UPFRONT;MINI REVIEW

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Hey, it's Mr. K for Nissan! Uh, who? Has Pat Morita put on weight? Did George Takei finally get another job? Never mind. Life's a journey. Enjoy the guide. It's TBWA Chiat/Day's teaser-built "Dream Garage," directed by Kinka Usher of Smillie Films.

Kevin Lynch, Copywriter, McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, Chicago

I like this spot. It does some great things. It takes risks. It rises above the "We've got a quarter inch more ankle room than the Toyota Camry (available on select models only, see dealer for details)" garbage. Unfortunately, an elderly Japanese man holding a "Be Happy" sign once kidnapped my family. I don't know. The memory just kinda ruined it for me.

Jack Becker, Copywriter, Williams & Rockwood, Salt Lake City

Wow. Reviewing these spots reminded me of my struggles in Film Crit 101 trying to decipher a Fellini film. Even though I never felt like I entirely got a Fellini film, I always liked them. Similarly, I'm not sure I entirely get these, but I like them just the same. Because there are no "typical" messages like driver safety, I kept trying to apply some symbolic meaning to such recurring images as the dog. And then I realized the fact that I was thinking about them so much (and on so many levels) was part of their appeal.

What is clear, though, is that they'd like me to know that in a Nissan, I'll be driving happy and enjoying the ride. They just haven't told me why. Hats off for selling a car company on this strategy. And the executions are disturbing enough to keep me thinking about them long after I've forgotten most other car advertising.

Matt Vescovo, Art Director/Copywriter, Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York

The three teasers in this campaign really sucked me in. The "Dream Garage" spot that followed didn't seem to be able to continue the magical, mystical feeling of the teasers and still make a point. The spot looks beautiful and kept me interested, but in the end I found myself asking, "Why?" Do people really care about past Nissan cars, do they feel any sort of nostalgia, and how does it all add up to "Drive Happy"? I think they're better off talking about today's cars, because the last time I saw someone driving an old Datsun, they didn't look very happy.

brain bank hed

"There's a real shortage of brains out there," laments Mullen copywriter Spencer Deadrick. Hence a tongue in skull campaign for The Brain Tissue Resource Center (more commonly known as The Brain Bank) of Harvard University Medical School. Other Gold Medulla-winning headlines: "Thanks for the memories," and "Oh, like you're using it?" Additional credits to creative director Edward Boches, copywriter Karen Lynch and art director Ginger Hood.

and on the right side is a miniaturized pocket!

Here's an interesting marketing concept: How would the British sell Levi's to the Japanese? London's Bartle Bogle Hegarty and director Mark Denton of Brian Byfield Films do it with four Benny Hillish no-dialogue :15s that offer bizarre lessons in jeans wear and care.

One features a boxer pounding the crap out of an unseen heavy bag, which turns out to have a pair of Levi's tied to it. "They look better broken in," is the super. Another highlights the convenience of a button fly when a kid is about to supply a gigantic urine sample in front of a dish of a nurse. A third shows a group of young girls spying through a hole in the wall at a mini-Adonis showering with his pants on. Yup, they shrink to fit.

Copywriter/art director Tiger Savage says the spots "keep true to the Levi's heritage," with the sort of detailed Americana-"charming, endearing and kind of trendy"-that the Japanese seem to appreciate.

Credit also creative director John Hegarty.

the clodfathers

Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas is pulled out of the trunk and revived in a funny new MTV promo campaign written and directed by Bryan Buckley of Radical Media, New York. "Wise Guys," as the five-spot campaign is called, features Danny and Scully, two hit men from Queens, who commiserate about how strange their children are while they bury stiffs at a dumping ground near the Whitestone Bridge. The guys, of course, are confused by the MTV-infused youth agenda. A daughter with a pierced cheek is far more disgusting than what they did to Joey Two-Face, and a mosh pit seems like a great place to have a ball with brass knuckles.

"They're not the sharpest blades in the drawer, and they're confused about a lot of things," says Steve Pearson, an art director at New York agency Dweck & Campbell, who freelanced on the project. "They're really scumbags, but they have their own code of ethics, and you can't help but like them." Joe Pesci-toned gangsters may be out of the MTV demo, but "the issues that they're dealing with are MTV issues, and that only enhances the irony," adds Pearson. Additional

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