Editor's Letter

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We've given a fairly thorough account of the ads, the people and the companies that, in our estimation, distinguished themselves in 2005 in our annual Agency of the Year issue. But there are always those people, places and things that get away. Some of them are rounded up here in my resurrected year end Moments list.

The Picks

Yes, CPB's "Fantasy Ranch" is covered in our AOY report, but it's impossible to say too much about this effort, which amply demonstrates that the TV commercial is alive and well and living in a magical land filled with breast-sprouting trees, where onions make you laugh instead.

Performances of note: The kid dancing in the Nike "Style" spot, directed by Malcolm Venville. From the animal kingdom: the fish in Fort Franklin's ESPN Bassmaster Classic campaign. And I'd like to see Ashton Kutcher come close to the nuanced tour de force of menace delivered by the bowling ball in Ground Zero's ESPN PBA Championship campaign.

Hearing from super-sharp design leaders from Motorola, GE, GM and Mini at Creativity's panel at Cannes, particularly GE's Seth Banks who gabbed about everything from the future of diagnostic medicine to redesigning cereal boxes and reminded those in attendance to think extremely big.

That the endless allocution on industry evolution started to yield some interesting action, including the ballyhooed rise of the interesting small shop, some of which have gained some traction.

The arrival of Naked, throwing the media/creative proximity question into sharper relief.

CP+B winning Volkswagen.

The Icks

Arnold losing Volkswagen.

Going to conferences and listening to people who have been touted as what's-it-all-mean-and-where's-it all-going gurus talk about how radically the industry is changing and where it's going, and then show TV spots.

On a related note, meaningless books about the future of marketing. Sisomo? What?? People like sight sound and motion? What an astounding, epoch-defining insight.

The new Miller High Life campaign. As if the passing of one of the all time great ad campaigns, the Errol Morris-directed paeans to living the plain, male and therefore high life, weren't painful enough. We're left with this head-scratcher, which is apparently supposed to appeal to a wider audience but likely just appeals to a small handful of misguided clients (and am I mistaken or did I see a version of this ad that nostalgically harks back to a day when women weren't allowed into bars?) And by the way, what happened to beer advertising in general? With some exceptions, (particularly and predictably European work, and some work for Miller) the work in the category has been a bit skunky.

In '06, we're looking to that other King to come out of exile (banish August Bush from the set) and start making things interesting again.

Happy '06.

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