamp would love to leave the land of Levis, Barnados and Audi for the land of...what accounts do they have now? Anyone?

Karmarama's shit too. And all the Saatchis work that's come out under Stanners. Anyone see a pattern?

Matt Law said...

It's old, but London needs biscuits for Fox's was excellent. "This is a dark, unforgiving place... this is London".

Anonymous said...

I loved their Clarks "Preston is my Paris" etc. campaign. And it actually made me go into a Clarks store to see if their shoes were as good as the advertising (alas, no such luck).

But I did go in, and I'm a big shoe snob.

Anonymous said...

5.29

Yeah that Boots campaign around colours was brilliant.

Essentially they were very, very good for quite a while.

What I liked was they often did quite subtle, tonally astute advertising. Sophisticated like.

They went kaput creatively a long time ago though.

Anonymous said...

the tattooed man for ikea was good. and the ikea 'opening late' campaign.

Anonymous said...

I think they were agency of the year in 1996. They must have been doing something right. But that is a fucking long time ago.

I have this general impression that the work was of the standard an AMV or BBh of the time would consider their 'B' work. Not great but good enough for a punt if the jury's in a good mood.

This century? I'd rather have Leo Burnett's reel.

Anonymous said...

What it did do was introduce a unique tone of voice into advertising that didn't exist before.

Its easy to judge the work by todays standard and call it 'B' rate but at the time it was distinctive and like nothing else coming out of any other agency. Save perhaps HHCL to a lesser degree. Of course the style was quickly copied and so now appears less surprising. It wasn't afraid to explore different untested ways for brands to connecting to consumers strategically and executionally. And like any true pioneer didn't always get it right, And its work often wouldn't chime with the creative fraternity. But it never sought to win over award juried, that was never its aim. I actually think advertising is much more interesting for St.Lukes. Allbeit brief intervention. And, I would also be so bold as to suggest it fundamentally changed the way ad agencies work with clients and created the blue print for the modern agency. I think for example it opened up the doors for agencies like Mother.

Gooze said...

Just don't make the mistake of going to scamp.blogspot.com...

Anonymous said...

10.03

I agree 100%.

Ferris said...

When I was doing the placement rounds a few years back, we used to go and see two lovely chaps there with our book, Colin and Seyoan. There always seemed to be a great vibe about the place and I always really admired the agencies work for Clark's and Ikea, and more...always great, fresh thinking.

As far as I know, the reason they don't enter awards (and the same reason Karmarama don't) is because creative teams end up doing work purely to win awards and therefore not for the good of the client..so doing work they think/know the awards juries will like, rather than what is right for the brand.

I think...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, their methodology might have been interesting (a bit hit-and-miss but fair's fair) but the ads were still pretty whatever.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, their methodology might have been interesting (a bit hit-and-miss but fair's fair) but the ads were still pretty whatever.

Anonymous said...

10.45.

Did that work out for them? The other agencies who do enter awards did, on average, better work. Just proves that doing work to win awards can/does result in great cut-through and memorability. So if that was the idea, it was a crap one.

Anonymous said...

10:45 PM

That was one reason.

Other reasons, as it was explained to me, were...

1) To win award, the work must generally adhere to a set of established rules and standards. It was felt that by factoring awards out of the equation, creatives would feel more liberated and free to be truely origial in their approach.

2) Most Awards only recognise the creative team. Yet the way St.Lukes worked (that being the project team system - a quartet of a planner, account man, art director, copywriter.) it was unfair to credit just two member of the team responsible for the work.

3) The company was run as a co-operative. Which meant everyone had an equal financial the agency. Awards cost a lot of money to enter. So again, why should receptionists and TV producers and art buyers and Account men pay so that creatives can get awards?

You could argue that awards benefit the agency in the way of creating new business oppurtunity, and therefore benefits everyone indirectly. Hwver, during its hey day, St.Lukes had no shortage of new business approaches so this argument didn't hold much weight.

Infact, the fact that the agency was very vocal about not entering awards, probably gained it just as many column inches as winning some awards would have done! And of course it was another USP which set it apart from its competition.

Anonymous said...

"Karmarama's shit too."

yes. yes. yes. ooooh yesssss.

it's kind of sad what has happened to 'dramarama.' they had potential but the fallout of their founders, the relocation into nowhere and the nintendo gunk... yeah, they are dead.

but it's fun to read their blog. makes them sound sooo much nicer than they are. especially dave.

Anonymous said...

11.12,

Someone else mentioned that production companies weren't allowed to enter either, which might explain, to a small degree, why better production companies wouldn't want to work with them.

I think the whole thing sounded like a glorious, fun, masturbatory experiment that didn't work out and was smaller than the sum of its parts/hype.

But hats off to the newness.

Anonymous said...

30 comments? pfff
boring post.

still think what 'juan cabral' do is much better topic.

Anonymous said...

anon 11.12
The creatives had to work with a suit and a planner?
HAW HAW!

Anonymous said...

Off topic, sorry but I just had to post this:

http://www.rte.ie/arts/gorilla_webchat.html

do you think that was juan?

Anonymous said...

btw, that happened yesterday.

Anonymous said...

not sure... one thing is for sure, who else would mention winning the Grand Prix at Cannes? the client? yeah, right.

mark 'I'm on the jury' denton said...

I'm sorry I missed the Dave Trott post on Tuesday. When I was a youngster GGT was the only place to work.

If you weren't around at the time it's probably hard to imagine just how revolutionary they were (two of the three examples that were put up didn't help much).

They were like the 'Busby Babes" of advertising. I wanted to work there so much it hurt.

Some years later we 'borrowed' a lot of GGT's ways of working when we set up simons palmer DENTON etc.

......Anyway, St Lukes.

I directed a 'Neeew Shoooes' Clarks campaign for Nick Simons a few years back. It was a very enjoyable experience, and I can't remember any resistance when it came to entering them for awards.

I was really proud of them but they didn't win anything.

It's probably because I wasn't on the jury that year.

Anonymous said...

St Lukes always have been:

Strategiclly - 10 out or 10

Executionally - 6 out of 10

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mark 'revealer of the bullshit' Denton.

By the way, has anyone read Pamela Stephenson's sex advice column in the Guardian today?

Question: My partner can keep going for a long time, but almost never reaches orgasm. The result? Discomfort for me and he ends up draining a bottle of Chareau de Frustration...

Isn't that just priceless? Sorry it's not about St Luke's. I can make it about St Luke's. They speant a while pouring Chateau de Hype for everyone. Everyone realised it was it was actually Chateau de Bullshit and now they're drinking Chateau de Dying Shithole.

Would anyone from St Luke's like to comment or have they instigated a new rule this week where email is to be replaced by carrier pigeons.

Anonymous said...

St. Lukes were always HHCl Lite. And look what happened to HHCL.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe someone thinks Chuck out yer chintz was awful...that depresses me.

quim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
quim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lunar BBDO said...

The only funny thing about Chuck Out Your Chintz was the Frank Skinner spoof, Chuck Out Your Chimps.

I was working at Y&R when the agency of the year call was made. My boss, Mike Cozens (2 D&AD golds), immediately wrote a letter to Campaign asking why the agency that produced Blackcurrant Tango wasn't agency of the year, while the agency that produced Chuck Out Your Chintz was. To their credit, Campaign did print it.

Ah, 1996...happy times.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the Fallon creative grad in today's campaign? Perhaps he should have waited until after the Croatia game to trot out the tired old England's crap at football line.

j said...

when you don't enter for awards, you fall off the radar. You will be surprise how much clients value D&AD, Cannes and even one show.. and oh, creative circle.

Anonymous said...

11.05

I agree, Chuck Out Your Chintz was great.

Though not as great a Blackcurrant Tango.

Bifidus Digestiquim said...

It's only adverts loves.

Anonymous said...

re J at 12.44

That is utter rubish and you know it.

Anonymous said...

you are.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm Not sure about The Busby Babes analogy Mark. Didn't quite a lot of them perish in a hideous plane crash? Even the worst beating up at a creative review with Trotty can't have been quite that gruesome. Could it?

m denton esq said...

Oh!.....yeah!..........I forgot about the plane crash.

I meant the collection of youngsters that became a world beating team (before the plane crash).

sorry.

Anonymous Tom said...

Well done Scamp, very funny post. They're right, St.Luke's is no longer the creative force it once was, but it did do some pretty good work in the early days. But I do sympathise with them, it was done off their own backs, not with some nice sugar daddy in the background helping them out like Weidens or Fallons, so it's sad how it's panned out. And remember all companies have bad patches. BBH is hardly in a purple patch creatively is it? I'm sure John Hegarty or even Mike '2Golds' Cousins would be really proud of the great work done for Woolworths/ British Airways/ Natwest/ Flora. etc etc.
As for Anonymous who is posting at 2.48 in the morning. Poppers and blogging doesn't work.