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JAPAN RAILWAYS' SKIING OSTRICHES

And Other Current TV Commercials of Note

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Skiing Ostriches
Marketer: East Japan Railway Co.
Brand: Bullet Train Ski Trips
Title: "Triple Jump"
Agency: Tugboat, Tokyo

The Japan Railway along with Japan Air Lines and All Nippon Airlines are running a wildly popular ad campaign featuring skiing ostriches. Designed to boost tourist traffic to ski resorts, the wonderfully absurd spots have become a cultural phenomenon.

Pseudonymous Pleasures
Marketer: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Center
Brand: Las Vegas
Title: "Names"
Agency: R&R Partners, Las Vegas

The latest commercial in the effort to firm up Las Vegas' brand image as America's Sodom and Gomorrah shows us two women who are looking for adventure and using different names with every man they meet. What happens next? It doesn't matter because, as the tagline assures us, 'What Happens Here Stays Here.'

Psychedelic Shoe Adventure
Marketer: Adidas
Brand: Adidas
Title: "Hello Tomorrow"
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, San Francisco

From the if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it school of creativity, this 90-second spot is the psychedelic adventure of a man transformed by his magic footwear. Think of 'Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds' redone as 'Harry in the Bed With Shoes.'

Bermuda Shorts
Marketer: Old Navy
Brand: Old Navy Bermuda Shorts
Title: "Bermuda"
Agency: Deutsch

As I write this, snow is drifting outside my Manhattan window onto slushy, grime-laced streets where thickly wrapped pedestrians lean forward into the wind as they walk. A bit of blue sky and pink Bermuda Shorts leaping high above a sun-splashed beach was exactly the image I needed to pierce the morning's depression. Go Old Navy!

The Nike/Reebok Antidote
Marketer: New Balance
Brand: New Balance
Title: "Coaches"
Agency: Boathouse, Waltham, Mass.

Decidedly down on bling-bling fashion and arrogant pro league superstars, New Balance has made a business of being the antidote to the Nike and Reebok culture. Wholesome hometown athletes and earnest coaches -- all wearing New Balance shoes -- look you right in the eye as they tell you there are only two motivations in sports. Then they ask which is yours: love of the game or love of money. We all know the answer to that one.

Fabulous Floors
Marketer: Quick-Step
Brand: Quick-Step Flooring
Title: "Sponge Toys"
Agency: Trone, High Point, N.C.

When was the last time you saw a floor-coverings ad that made you smile because it was so true? The Trone agency of North Carolina has been humorously chronicling the real life of floors for some time now and turning Quick-Step into the all-knowing authority on what we are not allowed to walk on at home.

Really Big Loser
Marketer: 24 Hour Fitness
Brand: 24 Hour Fitness
Title: "Customized"
Agency: Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco

Talk about big losers. Here's Shaquille O'Neal working out in the 24 Hour Fitness Center where he is alleged to have lost 30 pounds in three months.

Ladybug Morph
Marketer: MSD
Brand: Singulair
Title: "Simply Different"
Agency: DDB, New York

This otherwise mundane allergy drug ad is noteworthy for its special effects animations from RhinoFX that realistically morph a ladybug into a butterfly that turns into a flower that becomes a Singulair tablet.

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