|Howard, Merrell & Partners of Raleigh, N.C., produced this spot for Doctors Vision Center.|
|Omnicom Group's Element 79 Partners of Chicago produced this spot, 'Mind Readers,' as part of a $7 million Supercuts campaign.
|Flynn, Sabatino and Day of Cincinnati created this commercial for Fifth Third Bank
|Muller & Co. of Kansas City did this ad for the Kansas City Chiefs.
So, in the interest of balance, here are four commercials from relatively small shops for relatively small clients. They suck, too. (One star for each campaign.)
Doctors Vision Center
> Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C.
"Seen enough commercials featuring $99 eyeglasses, smiling people in fashionable frames and eye Docs in white lab coats to last a lifetime?" the agency asks, awkwardly, in a press release.
Yeah, showing the merchandise and making a quality claim ... that's, like, so been done. So instead Howard Merrell's spots offer little punch lines about what you'd rather not see, such as (prepare for the hilarity) "Hip huggers on a 325-lb. plumber." What a splendid argument for the lab-coat shot -- because, in a parity marketplace, you'd better at least be at parity. Being different for difference's sake is non-productive, unless there is at least an implicit selling point. Here there is none. The agency insists its client is a cut above, but declines to discuss it in the advertising. Hmm, what's the opposite of "visionary?"
> Element 79 Partners, Chicago
These are very funny snippets of less than impressive Supercuts snip-ees, trying to coif their way into attractiveness.
Customer: "Sort of spiky ..."
Cutter: "... in a conservative, I-have-a-job-and-don't-live-in-my parents-basement kinda way?"
Cutter: "Even though you do?"
Customer: "That's right."
Cute. But why make your patrons look like vain and self-deluding idiots? Also, the haircuts look pretty awful. This is one of those rare ads that could actually harm the business.
Fifth Third Bank
> Flynn, Sabatino & Day, Cincinnati
Hey, let's hire a celebrity! We're just a local agency with a small regional bank client, but let's pretend we're big-buck bigshots and have a real movie star!
And let's make it "Mini-Me," from the Austin Powers movies! And let's clumsily dub in a bass voice to make the "low" pitch and his "low" height doubly a flimsy and unwitty way to communicate low home-equity rates! Hey, let's waste even more
Kansas City Chiefs
> Muller & Co., Kansas City, Mo.
See the noisy ruffians running around an otherwise quiet office making a god-awful commotion. Hmmm ... where have we seen that concept before?
At least Reebok's "Terry Tate, office linebacker" campaign is funny, and merely irrelevant to the brand. This unbelievably abrasive commercial defiles the brand. Illustrating the notion that Missourians "need something to cheer for," it's supposed to generate season-ticket sales. And it might.
These shrieking morons are apt to send thousands of fans into the waiting arms of the St. Louis Rams.