LAWRENCE OF CHICAGOLAND

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Tough time making that big ticket decision? Consider the plight of poor Larry, the nerdy star of two new comic spots, part of a larger campaign for the Chicagoland Chevrolet Dealers. Created by Chicago's Eisaman Johns & Laws, the spots pick up where last year's campaign left off. Back then we first met Larry in a parking lot where he feebly tried to cover up the fact that he owned a Ford Explorer when Michael Jordan pulled up in a Chevy Blazer. Jordan snickers at the Ford, crushing Larry's already shaky self-esteem. The campaign worked so well, explains art director Mary O'Malley, that these new spots "continue Larry's agony."

Directed by agency CDs Rino Liberatore and Ron Lazzeretti, the two commercials focus on dream scenarios, one good, one bad: In one :30, Larry tosses and turns in bed as footage of heckling people torment him. In the good dream we see Larry beaming near his Blazer, parked next to Jordan's. They're suddenly best buds, the big-nosed dork and the millionaire athlete. In one scene Jordan is best man at Larry's wedding; in another, Larry is matted into a shot of Jordan weeping at his first NBA championship victory. Says the voiceover, "For obvious reasons, Larry wishes he'd never wake up."

The kitschy theme continues in a series of variety show-styled spots called "The Test Drive Show" that star a comic host interviewing local celebrities, including former Mayor Jane Byrne and radio announcer Ron Santo. The campy, retro formats, says O'Malley, allowed them to simultaneously make the spots "entertaining and informative."

Credits to art directors Liberatore and O'Malley, writers Lazzeretti and Craig Shparago. Post Effects, Chicago, produced and edited the spots.

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