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Discover-ing too much in ad

Discover Financial Services made a frontal assault on the credit card market with its new campaign (AA, Nov. 20), but it wasn't planning to go full frontal. The credit card's latest spot, "Love Rocket," features a "Behind the Music" parody following the rise and fall of Danger Kitty, an '80s one-hit-wonder band whose members lose their shirts. But it was missing pants that Adages noticed when freeze-framing a shot of a band member jumping into hot tub. It appeared the member was showing his member. Client and agency assure Adages there was no exposure involved. Creatives at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, say the actor was wearing a bathing suit. "We filmed it in a public place" in front of Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel, says Paul Venables, co-creative director. "There's no nudity. He's wearing something. Maybe you just don't see it." That may have been because the black Speedo, combined with shadows and the man pulling up his knees in midair, may give a different impression. Agency Prez Jeff Goodby says he, too, looked at the tape and vouches for the Speedo story. But he jokes that there was a "second jumper who comes out of the bushes who is nude."

Holidaze tale: Blitzened deer

Some ad creative is truly ageless -- take the case of a drunken Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The Michigan Food & Beverage Association uses the image of Santa pulling a sleigh, while a red-nosed deer rides, for its holiday anti-drunken-driving push. Tom Helland, associate creative director at FCB Worldwide, Southfield, Mich., created the poster . . . in the mid-1980s as a pro-bono assignment when he was a junior art director at Young & Rubicam, Detroit. Now it's back, with the message just as relevant. Helland's memory was jarred with the mention of Santa pulling a sleigh. "And he's pulling a blitzed reindeer," Helland recalls.

Might crackers be better alternative?

McDonald's may find no communion with the Catholic Church in Italy. Massimo Salani, a professor at the Catholic Center for Theological Studies in Pisa, has written an editorial in Avvenire, one of several bishop's newspapers, arguing that hamburgers and French fries lacked "the communitarian aspect of sharing" and were better left to "atheists and even Protestants . . . than to serious Catholics." Salani wrote that he knew U.S. society well and wasn't anti-American, but added that McDonald's has "completely forgotten the holiness of food" and suggested that Catholics seek out other alternatives for their meals. McDonald's was at best "in line with Lutheran thought, which [promotes] an individual relationship with God" as opposed to the communal relationship taught by the Vatican. Coincidentally -- or perhaps not coincidentally -- Italy is in the midst of an anti-globalization backlash, and protests against McDonald's have been a big part of it. A spokesman for McDonald's declined to comment on Salani's remarks, but the burger giant has issued an official statement on the subject, saying, "We cater to all religions and nationalities, because consumers' tastes vary according to religion and nationality." A spokesman for Leo Burnett Co., which handles McDonald's advertising in Italy, says there are no plans to address the Italian situation in McDonald's advertising.

Got an Adage? Tell Dan by phone, (312) 280-3109; fax, (312) 649-5331; or e-mail, dlippe @crain.com.