Yet, these are not callous spots, and that's quite an accomplishment. It takes hard work for this kind of humor to click. The script, the direction, the acting and the editing all have to be perfect. Otherwise, a bit of black comedy can easily turn into an ineffective commercial that draws yawns or indignation, not guffaws. And for advertiser and agency, that just wouldn't be funny.
In a campaign for its new Big Pocket jeans for boys and flare jeans for girls, Old Navy finally goes young. Much to our joy-joy, it brings Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi back into the mainstream from his animation self-exile on the Web. In our favorite two cel-animated :30s, some kids struggle with camping equipment while the Big Pocket boy causally whips a trailer out of his pants. Is that a motor home in your big pocket or are you just happy to see me?
CLIENT Old Navy AGENCY In-House CD Dennis Leggett AD Alan Diparte CW Anne Buhl & Jeffrey Olsen DIRECTOR/PRODUCER John Kricfalusi, Spumco/Colossal Pictures PRODUCERS Kevin Kolde, Spumco & Jana Canellos, Colossal POST Stephen Worth, Spumco VIDEO POST Tell-A-Vision Post ANIMATION Chuck Gammage Animation Inc. FX ANIMATION Gabe Swarr SFX Henry Porch, Spumco MUSIC Jim Smith
The heart sees all, but sometimes it needs help. Three posters running in Dallas show some unusual situations that require glasses in one hour. In another execution, we meet Stan and the nice street punks who no longer call him "Four-eyes."
CLIENT Dallas Eye Associates AGENCY Grandey/Shevin, Los Angeles CD/AD Chad Grandey CD/CW Matt Shevin PHOTOGRAPHER Kent Jones
Too bad the Family Robinson didn't have one of these. A new print campaign for the old Army Knife laughs with the Swiss, not at them. The copy reads: "Cutting a loose thread. Tightening a screw. Slicing a well-aged cheese to accompany wine. In Switzerland, it's natural to be equipped for the task at hand. And if someone here is found to be lacking the right tool, it only means he's a tourist."
CLIENT Victorinox AGENCY Mullen, wenham, mass. CDS Jim Garaventi & Greg Bokor AD Monica Taylor CW dylan lee PHOTOGRAPHERS Raymond Meeks & Geoff Stein
So if it's for ironmen, why is there a parrot on the label? Oliver Breweries, which specializes in "British-style" ale, is now selling Oliver Ironman Pale Ale in bottles as well as on draft. The brewery is in Baltimore, but since it's British-style, a twist-off cap was apparently out of the question.
CLIENT Oliver Breweries AGENCY Trahan, Burden & Charles, Baltimore ECD Allan Charles CD/AD/CW Rob Schnapp PHOTOGRAPHER Sharon Lucas
The latest entry in the growing category of medical humor is "Nobody's Talking," for Yale-New Haven Hospital. Poor old Max is sitting around with his ancient cronies doing all he can to get a good geriatric gripe going -- to no avail. "Stan, your back still bothering you?" he queries with glee, his smile fading as Stan replies, "Nope, never." After a few other seniors insist they're feeling great, Max goes home, grumbling, "We've got nothing to talk about." How about the high price of Viagra?
CLIENT Yale-New Haven Hospital AGENCY Katsin/Loeb, San Francisco CD/CW Jef Loeb CD/AD Carlton Taylor DIRECTOR Marty Weiss, Pavlov Productions PRODUCERS Andrea Sanchez (Katsin/Loeb), Tracy Hauser (Pavlov) EDITOR Tom Schachte, Straight Cuts SOUND Jason Johnson, Primal Scream
With stringent TV restrictions, how do you make a commercial for Tobacco Road convenience stores? A little Louisville shop named Red7e (don't ask) answers the question with clever dirt-cheap comedy spots that run in Kentucky and Indiana. They neatly skirt the tobacco issue by opening with a deadpan VO: "At Tobacco Road, we can't talk about some of the products we sell. So now, for your viewing pleasure . . . kittens." Cut to 25 seconds of cutesy-poo stock footage. In another spot we get cheesy film of the world's worst lounge singer.
CLIENT Tobacco Road AGENCY Red7e, Louisville CD Dan Barbercheck AD Kevin Lippy CW Rankin Mapother
Based around the fictitious Ephemera Society of Crumple Island, Georgia Pacific Proterra papers get a treatment worthy of long-term preservation, in this new promotion from Leslie Evans Design Associates. The Proterra Letterhead Guide is in the form of a collection of invitations and responses to attend "An Event on the Island of Crumple," and the designs and illustrations are so beautiful we really wanted to go.
CLIENT Georgia Pacific Papers AGENCY Leslie Evans Design Associates, Portland, Maine CONCEPT Leslie Evans DESIGNERS Cheryl Bryant & Teresa Otul-Cummings ILLUSTRATORS Jeffrey Fisher, Melissa Sweet, Christian Clayton, Judythe Evans Meagher & Patrick Corrigan CWS Elizabeth Peavey & Steven Treat
Three stripes and you're in. Leagas Delaney/San Francisco touts the return of the classic Adidas basketball shoe with vintage photos of what may or may not be the ABA. They aren't saying. At any rate, as copywriter Scott Wild puts it, "there's not a swoosh in sight." Don't worry, the technology is new, with "EVA cushioning" and "Torsion technology" -- it's just the look that's retro. Another decidedly '90s take on the shoe: it comes in women's sizes.
CLIENT Adidas AGENCY Leagas Delaney/San Francisco CD Harry Cocciolo & Sean Ehringer AD Peter Nicholson CW Scott Wild
Maybe they have a new model called the Airhop. Lambesis gives Airwalk a much-needed kick in the funnybone with an Xtreemly violent new spot called "The Chase." Our hero, a resourceful youngster, is being followed by some nasty guy in a big car. Unfortunately, he's pinned in an alley and he loses a couple of limbs to the vicious vehicle, though he never bleeds. The good news is, it doesn't really seem to bother him. He even manages to use his loose leg to reach a fire escape ladder and pull himself to safety. We laughed till our heads fell off.
CLIENT Airwalk AGENCY Lambesis, Del Mar, Calif. CD Chad Farmer ACD Mark Lewman AD Chad Farmer CW Mark Lewman PRODUCER Susanne Preissler DIRECTOR Niel Labute, Propaganda MUSIC Toby Farmer
Two new hilarious spots from DDB Needham/Dallas, for a videogame called NFL Blitz, have a good time with the tagline, "No refs, no rules, no mercy." In "Target Practice" we see a player firing some wicked passes. Then we see what he's aiming at, and hitting -- the marching band. In "Training Table," we learn that "Blitz players don't pump iron, they have it for breakfast." Cut to big guys slurping up iron chains like spaghetti. One guy starts hacking up something caught in his throat, which turns out be a fist-sized chunk of metal. "Chew your food!" his teammate ribs.
CLIENT Midway AGENCY DDB Needham/Dallas CBS Jim Ferguson & Mike Fazende AD Andy Mahr CW Russell Lambrecht EXECUTIVE PRODUCER John Adams PRODUCER Karen Junkens DIRECTOR Peter Darley Miller, Stiefel & Co. EDITOR Tom Aberg, Tom's Easy Way SOUND CHK+M
Pretty enough to wear, just not in the rain. Bartle Bogle Hegarty has launched three beautiful new executions for Pears soap, to run in U.K. magazines. The copyline here: "The world's most desired objects are judged by their purity and clarity. Funny that." The campaign continues the "Carvings" motif, which earlier featured a water tap and pears, the fruit. This time out we're also treated to a droplets of water and feathers. The visuals are 3-D resin models and all the typography is hand-set.
CLIENT Pears Original Soap AGENCY Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London CD Dennis Lewis ADS Graham Watson & Mike Wells CW Will Barnett PHOTOGRAPHER Jonathan Lovekin MODEL MAKER Gavin Lindsey TYPOGRAPHER Andrew Bird
Everything's half-price if you have a handlebar mustache -- with real handlebars! A new direct mail campaign for the Wild Rose bike shop in Salt Lake City focuses on the joys and monetary rewards of bike-related mutilation. Another piece offers, "15% off bike parts if you show us your hamburger knee."
CLIENT Wild Rose AGENCY Euro RSCG DSW Partners, Salt Lake City AD John Kiechle CW Chris Drysdale
In a new TV campaign for Hollywood Video, Cliff Freeman & Partners rolls out the big comedy gun for another round of knee-slapping magnum farce. In "Action," we see a cowboy trying to teach two clerks how to throw a fake punch. Unfortunately for the punchee, even after three tries, the puncher just can't seem to pull back in time. As the beating ensues, the patrons of the store look on in confusion. In another spot, a professional announcer crawls out from under the counter every time a customer asks what a movie's about and proceeds to offer a dramatic reading of the box copy.
CLIENT Hollywood Video AGENCY Cliff Freeman & Partners CD Arthur Bijur AD Matt Vescovo CW Eric Silver PRODUCER Nick Felder DIRECTOR Baker Smith, Tate & Partners EDITOR Gavin Cutler, MacKenzie/Cutler
Lucky thing he didn't notice all the foul tips that hit the hood. A guy is relaxing in his Barcalounger when a series of dull thuds gets his attention. He anxiously peers out the window to see a bunch of kids playing baseball on his front lawn. "Oh, no!" he screams as the thud is revealed to be the ball repeatedly hitting the door of his Saturn, which is doing duty as a backstop. He races downstairs in a frenzy, grabs the bat out of a kid's hands and yells, "Your stance is all wrong!" Saturn's got "Easy to maintain, dent-resistant doors," you see.
CLIENT Saturn AGENCY Publicis & Hal Riney/San Francisco ECDS Dave O'Hare & John Doyle CDS Greg Ketchum & Dennis Lim ADS Terry Finley & Kevin Samuels CWS Matt Smukler PRODUCERS Tom Foley DIRECTOR Peter Care, Satellite EDITOR Jim Hutchins, Nomad MUSIC Asche & Spenser
It looks great projected on the ceiling of an igloo. The Martin Agency, in temperate Virginia, has a new print campaign that highlights all the dangers that went into the very cold filming of the IMAX movie Everest. The copy here reads, "There's only one thing more dangerous than climbing Mt. Everest. Filming a movie while climbing Mt. Everest." Another headline: "Budget for special effects: $0.00. Budget for First Aid: $160,000."
CLIENT The Science Museum of Virginia AGENCY The Martin Agency/Virginia CD/CW Joe Alexander AD Christopher Gyorgy PRODUCER Melissa Ralston