A SURE THING? HUNGER PANGS HAVE ONE ANSWER: SNICKERS SATISFIES: PACKAGE GOODS

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Snickers: "Optometrist," :30

BBDO, New York

@radical.media, Frank Todaro, director

Hungry? Why wait for another grocery product to win this category? Have a Snickers and give up. For the third year in a row, a Snickers spot has been selected as an Ad Age Best TV Spot. Last year it was the riotously funny "Eternity" ad, where souls waiting to gain admission to the gates of Heaven pass what passes for time in that dimension. This year they've tapped the old gag of the umpire needing eyeglasses. A long-suffering but patient optometrist deals with an optimistic patient, a ref who keeps seeing cows on the letter chart. "No, there are no cows," the doctor says gently in a deft bit of underacting. Meanwhile, his assistant looks outside the examination room to see a dozen officials of various sorts in the waiting room.

We've come to look forward to these Snickers spots now, waiting for the comic twist that always shows up right before the obligatory shot of someone taking a big chomp out of a super-sized bar. We buy the strategy -- that Snickers satisfies your between-meal hunger -- and we don't question that it might be better to just have a piece of fruit. As long as we're going to splurge on something with 13 grams of fat, we might as well be entertained in the process, and this campaign has managed to do this brilliantly for three years in a row.

RUNNER-UP

Cracker Jack: "Sizes," :30

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners,

San Francisco

Headquarters, Joe Public, director

It's always nice to see new life breathed into an old brand, and that's what GS&P has done with this venerable treat. To promote a new party-sized package they've taken the concept to a ridiculous extreme.

A giant bag of Cracker Jack squashes an old man at a sports stadium, knocks grocery items off the top shelf of a store, smashes into the top of a garage door and, in the best comic vignette, contains a really super-sized prize of a pony.

In most cases people in the spot respond to the sight of it by saying "that's a really big bag," delivered in the same deadpan style that the line "that's a really big bun" was uttered in the famous Clara Peller "Where's the beef?" Wendy's spot from the 1980s.

No radical breakthrough in strategy here -- it's not like they've suddenly discovered that eating the product lowers your cholesterol levels -- but this work helps take Cracker Jack out of the "classic commercials" library and puts

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