UPFRONT: PLACES: MINI-REVIEW: ESPN/NHL STANLEY CUP CAMPAIGN

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Where the Do-Bees buzz. Where can a young New York creative hang out after hours now that Central Park has become dangerous again? How about The Lodge, the city's newest and most informal ad club. The Lodge is described as "an open workshop space, a cross between a lounge and Romper Room," by its co-founder and president, Andrew Van Hook.

Van Hook, a copywriter presently freelancing at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, convenes the club at a space called Here (145 Sixth Avenue, between Spring and Dominick, where free Lodging is provided in exchange for advertising/design services). The Lodge's first meeting featured Wieden & Kennedy's Stacy Wall, but the club's main objective, according to Van Hook, is not necessarily to focus on advertising but to have a good time.

In what other way does The Lodge differ from every other ad club? Workwise, "the established clubs are more hierarchical," says Van Hook. The Lodge's focus is on advertising's oft neglected juniors. "This is not meant to be an alternative," says Van Hook. When they're not simply having fun, "we're trying to break down the established obstacles to creativity."

The Lodge not only features an open bar, it encourages a friendly atmosphere where the ultimate goal is to collaborate, create work and eventually pitch some local business. Says Van Hook, "We're not trying to appeal to everyone. All we care about is good ideas."

We're pretty confident Dick didn't write these. Pagano Schenck & Kay, Boston, is assisting the Mothers Against Drunk Driving crusade with this grimly serious signage-style print campaign, posted in Fairfield, Conn., and, with its TV counterpart, possibly going national within the next few months. The juxtaposition of minor crimes and major DWI disasters includes "Curb your dog," "Keep off the grass," and "Shoplifters will be prosecuted," all followed by a slap on the wrist to the driver and a slap into the next world to the victim. "All the stories are true," says AD Carla Mooney, "but we weren't trying to point fingers at the criminals. This is to support the families of victims. The focus is to stop DWI, but to do so in a supportive way." Additional agency credits to CD Woody Kay and writer Dylan Lee.

A Twizzler was already arrested for indecent exposure. Cross your basic Rico Suave with Ricardo Montalban, make him look like licorice and put him in a disembodied hand-in a formalwear sleeve, however, for that elegant touch-and you have the tangy new Starburst fruit twists campaign from Grey/New York, directed by Mark Tiedemann of Crossroads.

Its main accomplishment in life, says exec creative director Bob Skollar of the sentient and very horny twist, "is knowing that it's very special. It's very willing to share that information with anyone who'll listen. It aims to impress with its great flavor and smoothness. It likes all things beautiful, especially itself."

It is male, however, and it pesters a variety of women, who, given enough time, would probably have to take out an order of protection against it. Additional agency credits to group creative directors Luanne Spingola and Dan Long, art directors Brian Lefkowitz and Steve Rosenthal, writer Sean Burns and producer Jan Zislin. Editing by Jerry Fried, Red Car; music by Bob Pomann, Pomann Sound.

The usual suspects, one big shiny motive: It's the auteur capades, starring Wieden & Kennedy's very elaborate three-spot spoof of Fargo for ESPN and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Didn't Renoir play center for the Canadiens? Directed by Mark Greenfield of Food Chain Films, Portland.

David Rosen, Copywriter, FCB/New York

Usually when I see ESPN spots I react two ways. First I giggle like a little boy with gas. Then I feel the jealousy that often causes me to run about threatening people with a sharp spoon. I don't know about these three, though. They look good. Fargo's funny. Corpses-hey, I'm a fan. The ingredients are there. But in the end, I'm just not getting that "Those bastards did it again" feeling.

Gina Cruz, Art Director, Young & Rubicam/New York

Even though I'm not a hockey fan and I don't understand all the inside jokes (OK, I do get the Wayne Gretzky reference), I still enjoyed these spots. They're funny because I loved Fargo.

To hockey fans, they'll be even funnier because they'll actually get the hockey jokes. I bet a hockey fan/independent film buff will think they're hysterical. Question is, though, how many die-hard hockey/independent film lovers are there out there? Judging from the Ranger fans I know, a spoof of Rambo would be more appropriate.

Scott Crawford, Creative Director,

Howard Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C.

I was prepared to hate these spots without seeing them. The idea of spoofing Fargo seemed too outrageous, like setting out to do a caricature of a caricature. Visions of too many failed Saturday Night Live skits danced in my head. So when the first spot rolled, and the blue sedan rumbled into the frozen tundra, I was ready to pounce.

But then the storylines kicked in. And the penguin-like walks. And the inside bits and gags. And the King under ice. And Claude. And, within seconds, I wasn't thinking about how much I loved Margie and her load, I was laughing right along and looking forward to more. Nicely done. Not as fresh as the best SportsCenter spots, but a real hoot nonetheless.

Bill Whitney, Art Director,

Kruskopf Olson, Minneapolis

The first time I saw a spot from this campaign was in a bar. Even without the audio, the idea was clear, and I couldn't wait to hear the dialogue. Obviously, Fargo laid the groundwork for these spots, but it's a good example of advertising successfully borrowing from pop culture. (If it weren't for the moon landing, we wouldn't have the headline, "It's ugly, but it gets you there.")

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