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Outpost.com: "Band," :30

Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York

Hungry Man, John O'Hagan, director

For anyone who felt this uproarious TV commercial was off strategy, don't forget that they told you what they wanted to do: to get you to remember their name. And that they did. A conservative-looking spokesman sitting in a book-lined study explains that Outpost has asked the local high school marching band to help out in the task as we cut to an overhead shot of the band spelling out the name Outpost.com on a football field. Now comes the clincher: "And to help make this memorable," he says innocently, "we've released a pack of ravenous wolves." Not just wolves, mind you, but ravenous ones.

Bedlam ensues in a sequence of shots that makes a demolition derby look dull by comparison. We cut back to our evil spokesman in his library as he watches the spot. "That's good stuff," he chuckles.

Oddly, the commercials hardly make an effort to describe what Outpost.com does (according to the closing graphic they sell computer gear over the Web), but that's okay. This spot is guaranteed to get the kinds of Web-savvy mediaphiles most inclined to buy a PC on the Net instead of at CompUSA talking, if not chat rooming, e-mailing and usegrouping. Hey, that's all they said they wanted.


Outpost.com: "Cannon," :30

Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York

Hungry Man, John O'Hagan, director

The strategy is the same as above, while the device is a touch more outrageous: firing gerbils out of a cannon at an Outpost.com sign, hoping to get one through a hole in the 'o' in Outpost. "Cute little guys," says the spokesman, as he turns to the cannon. "Fire."

Hilarious sound effects and side-splitting editing make this spot irresistible, unless you happen to be a member of PETA. The concept is so totally absurd it strains credulity, but most viewers were probably too busy laughing to think about this.

Intel: "Baseball" and "Soccer," :30s

Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York

Propaganda Films, Gore Verbinsky, director

Slow processing will drive you crazy at times, but we've come to expect it when opening big computer files. But tending goal in soccer? These situations constitute the visual metaphors used in this engaging Intel Pentium II campaign. In the former spot, a pitcher hurls a fastball at the plate. About halfway there it stops in mid-air and starts to chug towards home at a snail's pace, to the consternation of players, fans and the umps. A "Processing fastball" prompt appears on screen similar to the ones your PC gives you when it's having trouble accomplishing some task, and everyone in the stands groans. "This slow processing is a tough break for this young pitcher," says the play-by-play announcer.

In "Soccer," its the goalie who needs processing. In a creepy visual effect, all that's guarding the net is a pair of feet running with no upper legs, torso or head. By the time a shot is made, the goalie is half way processed, but its too late. Gooooooal! This team doesn't need a better goalie, it needs a faster computer.

Ameritech: "Rubber Ducky." :30

Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York

Giraldi Suarez Productions, Bob Giraldi,


A priceless MasterCard moment? Almost. Dad is giving Junior a bath, shampooing his hair as the kid sings a little song. On screen graphics supply the strategy: "Would you interrupt this moment for an aluminum siding deal?" It goes on to explain how Ameritech's Privacy Manager product "stops unwanted, unidentified calls before your phone even rings." A nifty idea, conveyed in an understated, quiet way. That the phone company is busy selling consumers products intended to defeat the services it sells telemarketers is a bit of irony lost here, but in

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