King Thomas: When Creativity asked me to review some new work, I couldn't wait to see the commercials. Maybe I'd get to write about the new Nike basketball spot that elevates dribbling to modern dance. Or those funny Lipton commercials where the food makes family out of odd groups of people like Mr. T, Mary Lou Retton, Lonnie Anderson, and George Hamilton. No such luck. In this commercial, the shade of a tree follows a car around as a metaphor for how the car's rear window shade works. Kinda creepy. Kinda not why I buy a $40,000 car.
Baker: The idea that you can now bring shade wherever you go is interesting, but what really steals the show is the art direction. It's shot beautifully, the music is serene, and the tone is enjoyable.
Avon, "Williams Sisters" Agency/Director: Anita Madeira
King Thomas: This commercial features philosophy from Serena and Venus Williams. Yes, those two are gorgeous and cool, but am I supposed to use Avon because they do? They get paid to use Avon. I don't. Please give me another reason.
Baker: First of all, I'm fairly certain that I'm not Avon's target demographic, but I will strive to stay objective. This spot is just not good. There is no idea here, only cliches like "Be true to yourself" and "Beauty comes from the inside." If beauty really came from the inside, Avon would be selling encyclopedias, not cosmetics. However, if I were a young woman who purchased beauty supplies, I would probably still not like this. It's just not interesting.
Nike, "Hackeysack Bloopers" Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Director: Joe Pytka, Pytka
King Thomas: This Nike Golf Attire spot uses Tiger Woods, and here comes the twist - he's not bouncing a ball on the end of his club. He's bobbling the ball like a regular person. The original commercial in which Tiger Woods flawlessly bounced a golf ball off his club was jaw-dropping. That must make this one jaw-closing.
Baker: My friends would love this. It makes Tiger seem human and approachable. Everyone likes to see Superman with his pants down, right? This does just that. Tiger flops, misses, doinks and even says classics like "C'mon Tiger." I appreciate the self-deprecation, but from a creative standpoint it just seems a little too easy.
Target, "Mossimo" Agency: Peterson Milla Hooks, Minneapolis Director: Gloria Sigismondi, Believe Media
King Thomas: Another Pop art Target commercial, this one selling housewares designed by Mossimo. I missed the dog with the Target logo around his eye. Hope he didn't get run over by a tree.
Baker: I like how Target has been able to reposition itself as a respectable store. This spot is a less interesting way of doing that, but there's merit in the strategy. Tell people Target has top-name brands like Mossimo - good strategy, fairly boring execution. As a consumer, I think this is effective; as a creative, I think this is uninspiring. But I like Target. They have good tube socks.
Accenture, "China" Agency: Young & Rubicam/New York
King Thomas: This print ad uses a classic photo of China, on which a torn-out piece of newspaper is superimposed. The headline on the newspaper says Chinese will become the number one language on the web in 2007. Beneath that is the campaign line, "Now things get interesting." All I can say is: "When?"
Baker: I might not be mature enough to talk to, or even talk about, a company like Accenture. Maybe that's why I really don't get this. I think they're trying to say that the Chinese might soon be taking over the world. I just don't understand what Accenture's going to do about it. Will they advise me on how to build a hiding place in my attic? I bet my dad would understand this. I bet he'd kind of like it.
Joyce King Thomas is executive creative director at McCann-Erickson/New York. David Baker is a copywriter at TDA Advertising, Boulder, Colo.