UPFRONT;GENIUS IN A CAPRICE;SURF: IT REALLY DOES SMELL FRESH; WESTIN PEACE

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While Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners copywriter Risa Mickenberg may not be profiling eccentric Snapple fans anymore, all those interviewing skills haven't gone to waste.

This June, Mickenberg's book, "Taxi Driver Wisdom" (Chronicle Books, San Francisco) will hit the streets, a veritable multiculti source of knowledge she collected from cab rides around New York.

Featuring the b&w photography of Joanne Dugan, the book contains zingers like the all-purpose, "You have no one to blame but yourself and everyone has you to blame, too." On starting a relationship: "New shoes always hurt." Or on finding a new lover: "There's a lot of fish in the air."

Mickenberg, who's taking "six months of celibacy from advertising" to tackle other interests, says she came up with the book idea after years of listening to New York cabbies. "I wanted to capture the wistful feeling of driving around New York, and the grittiness of it," she says, adding how she wanted it to have a genuinely philosophical bent. It's more profound than going 80 in heavy traffic.

KB&P art director Brian Hughes designed the pocket-size book, which is thoughtfully adorned with cab stickers.

Gen-X slackerism has hit the detergent category bigtime with the new campaign for Lever Brothers' Surf, from Ogilvy & Mather/New York. Four commercials (and some pretty nifty posters too), and not a single product benefit in sight, all to the theme, "It's a dirty job, but's somebody's got to it." No promises that your sheets and towels will be whiter than Pat Buchanan's campaign staff; it's laundry as miserable chore, presented with a wry comic eye, as a woman frets over "abducted" socks and a dumb guy dries his pants by flying them out his car window.

The no-benefits idea came from the agency, says campaign art director Chris Parker. "The client simply said: 'Do something different.'" So they did, based on research that showed that 45 percent of all laundry-doers only do the laundry as a last resort; in other words, they've worn all their clothes at least three times. Lever calls them Un-laundry people.

The spots are directed, some shot in way cool deep focus, by Kinka Usher of Smillie Films, and they all end with a neat spin-cycle motif, as the frame cyclones into a package shot, compliments of Charlex, New York. One spot even features a closeup of a pair of naked, plump-piggied female feet, yet another category breakthrough. "That spot had to be recast," says Parker, "because the foot idea came after the original casting. The first actress had weird toes."

Other credits: writer Travis Ashby; CD Rick Boyko; producer Jonathan Shipman; editing by Crew Cuts, New York.cr4

According to writer Kevin Jones, most hotel advertising does little more than "show Sears-looking people trying to be lovely and look like they're having fun." Conversely, a new campaign for Westin Hotels & Resorts from Cole & Weber/Seattle, tries to "provide a more experiential window" for actual consumers.

Tagged "The Westin Experience," the campaign focuses on the real reasons people travel: business, golf, romance and kids. TV spots directed by Peter Nidrel of GMS, Los Angeles, reinforce that message with slow-motion footage and a languid VO. One spot opens with the camera panning a hotel room as a man walks through in his bathrobe. "Discuss, negotiate, sign, fax, copy, print-naked," goes the VO. Print ads features sensuous photos, like one in which a half-naked woman walks on the beach, headlined: "Where children are seldom seen, but often created."

Other credits to writer Jessica Lehrer, ADs Heidi Flora and Chris Do and

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