Company: OutlookSoft, Stamford, Conn. Agency: DiNoto Lee, New York Market: Chief executives Chase: Dark, funereal, foreboding. That's what blue and gray letters on a pitch black background will get you. If that's how OutlookSoft, a maker of performance management software, wants to show its face to the world, so be it. But it didn't leave us in a very positive frame of mind. The all-cap, italic text set against the dark of night wasn't exactly inviting, either. We were also confused about the brand. The headline says: "Predictable Inc. thinks your methods are quaint," but the logo says OutlookSoft. After clicking on www.predictableinc.com, we learn that it's not a real company but a hypothetical one set up so that OutlookSoft can underscore the benefits of its software. Clue: OK, now we get it. But OutlookSoft assumes everyone who sees the ad will visit the special Web site to make the connection. Maybe not.
Company: FedEx, Memphis, Tenn. Agency: BBDO, New York Market: Shipping, logistics managers Chase: Where is the world's most populous country and one of its most vibrant emerging markets? Don't ask Bill, the guy in a hilarious FedEx spot who's asked by his expansion-minded boss to drive a push-pin into China on a wall map of the world. His first stab lands on Russia; the next on Greenland. "You have no idea where China is, do you, Bill?" the boss asks. Fearing further embarrassment, Bill falls toward the map, tearing it to the ground. Amid the levity, there's a benefit expressed: FedEx has been in China for 20 years and can help any company with the logistics there. Clue: At least this "Wrongway" Corrigan was in the right hemisphere.