Taco Bell: "Chihuahua" ( TBWA Chiat/Day; House of Usher, Kinka Usher, director; :30). It's always gratifying when characters or lines from ad campaigns make that sought-after crossover to popular culture, but when they do and manage to trigger a social trend at the same time, hallelujah. This zany spot has not only propelled the line "Yo quiero Taco Bell" into current slacker vogue, it's also fueled a surge of interest in Chihuahuas, too. All from a relatively simple spot: A bug-eyed little dog passes up treats and a possible fling with a trembling little female of the species, all in his search for Taco Bell. So now Chihuahuas are hip, and Taco Bell has recaptured cool, and that's an accomplishment in itself.
Borders: "Star Trek" (Butler, Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif.; Fahrenheit Films, Santa Monica, Neil Tardio, Jr., director; :30). This is a huge campaign -- they did dozens of spots, many of which were cast with real people and company employees and shot assembly-line style in a matter of days. Each uses a comic situation to highlight what you can find at a Borders store. The spots all have the look and feel of a student film -- and the technique works perfectly. In this spot, your typically obnoxious cell phone loudmouth is chatting away in the reading area at a Borders. Everyone is annoyed. In the background, a young guy is reading one of the Star Trek manuals. He gets up, approaches the caller from behind, and gives him Spock's famous Vulcan Death Grip. The guy passes out immediately, and everyone applauds.
Ikea: "Subway" ( Deutsch, New York. Crossroads Films, Mark Pellington, director; :30). Who's behind this spot, Rudy Guiliani? A New York subway car pulls into a station and a team of men and women in white jumpsuits with Ikea logos on their backs get on. They quickly size up the place, and before you can say "watch the closing doors, Astor Place is next," they've redecorated the car with comfy sofas, fluffy pillows, subtle lighting, carpets and accessories. If Ikea can spruce up a hostile environment like this, imagine what they could do in your home.