HIGH ON HUMOR

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People are always asking us the same two things: "Would you like to have lunch?" and "What kind of work makes it into Creativity?" The inquiry into our editorial preferences is usually made over marinated baby chicken à la Provencale, so you've probably guessed the answer to whether we'll let you twist our arm and take us to Chez Gaston.

So, what kind of work do we think is worthy of inclusion? It's not that we don't respect and appreciate the serious or the beautiful pieces, but darn it, a good giggle sure goes a long way. This business is now officially high on humor, and the proof was once again delivered at Avery Fisher Hall in New York a few weeks ago, where Screenvision and Creativity showed the reel of Cannes 1998 winners. Of almost 60 television spots, only three or four were not comedic. In fact, they were downright depressing (call us maudlin, but kids with leukemia just don't tickle our funny bone). Fortunately, just as we found ourselves with mascara-saturated tears dripping into our cleavage, and salt stains on our ties, the next spot would send us all right back into waves of hearty laughter. It was a Sybillian experience.

Agencies like Cliff Freeman and TBWA Chiat/Day (think Chihuahua, not Different) have beautifully mastered the humorous spot, and forged agency reputations on it. We salute them. Now, what if your latest ad just isn't funny? No worries: You can always apologize to us for your failure to make us laugh. May we suggest lunch at Chez Gaston?So he's tripping, that's just as bad. Leo Burnett/Oslo shows us just how damaging a phone cord can be in a funny spot for Netcom cellular service. At an Anti-Alcohol Congress, the nervous keynote speaker waits in the wings as he's introduced as "a shining example of willpower and determination, having not touched a drop of alcohol in eight years." As he goes onstage, he trips over a phone cord and hits his head on a desk so hard that his befuddled entrance makes Dean Martin look like Orrin Hatch.

CLIENT Netcom AGENCY Leo Burnett, Oslo AD Morten Kristiansen CW Oistein borge Director Calle Astrand, Leo film/epa international Producers Espen horn & henrik ihre, Leo film/epa international

You wouldn't laugh again either after seeing Linda Tripp in person. New York's Di Noto Lee makes Ken the unwitting star of an ad for the New York Comedy Film Festival. The piece, which runs in Spin magazine and The New York Times says, "One out of five people suffers from humorlessness. But now there's hope."

CLIENT New York Comedy Film Festival AGENCY Di Noto Lee, New York AD Patrick O'Neill CW Greg Di Noto

We'll smoke to that. The latest spot in Crispin Porter & Bogusky's continuing "Truth" campaign against teenage tobacco use in Florida showcases The Demon Awards. This gala event honors those who belong in hell, including Hitler, Stalin and members of the KKK. The attendees are all eagerly waiting for the announcement of the winner of the Greatest Number of Deaths in a Single Year, whose nominees include illicit drugs, suicide, murder and tobacco. Guess who wins.

CLIENT Florida Tobacco Pilot Program AGENCY Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami CD Alex Bogusky AD David Clemans CW Tom Adams PRODUCER Terry Stavoe DIRECTOR Jeff Gorman, Johns+Gorman

It's the 60th birthday of one of America's greatest brands--the Man of Steel-- and what better way to celebrate, assuming you can't spend a week in bed with Dean Cain or Teri Hatcher, than with Superman: The Complete History, new from Chronicle Books. It's loaded with more rare comic book art, interviews, working sketches and original character designs than you could fit in a phone booth.

TITLE Superman: The Complete History PUBLISHER Chronicle Books, San Francisco PRICE $29.95. AUTHOR Les Daniels DESIGNER Chip Kidd

Also comes in extra large for toting around those cumbersome dismembered body parts! LaFuma, which claims to be the No. 1 backpack in Europe and Japan, doesn't do so well in the States. So in order to stand apart from those other earthy-crunchy-happy-hiking kinda backpacks, TDA Advertising veered off the beaten path of beautiful scenery and mountaineering shots. Says copywriter Eric Liebhauser, "And who, after all is more non-standard that someone who flouts the law?" How about someone who flouts the law in an ad?

CLIENT Neptune Mountaineering AGENCY TDA Advertising and Design, Longmont, Colo. CD Jonathan Schoenberg AD Matt Leavitt CW Eric Liebhauser PHOTOGRAPHER Patt Minnear

He probably thought it was Bea Arthur. In "Blind Date," an extremely nervous guy clutching flowers searches for the door of his prospective paramour. He knocks, and from behind the door the voice of what sounds like a cross between a chain smoking old lady and Satan rasps out, "Just a minute I'm freshening up . . . but I can't wait to meet you!" Our fearful little fella panics and runs off. The door opens to reveal a stunning young woman who is confused by her lack of suitor. The voiceover suggests, "Irritated throat? Try Luden's Wild Cherry."

CLIENT Luden's AGENCY DDB Needham/N.Y. ECD Mike Rogers AD Billy Faraut CW Dan Cohen PRODUCER Walter Brindak DIRECTOR Chris Hooper, Tool of North America

It must've been the size of those dual airbags that got him. Rubin Postaer & Associates, backed by beguiling computer animation from Western Images, offers a new kind of love triangle: two robots and a car. While working on the assembly line at Honda, a male (don't ask how we know he's a he, we just know) automated employee sets his big green eyes on a fresh new Accord and goes tearing through the factory to check her oil, so to speak. Unfortunately, his metal girlfriend stops him in his tracks with a look that could wither your camshaft.

CLIENT Honda AGENCY Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica ecd Larry Postaer ACD/AD Richard Bess ACD/CW Todd Carey PRODUCERS Gary Paticoff (Rubin Postaer), Stelio Kitrilakis & Clint Goldman, Complete Pandemonium/Train Wreck, Matthew Fassberg,& Lisa McNamara, Western Images DIRECTOR Mark Dippe, Complete Pandemonium/Train Wreck EDITOR Alan Chimenti, Western Images CG SUPERVISOR/TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Chris Hamilton MUSIC Jonathan Elias, Elias Associates SOUND Ren Klyce

We see London, we see France . . . Joe Boxer has launched the biggest advertising campaign in its 12-year history of putting weird designs on people's privates. The ads, which are produced by Joe Boxer's in-house agency in conjunction with Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, include print, bus posters and billboards, with visuals meant to portray average moments in American life . . . except that everyone's in their underwear. Nicholas Graham, founder and chairman of Joe Boxer, likes to see the "Change Daily" concept as "Dada through underwear."

CLIENT Joe Boxer AGENCY Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, San Francisco, & Joe Boxer In-House CDS Jeff Odiorne, Michael Wilde (OWN&P), Nicholas Graham & Denise Slattery (Joe Boxer) AD Erich Pfeifer CW Jim Lansbury PHOTOGRAPHER Jock 'strap' McDonald

Hey, is that the Six Million Dollar Man or the Six Million Year Old Man? Denver agency Karsh & Hagan Communications hauls Lee Majors and that red sweatsuit (although we think it's a size or two larger than it used to be) out of retirement for a new campaign for the Colorado Lottery. The six spots feature real million-dollar winners being interviewed by Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man. He's trying to find out what makes them so special. In "Inflation" Majors jealously acknowledges that $12 million winner Scott Linne could be called the 12 million dollar man, while he's only six. Linne graciously points out "that was in 1978. You'd be worth a lot more today." Majors happily decides he's now the 13 Million Dollar Man.

CLIENT Colorado Lottery AGENCY Karsh & Hagan Communications, denver CD Don Poole AD Bob Parker CW Tor Myhren PRODUCER Kim Fitzrandolph DIRECTOR David Shane, Hungry Man

Hey, it takes less than 30 minutes under local anesthesia! Now, that's funny! North Carolina agency West & Vaughan takes a very unusual elbow-in-the-ribs comedy approach in an ad for an anti-snoring procedure called somnoplasty. By following this handy flow chart (in the style of the American Medical Association's Family Medical Guide) the reader can decide if he is in desperate need of a snore-ecktomy. The posters are running in clinics and hospitals as well as Charlotte newspapers.

CLIENT Drs. Barts & Moore AGENCY West & Vaughan, Raleigh/Durham, N.C. CCO Bill West CD Robert Shaw West AD/ILLUSTRATOR Rob Baird CW Eran Thomson

Anyone who has was ever horribly chastised as a child for bringing a fork within three feet of a non-stick pan will shudder at this Stomp-inspired spot for Mirro/Wearever cookware. Entitled "Drums," it features various people making music using all the formerly verboten metal utensils on the new DuPont SilverStone ScotchGuarded pans. Despite the assurance that it won't harm the cookware one bit, we all went immediately into the fetal position.

CLIENT Mirro/Wearever AGENCY Cramer-Krasselt/ Chicago CD Neil Casey AD Kris Jenson CWS Pat Knapp, Anwar Floyd-Pruitt DIRECTOR Jay Vigon, Fish Bone Film EDITOR Greg Snyder, The Lookinglass Co.

But if you sleep next to the fat guy, you'll save on heating bills. To demonstrate how pointless it is to keep an old furnace just because it came with the house, KVO advertising has produced "the silliest thing we've ever done," according to CD Doug Lowell. Directed by Tony Ober, of WongDoody's Seattle Sonics campaign fame, the spot -- for NW Natural, a natural gas conpany -- features two sisters chatting over coffee and muffins as a fat, lazy guy wanders over and snags a snack for himself. One sister says, "I'm only asking because I love you . . . who is that?" "Oh," the other replies, "he came with the house."

CLIENT NW Natural AGENCY KVO Advertising, Portland OR CD Doug Lowell AD Marc Sobier CW James Cheung PRODUCERS John Gurney (KVO), Brad Lenz (Oberlenz) DIRECTOR/DP Tony Ober, Oberlenz Films EDITOR Kelly McClean, Downstream SOUND Lance Limbocker, Downstream

Proving yet again that paper promotions can be worth more than the paper they're printed on, Fraser Papers' latest sample book, "Adventures in The Annual Trade," is a collection of comic strips related to the nightmare of putting together annual reports. It's illustrated by five comic book artists, including Spy vs. Spy guy Peter Kuper, whose work is seen here.

CLIENT Fraser Papers ARTISTS Michael Cherkas, Robert Clyde Anderson, Peter Kuper, Amanda Conner & Steve Campbell

It beats the hell outta shaving with a skate blade. In DMB&B/New York's "Hockey" spot, the Hartford Wolfpack AHL team is given Norelco shavers to try out on their butch beards for 21 days. At first, their manhood is threatened, but slowly they are won over by the smooth shave. The deadpan narrator informs us that they start to change on the inside too; they are now interested in art (a wax museum) and theater (a strip joint). But despite their newfound clean-shaven appeal, when a rival mascot comments, "Look at you pretty boys, sooo smooth," he finds his big furry-bear ass slammed right into the boards.

CLIENT Norelco AGENCY DMB&B/N.Y. ecd cathy aromando- donovan CD Joe Staluppi ACD Bill O'Brien AD David Nickel CW Shiraz Gani PRODUCER Gail Zeltman DIRECTOR Paul Goldman, Lovinger/Cohen EDITOR Chip Smith, Blue Rock SOUND Joe O'Connell, Blast Digital Audio

Environmental client Surfrider asked California agency DGWB to warn snowboarders about the longterm effects of polluting the mountains (snowboarders generally know a lot about being polluted). The model in the ad is actually one of the art directors on the project, and according to the agency, "Rumor has it he drank a lot of beer to get into character." It must have been Bud, since he drained the lizard.

CLIENT Surfrider's Snowrider Project, Irvine AGENCY DGWB, Irvine CD Jon Gothold ACD Felipe Bascope ADS Pat Zimmerman, Chris D'Amico CW Ed Crayton PHOTOGRAPHER Peter Samuels

Since when do tennis players throw tantrums? During a tennis match, a temperamental German tennis star freaks out when a ball he doesn't return is proclaimed "in." He storms after the line judge, ranting and raving about how out it was. We see cut after cut of the tennis boy screaming "Out!" and "My grandmother could have seen that, and she lives in Hamburg!" Finally after following the ump, who has remained completely silent, into the lunch tent, the shot is replayed on an RCA digital set. The ball is clearly in. Properly humbled, tennis boy meekly remarks, "Nice call. How's the chicken?"

CLIENT RCA AGENCY Ammirati Puris Lintas, NY CDS Adam Goldstein & David Harner AD Ian Barry CW Glen Hunt PRODUCERS Marcy Sansolo (APL), Cami Taylor, Charlie Curran, Lisa Winston (X-1) DIRECTOR Roger Tonry, X-1 Films EDITOR Ron Len, Mad House POST Peter Flack & Ken Rubenfeld, Manhattan Transfer SOUND Tom Goldblatt,

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