Southwestern Bell: "Can't Hide" ( Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Satellite Films, Peter Care, director; :60). The key to this brilliantly executed category winner is one quick shot of a sign in a dreaded telemarketer's office: "It's always dinnertime somewhere." A bunch of bored salespeople with headsets while away the time in their cubicles. Cut to a middle-aged Dad, just home from work, supper about to hit the table. Cut back to the cubicles, where there's action in the bullpen. Cut to a pork chop being put on a plate, Dad eyeing it hungrily. Back to the bullpen, where a call is just about to be placed. At the last minute, the sales manager tells one caller, "Hey, this is Wednesday. Remember, soccer practice?" He pauses a beat, and we cut to a shot of Junior racing in late to the table. The pork chop is cut, a morsel is headed for Dad's mouth, the tension builds, then whammo! The phone rings. Southwestern Bell promises, we're told in the final title card, "No sales calls at dinner." A simple pledge, but one most of us would be willing to pay extra for.
AT&T: "Beaches" and "Teen Date" ( Y&R Advertising, New York; Garnter Productions, Jim Gartner, director; each :60). In the ongoing telco wars, it's nice to find a breath of humanity in their advertising. These two spots are warm depictions of how AT&T Corp. products and services fit into people's lives.
In "Beaches," a harried working mom who seems to be single tries to get out the door for work while her kids ask if they can go to the beach. She apologizes, saying she's got a big meeting with a client. "When can I be a client?" asks the littlest, and in a second your heart melts -- so does Mom's. She looks at her cell phone, then annouNces that "you have exactly five minutes to get ready." Cyndi Lauper's "Girls just Wanna Have Fun" kicks in -- a totally appropriate use of borrowed interest, in this case -- and the girls race for their swimsuits. In the final shot, Mom is on her phone from a beach chair while the little girl who triggered the whole thing shouts to her sisters, "Hey, everybody, it's time for the meeting!"
In "Teen Date," a boy drops a girl off after their date. She runs up to her room, he to his. They both get on their computers and, um, connect, in a wholesome sort of way. Patsy Cline's "After Midnight" begins to play, and we watch these lovebirds trade mash notes via the Web. They scan their pictures and send each other funny graphics, staying up to the wee hours merely extending their date. As with "Beaches," this is a warm way to show off AT&T's online capabilities without beating us over the head. And of course, we'd much rather these kids talk to each other than sit in some creepy chat room.
Apple: "Think Different" ( TBWA Chiat/Day; :60). Here's to the crazy ones, the ones who thought this campaign didn't make a lick of sense when they first saw it. What's Ghandi got to do with operating systems, they sneered. Poor little right-brainers -- don't they know inspiration when they see it? In an environment where Apple really can't trade on its product mix, and where the product benefit message of Mac's ease of use that grounded the previous advertising has fallen on deaf ears, the decision to celebrate the kind of independent thinking that has always typified Mac users seems now to make total sense. With actor Richard Dreyfus' evocative voiceover and a haunting music track, the shots of heroes, geniuses, wild men and iconoclasts assembled here makes a strong emotional statement for Apple's underdog role.