UPFRONT;OBSESSION WITH A SMILE;PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD;GET A PIECE OF YOUR OWN ROCK

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Emotional, philosophical ads are rampant in the running category, says writer Forrest Healy, explaining why a new Asics print campaign takes an inverse humor tack, relying on caricatures and funny stream-of-consciousness copy. "We kept the same theme that Asics people are obsessed about their running," Healy says, "but took a more light-hearted approach." Created by Bozell/Salvati Montgomery Sakoda, Costa Mesa, Calif., each ad zeros in on an Asics shoe and its owner, illustrated by Scott Angle. Take the aerobics ad, in which a woman gripes, "This aerobics instructor is way irritating. If she says 'Work it!' one more time I'm gonna strangle her."

"We thought it was client-proof," jokes Healy, explaining how tons of product points could be sandwiched into the long copy. Other credits to art director Eric Spiegler, designer Jim Wylie, creative director Scott Montgomery and photographer Tom Hollar.

The Bolex Brothers, England's award-winning, Bristol-based animation company, has just finished a Lego Technic spot that's delightfully weird enough to be a scene from Terry Gilliam's "Brazil."

Created by London's Howell Henry Chaldecott Lury & Partners, the spot opens with a canteen full of androids banging for food. Inside the kitchen, chefs are preparing a meal of Lego creatures, boiling, declawing them, and feeding scraps to scorpions. Finally the chefs present their entree-a Lego model of the space shuttle. The tag: "Lego Technic. It's multifunctionomical." Credit writer Stefan Jones and AD Tom Burnay. 10

The challenge of a new campaign for Prudential Insurance, according to Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, art director Amy Nicholson, was "to find something that's cool enough that the thirtysomething crowd will listen, but timeless enough not to alienate the current customer."

The results are immensely watchable commercials, shot by Jeffery Plansker of Propaganda Films, that profile Prudential customers sharing their investment wisdom. One spot opens as a man snowshoes in a mountain ravine, thinking aloud about growing old. Suddenly, he falls into the snow and makes an angel, an image that freezes with the words "Live well."

"You're the best investment you'll ever have," he says, as the words "Make a plan" and "Be your own rock" are imprinted on subsequent frames.

The commercials and the accompanying print campaign, which were written by creative director Bill Westbrook, are based on interviews with Prudential customers; Nicholson says a concerted effort was made to avoid the real-people cliches in the execution-things like talking heads and closeups of people's hands."This idea, unless it's executed right, could bomb," she says. Also credit

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