VW EDGES OUT MERCEDES-BENZ TO WIN BEST TV SPOT OF 1997

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Volkswagen: "Sunday Afternoon" was named Best TV spot of 1997 (see story on Page S-1).

Mercedes-Benz: "Falling in Love" ( Lowe & Partners/SMS; HSI, Gerard de Thame, director; :60). As the strains of Marlene Dietrich's "Falling in love again" are heard, we see historical shots of race car drivers, diplomats, assembly-line workers and suburbanites singing love songs to their Mercedes. The final shot, of the top coming down on a convertible C-class to reveal two sweeties about to smooch, is joined by a single on-screen graphic: "Passion." Deft mix of Forest Gump film techniques, marvelously edited.

Nissan: "Chair" ( TBWA Chiat/Day; Satellite Films Spike Jonze, director; :60). A dog pushes his slacker owner out the door as he snoozes in his La-Z-Boy, then hops on his lap for a wild ride down a steep hill through all kinds of traffic while Vince Guaraldi's jazzy score from the old "Peanuts" specials runs underneath. The lounger squeezes under a tractor trailer and avoids numerous collisions before stopping in front of a Nissan dealer, where the all-new Frontier pickup is displayed. On cue, the human wakes up, and of course is next seen behind the wheel, canine buddy on his lap and chair lashed in the cargo space. Dogs love trucks, indeed.

Volkswagen: "Faint" (BMP DDB Needham, London, Outsider, Ltd., director Paul Gay; :30). A woman is seen, cinema verite style, fainting on a London street. A passerby who helps her to a bench asks several times if the woman is all right. Assured she is, the Samaritan leaves, and the camera stays on the first woman, who looks off at presumably whatever made her faint. An old lover, perhaps? A ghost from her past? No, it's an outdoor ad for the new VW Golf, boasting a price so low it made her blood pressure drop.

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