STREN: THE HOOK IS HUMOR

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In two hilarious spots for Stren fishing lines, Carmichael Lynch shows the durability of the brand without once baiting a hook. In fact, one spot is partially inspired by his 2-year-old's obsession with "The Wizard of Oz," according to co-creative director Frank Haggerty. It opens on a school play in which two aspiring actors exclaim that they're lost in the forest. Suddenly the Good Fairy floats to the rescue, but just as she extends her wand, her support line breaks and she crashes to the floor; the kids gape, stupefied.

Another :30 parodies cheesy horror flicks with a scene of a Japanese couple alarmed by a flying monster that swoops toward them, only to thud to the ground midflight. "Should have used a Stren," deadpans the VO. Jim Lotter directed through Young & Co., Minneapolis. Other credits to co-CD Kerry Casey and CW Jim Nelson; music by local Absolute Music.

The client's request to "kick the shit out of those cookie cutter, scumsucking wannabes," writer Alan Yamamoto claims, marked the genesis of this poster campaign for Dream Land, a vintage clothing store in Seattle for Gap-haters who are vigilant about their wardrobes. Check out this copy: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray I won't become a geek. If I should dream before I wake, I pray that I don't look too fake." Like, burn my pocket T, OK?

Created by the Seattle freelance operation The X Factor, the posters, ironically posted in a trendy shopping district, play off the store's name, employing b&w clip art, which Yamamoto says, "had a dreamy and surrealistic feel to it" assembled in fantastical collages. Kristy Willson designed the posters.

"Everyone knows Ken Griffey's a great hitter, but we wanted to show that he's also a great outfielder," explains art director Bret Ridgeway of Wieden & Kennedy's latest Nike commercial. Given that the Seattle slugger is also a favorite among kids-even when he's on strike-Ridgeway says that he and copywriter Jim Riswold wanted to create a spot that was "simple and heroic, a combination of both fantasy and fun."

Directed by Joe Pytka, the spot begins with Don Mattingly smacking a ball out of Yankee Stadium, but it's not a homer, not yet, anyway. Griffey's after it-he chases the ball across the U.S., running on a giant atlas past the Windy City, through Lake Michigan, an Iowa cornfield and a small-town funeral, over the Rocky Mountains and Monument Valley.

He finally catches the ball with a flying leap near the Santa Monica pier. As he throws out a runner from the edge of the Pacific Ocean, an announcer says: "Here's the throw from across the country. Boy, that kid's got an arm."

Of course, thanks to blue-screen aids like a map and travel postcards, the spot was shot entirely in Los Angeles; Lake Michigan, for example, was a swimming pool, while both the town square and Monument Valley were sets at Universal Studios. Los Angeles-based Sight Effects handled the special effects, and Superior Assembly, Los Angeles, edited.

From Mulino Bianco, a cookie company that always identified itself with bucolic Italy as an antidote to city life, comes a surprising '90s take: thanks to digital compositing technology, a campaign in which the country is suddenly luxuriating inside the city. "We took reality and made a dream come true," says creative director/art director Alberto Baccari at the Armando Testa agency in Turin. "We don't have to escape anymore."

Directed by Tarsem, through Spots Films, London, the first three spots are beautiful takes on what Florence, Rome and Venice would look like with grassy avenues and rivers brimming with grain. In one, a girl and her father stroll through a piazza, which is filled with grazing milk cows. In another, which highlights wheat biscuits, Venice canals are rippling with wheat, as gondoliers look on.

While Tarsem shot the first commercials centering on classic cookies and landmarks, forthcoming spots will link brands to lesser-known cities, shot by various directors, Baccari explains. With a line of 35 cookies, he adds, they're trying to create "a different entity for each product."

Other agency credits to writer Guido Avigdor and graphic designers Mauro Cinquetti and Christiana Zanon. Effects by London's The Mill; editing by Jeff Payne.

Every year the Miami Modernism Show presents the best in 20th century collectibles. In tribute to one of his favorite eras, John Sayles, of John Sayles Graphic Design, Des Moines, created this elegant poster for the January event

Prison Blues, a line of penitentiary- style garb stitched by Oregon inmates, not only serves as a rehab program but has also been a fashion fad since it hit the market in the '90s. When it comes to doing ads, however, the prisoners fared about as well as they did in court, reports Wieden & Kennedy copywriter Scott Wild.

A dozen prisoners offered ideas that didn't cut it, he says, with one convict writing implausibly that he'd "never done anything harder than come up with an ad." AD Roger Bentley teamed with Wild through their freelance venture, Big Ads,

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