The Buzz

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Behold the Power of Cheesy

Coming soon to an e-mail near you is the Cheezy Guy Film festival, the latest extension of an online campaign for Kraft Cheez Whiz via JWT/Chicago. Cheezy Guy emcees the series of 30-second flicks (directed by Propaganda's Charles Wittenmeier and distributed via e-mail). The first installment trails the adventures of The Mullet Brothers, twin slicksters who slum around in an El Camino with fuzzy dice and a green shag carpet. All films link to Cheezy Guy's loungey webpad (cheezyguy.com), where the Will Vinton creation gives visitors interior design tips. Before Cheezy guy came along, it was hard to create an online presence for the iconic cheese spread. Cheezy Guy's website and film fest provide a platform for subtle marketing of a not-so-subtle product, says JWT copywriter Greg Oreskovich: "We never would have used the internet if we just had Cheez Whiz."

Port-folly-o

Searching for a job? Your prospects look excellent. According to a study from The Creative Group, a Menlo Park, Calif., placement service, your competitors are a few sketches short of a full portfolio, if you get our drift. Ad executives report on some of the strange work they've seen in candidates' portfolios, and the list includes a parakeet, a pair of pants and socks, and some freeze-dried food. Sorry, PETA activists, they don't mention the fate of the parakeet.

International Anthem

One way to assure recognition for your work in commercials is to contribute to a spot that ends up in the Guinness Book of World Records. Ford's two-minute "Global Anthem" was recognized this fall as the most widely released commercial in history. The anthem itself, sung by vocal prodigy Charlotte Church, was the brainchild of Melbourne composer Danny Beckerman. "They were going to use the Beatles song `Hello, Goodbye', so I arranged that and then thought, well, they're going to pay a lot of money for the copyright so I could just write one of my own," remembers Beckerman. The result is the centerpiece of Ford's award-winning millennial farewell spot. Beckerman has joined Detroit's Yessian Music and fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving to Detroit - well, Detroit was not specifically in the dream, he admits. "I've just always wanted to be in the U.S."

Alive with Sarcasm

Everyone has a personal entry in the Least Favorite Ad category, and for Marc Sobier, an art director at Moffatt Rosenthal in Portland, Ore., the hands-down winner has always been Newport cigarettes, an account currently held by Bozell. "I think Newport is known as some of the most horrible advertising ever," Sobier says. When he and partner Hart Rusen were asked to produce a video to kick off the local Rosie Awards show, they decided to lampoon the Newport "Alive with Pleasure" campaign. The resulting mockumentary features two young creatives earnestly discussing the Newport legacy, shuffling through headshots and explaining the criteria for being a Newport model (a manic look seems to be the common denominator). They even show off a hanging Newport mobile that's supposed to keep babies fascinated. The video, which will be revived for a film festival in Winston-Salem, can be viewed at www.moffattrosenthal.com/alive.

Quick Wit

When it comes to making fun of Americans, Europeans are usually up to the task. Fittingly, the first agency to capitalize on the post-election mess was Publicis Amsterdam. On behalf of its client Capacity, a job recruitment agency, Publicis cuts through the incessant chad discussions to ask, "You guys ever thought of job sharing?" CD Victor Silvis and AD Peter Clercx put the ad together in less than 48 hours. "We had this client only since last Monday," says Silvis. "We made the ad on Wednesday and at 9 p.m. we brought it to the Telegraaf [the country's biggest newspaper] so it could run Thursday morning." Silvis' speed paid off; he is now proud to be the trendsetter in election debacle advertising: "There were more ads, but days later and of course much less funny," he jokes.

Alt Career

Art directors, illustrators and photographers are expected to be obsessed with design. Commercials producers, on the other hand, are better known for pragmatism than creativity. Not so for Nick Felder, the co-founder of a new design annual. Felder, a producer with a history at Chiat/Day, Deutsch and McCann, left Cliff Freeman on April Fools' Day of this year to partner with architect pal Kyle Bergman and start the magazine Alt Spec, an annual publication for designers and architects. "In advertising we have Workbook, but the architecture and design community doesn't have that," explains Felder. "Kyle was bitching to me about the lack of credible resource material, and thus began the discussion." The magazine will premiere in June 2001 and already employs 20-odd people. Felder hopes that the magazine's launch will kick off a new, successful career; at the very least, its publication will clarify some things for his old colleagues. "I didn't want to count my chickens or jinx myself, so I told them I was leaving to be a freelancer," he laughs.

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