A pair of unorthordox spreads from BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles, for defense contractor Northrup Grumman Corp. have been named Advertising Age's Best Magazine Advertising of 1997. The executions, neither containing any type larger than 12 points, are for land-mine detection systems and airborne radar systems.
The land-mine ad is dominated by a four-color photo of a desert dotted with shrubs, most of which have "shrub" overprinted on them; a few, however, bear the words "land mine."
Other type includes a listing down the left side of the spread of some two-dozen other Northrup Grumman defense systems and products, including precision sensors, air-to-ground surveillance, stealth technology and submarine propulsion. The words "Mine Detection Systems" are highlighted.
The airborne radar ad uses a photo of a cloud-filled sky with the words "You only have seconds to find the approaching enemy fighters." And nearby, the words "Time's up." This execution, too, lists the company's various systems, with "Combat Radars" highlighted.
The jury was impressed with the unusual approach. Chief Judge Andy Berlin liked the sense of suspense the spreads conveyed and felt this was an unexpected, fresh way to convey complex concepts.
The creative team from BBDO included Mike DePirro, art director; Jack Fund, copywriter; and David Lubars and Chris Robb, creative directors. The ads ran in defense industry trade magazines and Washington-oriented publications.
Digital: "Liftoff" ( DDB Needham Worldwide, New York). Digital Equipment Corp. underscores the array of network systems and services it supplies to the 10 leading aerospace companies in a spread picturing astronauts' space suits hanging in a locker room. The judges particularly liked the adaptation of Digital's vertical block logo style in the single-word headline, "liftoff."
Land Rover North America: "Baobab Tree" (Grace & Rothschild, New York). The scene: The plains of East Africa's Serengeti. A dusty Land Rover sits next to a tree, while a lion looks up into said tree, of which we see only the trunk. The headline on the spread explains the situation nicely: "Coincidentally, the African baobab tree also seats seven." Copy stresses the qualities of the Land Rover Discovery.
National Geographic: "Mother of the Bride" (Goldberg-Marchesano-Partners, Washington). Powerful bedroom photo shows soot-faced and muscled female coal miner in hard hat lighting a cigarette while her 15-year-old daughter, in bridal dress, sobs on the bed. Spread's text explains how a National Geographic photographer looks for the rare and dramatic while on assignment.
L.A. Cellular: "CIAO" (BBDO Worldwide, Los Angeles). A gardener walks next to a high hedge, which has block white letters spelling "CIAO." Beneath them, in smaller type: "This word lost during a cell phone conversation on 6/14/96." Another in the ongoing "lost words" campaign for L.A. Cellular's "Smart Digital."
Nike: "Basket" ( Goodby, Silverstein & Partners). Part of the ongoing pro-skateboarder campaign, this spread is dominated by a large closeup of a basketball hoop that has bars across the top preventing the ball from going in. Inset photo shows a Nike shoe. Only text is the campaign's tagline: "What if all athletes were treated like skateboarders?"