Southwestern Bell: "Can't Hide" ( Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, directed by Peter Care, Satellite Films, edited by Angus Hall at Rock Paper Scissors). What makes this spot work so well is the perfect timing of the cuts, the juxtaposition of the reaction shots and the way the entire spot flows toward a totally predictable but nonetheless hilarious conclusion.
Levi's: "Bag Boy Fantasy" (Foote, Cone & Belding, directed by Tarsem, Radical Media, Paul Laufer, director of photography). All of the spots in the "They Go On" campaign have a richly saturated look, like Diesel print ads come to life. It's glaring, and attention-getting, but totally contemporary at the same time. The visual style of the execution, coupled with the unusual narrative structure of the ads, made them all the more distinctive.
Mercedes-Benz: "Falling in Love" ( Lowe & Partners/SMS, directed by Gerard de Thame, HSI, visual effects by The Mill, London, edited by Richard Learoyd, Ian Weil Editing, London). Talk about your seamless effects -- it's hard to tell what's real and what's faked in this spot, which owes a lot to both Forest Gump and Zelig. Characters seen in old footage of early Mercedes models are all singing along with Marlene Dietrich about falling in love. Here, the effects marvelously convey the dual message of Mercedes' legendary history and the passion people have had for its cars through the years.
California Milk Advisory Board: "Ballad" (Goodby, Silverstein & Partners; Radical Media, Jeff Goodby, director). The ballad in this spot is a pleading cry for deliverance, sung acapella by a woman who sounds as if she's seen hard times. What's nice about the music in this execution is that it really didn't need to be music at all -- a simple but ominous voiceover would have sufficed. But singing it just makes it that much funnier. The music was composed by Californian Laurie Lewis, and the agency generated the lyrics.
Mercedes-Benz: "Falling in Love" (Lowe & Partners/SMS, music by Candle Music Co., London, arranged by Charlie Spencer and John Thomas).
While this song conveys a certain sense of ennui, that's not what comes across in its use here. Rather, the tune suggests a sense of finding love all over again -- and in a car, no less. Seems like a cliche, but in this case, as with the aforementioned visual effects work, it fits like a glove.
Companion Animal Placement: "Unconditional" (Directed by Paul Goldman, Lovinger Cohn Productions). Perfect casting, subtle lighting and an emotional but wordless performance makes this love story between a cross-dresser and his canine companion the judges' overall choice for Best Direction.