When, a few weeks ago, reader Ian Avery read our critical comments about Jaguar’s 'Good to be Bad' advertising campaign – then spotted our subsequent call for readers to present alternatives on the same theme – he never imagined he’d be the one to be invited on a tour of Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich factory, or to see his own ideas brought to life on an ad agency storyboard.
Yet that’s exactly what happened. Avery’s idea was unanimously selected as the wittiest of a crop of proposals that started arriving the day our request went out, whereupon Jaguar’s advertising experts proceeded to take it down the road to reality, as if the idea were their own, presenting the resulting visuals to the author after he’d finishing viewing their showpiece aluminium manufacturing plant.
“I read Steve Cropley’s original blog and understood some of his frustration,” says Avery, a freelance writer and director in his own right. “I’ve always followed Jaguar’s advertising, because Jaguar is the one brand with which I feel an emotional connection. But I appreciated Steve’s point that there was more to the brand than the advertising seemed to convey.
“On the other hand, I really liked the ‘villain’ theme of the TV ads. It seemed to provide a wonderful starting point, and Tom Hiddleston seemed the ideal villain. But I wondered if it could be done directly, with a more original narrative, a lighter touch and maybe a greater injection of wit.”
Avery’s idea was to follow Hiddleston, an evil but engaging character, through a day in which he surreptitiously does bad things while charming everyone he meets along the way. He cheats at cards, holes out at golf by inducing his caddy to kick his ball into the hole, injures a fencing partner with a sharpened foil, cheats an eight-year-old at Connect 4 and later (now in evening dress) casually signals a boxer to throw a fight. You can’t bear his evil works, says Avery, but somehow you can’t help liking him.
At the end of the evening, Hiddleston walks through a deserted car park to his F-type coupe, undoing his bowtie as he goes. The lights flash as he opens the car, and just before he slides into the cockpit he turns to the camera, grins and says: “And they say cheats never prosper…"