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Ad guru Gerry Farrell back after Twitter spat, as rapper fails to please the mob

Gerry Farrell, creative director of the Leith Agency

Gerry Farrell, creative director of the Leith Agency

  • by RORY REYNOLDS
 

A TOP advertising executive suspended over a Twitter outburst has returned to work amid renewed controversy over the television commercial being screened to promote the Christmas season.

Gerry Farrell is back at The Leith Agency following his suspension two weeks ago at the height of the much publicised “Incredinburgh” row.

Now, following his two-week suspension, we can reveal a fresh furore has erupted on social media platforms over a zany voiceover rap his team commissioned for the television advert promoting Edinburgh.

The rap – by an urban collective called Stanley Odd – has today been defended by one of its lead members after attracting comments such as “that rap in the advert for Edinburgh is the worst thing I’ve ever heard!”

One industry insider said: “Gerry Farrell probably just wanted to get back to his desk, but now all this criticism has blown up again.”

Long-standing creative director Mr Farrell, below, headed up the publicly-funded campaign, but was sent home after a public bust-up with city festivals champion Councillor Steve Cardownie.

The 55-year-old – who also masterminded the award-winning Irn-Bru adverts and is regarded by many as Scotland’s top ad man – had dubbed veteran politician “Hissing Steve” on Twitter and accused him of sabotaging the Marketing Edinburgh drive, which Cllr Cardownie denied.

Aspects of the £300,000 campaign – which featured slogans including “romance isn’t deadinburgh” – were dubbed “absolutely appalling” by former city leader Jenny Dawe.

The Leith Agency was unimpressed with Mr Farrell’s behaviour and suspended him on November 2, but yesterday revealed he was back and that it now considered “the matter closed”.

His return has coincided with the new Enjoy Winter in Edinburgh TV advert receiving a mixed response from the public – due in part to a rap by Scots outfit Stanley Odd.

Lead rapper Solareye, real name Dave Hook, 33, said an advert was not something the collective would normally consider, but he said the group was proud to have been involved in promoting Edinburgh.

He said: “There’s a difference between advertising the place where you live and advertising, say, a can of deodorant. We took it as a great compliment that we were asked to be involved. And being paid to do a job helps us to finance other projects.”

Many have lauded the 32-second animated film featuring giant crustaceans shopping on Princes Street and a flying Scott Monument, dubbing it “so funny”, “cute” and “brilliant stuff”.

However, others mocked the rap track which features naff phrases such as “did you hear what I saidinburgh?”, adding “Scottish rapping is awful!”.

The group – who have performed at T in the Park – were approached by Rage Music on behalf of The Leith Agency.

They gave them quite a strict remit when it came to writing the song, including lyrical plays on the phrase “Incredinburgh”.

Solareye said: “There were certain things that we had to mention or allude to, which is pretty difficult to do in a 30-second advert.

The Leith-based rapper, who has lived in Edinburgh for 12 years, added: “People are always going to have strong opinions about the way where they live is represented, but the response we have had to the advert has been very good. There is an extended version which will be put out soon.”

 

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