Garfield's Bobby Awards

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Before we bestow the coveted Bobby Awards for the best acting performances of 2005, AdReview wishes, after 20 years in this space, to bid a fond farewell. Not to you, for crying out loud. We have bills to pay. We're stuck in this job until at least 2047. No this farewell is to drama-which, outside the odd billing scandal or hostile holding-company takeover, has all but ceased, in advertising, to exist. The extensive nomination process for the Bobbys reminds us that advertising video is now all comedy and special effects all the time. This is bad, because drama is often quite dramatic. But we suppose this is also good, because we like to laugh. This year's Bobby nominees made us laugh.


The Miller Lite TV/Web campaign (Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami) isn't great. But the spots are more than amusing, and a lot of the credit goes to Troy Hull, who plays the prosecutor in the taste case against Bud Light. He's disorganized, not

entirely presentable and basically semi-adult in demeanor-i.e., the ideal spokesman for the beer drinkers' credo. Note his especially uncourtroomlike body language. A hoot.

Kudos, as well, to Del Pentecost, as the guy in the bear suit in a spot for Dasani (Anomaly, New York) bottled water. It must be hard to retain your dignity while dressed up as a bear and talking about how you tend to foul natural mountain

waters, but this guy pulls it off. His deadpan sells the gag.

The same goes for Jim Gaffigan, one of the Mist-Takes, the ad hoc improve ensemble that fronts for Sierra Mist ( BBDO, New York). When he explains why his paper beats scissors in a game of rock-paper-scissors-a ridiculous argument made apparently in dead earnest-you can't believe this is a made-for-30-second-spot production.

The Capital One credit card campaign (McCann-Erickson, New York, succeeded by DDB, Chicago) starring noted smart-ass David Spade has gone from obnoxious and funny to obnoxious and unfunny. But that takes nothing from Nate Torrence, who plays the ingenuous, chubby trainee who wants to please but has difficulty saying "no" to customers. When he shows he's catching on, by replying to "Marco" with "Pol-no," one second's worth of gesturing make the whole spot.

But in a decision sure to create controversy and probably violent demonstrations the world over, the AdReview staff awards the Bobby to Peter Hill, who plays a corpse in a spot ( Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.) promoting the CBS CSI franchise. Hill is made up to look post-mortem blue as he is dragged home by one of the show's writers for inspiration. He doesn't do any acting per se, but he does look convincingly lifeless. ("What's my motivation?" "You're dead.") He wins the Bobby in memory of advertising drama.


We've often observed that comedy in advertising often hinges on a few words, or a single word, or sometimes just a gesture. Two of our nominees are living evidence. Saige Railsback was the hippie mom in the spot for T-Mobile (Publicis, Seattle) who simply shouts her whole-grain teenage daughter's name-"Sunspray Honeysuckle Smi-ithhh"-with a sort of vacuous California lilt that was laugh-out-loud funny, on first viewing or fifteenth.

Likewise Irene White, the groggy woman in the Angel Soft spot (DDB) who stumbles into the bathroom in the middle of the night and lands right in the water, because her husband hasn't put down the seat. Her line, in its entirety, is "RALPH!" Shrill and hilarious.

The Bobby, however, goes to an actress with lots of lines. She is Jill Benjamin, who yammers on and on about her failed relationship in a spot for Nokia (Grey, New York). It's an autobiographical riff about erasing her ex-boyfriend's name from her cellphone, but the ambiguity she projects-triumph tinged with desperation-is as complex as anything you'll ever see in a commercial.


Last year, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning got a Bobby nomination for his role in a MasterCard spot, in which he reversed roles by being an obsequious Super Fan to the sort of ordinary Joes who ordinarily worship him. This year came sequels, and-in eerie parallel of his football career-his skills have gotten even better. These are perfect performances. From an athlete: phenomenal.

The Bobby, though, goes to someone we don't see in a TV commercial; we only hear him. He is Garrison Keillor, lately Honda home companion, who sings the irresistible jingle in the U.K. Honda (Wieden & Kennedy, London) Cannes Grand Prix Winner "Grrr." Hate something, change something, make something betterrrrrr...

He did just that, funnily enough, in most dramatic fashion.

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