THE WORK THIS MONTH: FEAR EATS THE SOUL

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Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean this month's ads aren't out to scare you. Maybe it's to coincide with the release of The X-Files movie and the various flicks about asteroids hurtling our way, or maybe it's just the state of the world; kids brandishing guns, fires raging through Florida, Ginger Spice deserting the Spice Girls. Advertising is playing the fear card (yeah, what else is new?).

Crispin Porter & Bogusky wants you to panic about bugs invading your every orifice. Levi's suggests you fear their new jeans, which they promise are so hard and uncomfortable you can't wear them sans undies. The new Noxzema campaign, which is being posted in bar bathrooms, tells women their skin is bad and their boyfriend is outside hitting on some other chippy. And Blitz breath mints reminds you that even if you do use Noxzema, have a perfect body and not a hair out of place, you might as well pack it in if your breath smells like your dinner. Guys, remember to wear glare-proof [X]OOR sunglasses, or you could wind up dating some hairy transvestite named Bob; eat a Slim Jim and it'll beat the crap out of everything else in your stomach; and if you're a Mafioso, beware of surveillance cameras that betray your soft side as you wax sentimental about The Nanny and other CBS soap/sitcom fare.

Thank heavens for good old Master Lock, which will protect us from all.

Crispin Porter & Bogusky has a new print campaign for Merrell outdoor footwear that offers "distressed" photos and sometimes distressing headlines. This jewel reminds us that strappy little sandals aren't the best shoe choice for tramping through the jungle. Damn, and we just had a pedicure.

CLIENT Merrell Outdoor Footwear AGENCY Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami CD Alex Bogusky AD David Clemans CW Tom Adams PHOTOGRAPHERS Louis Jay & Tricia ChangFour spots from Deutsch tout Footlocker with shoe humor. In "Snap Boys," two street b-ball players rank on each other's shoes in a way usually reserved for yo' momma. "Those sneakers are so old they should be called 'Air Moses.' " In another spot, two skate rats sit around and admire each other's sneaks, an amazing feat since their pants are so long and baggy it's impossible to know that they actually have feet.

CLIENT Footlocker AGENCY Deutsch, N.Y. ECD Kathy Delaney AD Craig Markus CW Bryan Black PRODUCER Randy Cohen DIRECTOR John O'Hagan, Hungry man EDITORs Nelson Leonard & Mary Alice Williams ("Trail Run") Editing Concepts SOUND Peter Lopez, Corncob

Just wash 'em in Viagra. In a curious stab at the youth market, Levi's introduces the phenomenon knows as Hard Jeans. And thanks to TBWA Chiat/Day's diabolical campaign, we know exactly how hard they are. In one spot, we see them saw through a plank of wood. And in the beautifully shot "Ass," a miner's light travels up a dark tube, which we finally realize is a pants leg. The Mark Fenske voiceover asks, "Do you know where your ass is?" and then offers the challenge to try wearing them without underwear. We chafed up just thinking about it.

CLIENT Levi's AGENCY TBWA Chiat/Day/Venice & San Francisco CDS Lee Clow & Peter Angelos CW/VO Mark Fenske DIRECTOR Mark Coppos, Coppos FilmS PRODUCER Jennifer Golub Leo Burnett's latest campaign for Noxzema face wash hits where it hurts -- in bar bathroom lighting. The ads are placed on the wall facing the mirror and written backwards. So as the unfortunate woman peers into the looking glass, she's told she looks like crap. The message may or may not be lost when looked at straight on, depending on how many margaritas she's had.

CLIENT NOXZEMA AGENCY LEO BURNETT, CHIcago CDs CHRIS LAUBACH & JENNIFER JOHNSON AD DARRYL VASILINDA CW SARA ROSE

Wieden & Kennedy goes for the broad visual pun in a new comedy campaign for Nike tennis. In one spot, as he's about to serve the ball, a player emits a strangled squeak and drops to the ground, dead. He is soon followed on his final exit by his opponent, the ball boys and the line judge. The graphic explains: "Sudden death. Another cool thing about tennis." In "Unreturnable Serves," a guy goes into a frame store to get a refund on his framed pictures of tennis players in mid-serve. After about 25 "No's" we realize this is another cool thing about tennis. The unreturnable serves.

CLIENT Nike AGENCY Wieden & Kennedy/Portland CD/CW Jamie Berrett AD Arty Tan PRODUCERS Beth Harding, W&K; David Cress, Food Chain Films; Carla Palmer, Joint DIRECTOR Mark Greenfield, Food Chain Films EDITORS Peter Wiedensmith & Kelly Morris, Joint SOUND Jamie Hagerty, Stray Voltage

Look out, Mr. Peanut. Planters has an adorable and talented new spokesbeaver. Three city guys are hiking, when, to their dismay, they spot a woodland creature. One bravely decides to toss it a nut, to which another responds, "Beavers don't like nuts." In a matter of seconds, the horrified beaver has chewed a Mr. Peanut statue out of a tree. Of course he likes nuts. What beaver worries about saturated fat?

CLIENT Planters Nuts AGENCY FCB/N.Y. CDS John Colquhoun & Roger Feuerman DIRECTOR LeMoine Miller, @radical Media EDITOR Chuck Willis, Crew Cuts SOUND Sacred Noise

"Like any good cartoon, these are aimed at a dual audience of kids and adults," says Paul Siefken of the Cartoon Network. Six new hiliarous spots from the Cartoon Network mix a live action "agent" with the animated stars of Dexter's Laboratory and Cow and Chicken. In "Udders," the agent, played by Thomas Allen, talks about Cow's large udders and the problems people have with saying the word. He says, "Udders. Sometimes it helps if you repeat it."

CLIENT The Cartoon Network AGENCY In-house CD Michael Ouweleen ADS/WRITERS/PRODUCERS Dave Berg & Colleen O'Hare DIRECTOR John O'Hagan EDITOR Michael Cahill SOUND Michael Kohler

Finally, a suit is good for something. Eisner & Associates' outdoor test market launch (San Diego, Miami and Baltimore) for Polaroid's [X]OOR sunglasses features their very own account supervisor Glen Schorr as Bobbi/Bob. The piece shows what can go wrong when your sunglasses aren't glare-proof. Maybe they should send complimentary pairs to Eddie Murphy and Danny Bonaduce.

CLIENT Polaroid AGENCY Eisner & Associates/ Baltimore CD Bill Mitchell AD Jim Nealey CW Steve Etzine

No, we thought it'd be a fertility pill. McKinney & Silver's debut ad for Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider Ale pokes fun at that other culinary cowboy, Paul Newman. According to the agency, Newman was shown the ad, he laughed and then, presumably, he went back to his salad. Or his popcorn. We wouldn't expect Eastwood to put his name on that, either.

CLIENT Pale Rider Ale AGENCY McKinney & Silver CD/CW Liz Paradise AD brad magner PHOTOGrapher Carrington Meeks

He makes G.I. Joe look like Rip Taylor. "The man. The Legend. The Plastic." So proclaims the teaser print for Fallon McElligott's new campaign for Lee dungarees (yes, they're calling them dungarees) starring none other then Buddy Lee. Don't know who Buddy Lee is? No problem, just tune in to Comedy Central and E! to see "The Buddy Lee Story" -- a six-minute (two three-minute installments) spot that's a "mockumentary" on the career of this corporate spokesdoll.

Billed as a Man of Action, the commercials show Buddy, who debuted in the 1920s, in various dangerous situations, but he always pulls through, dungarees intact. "Can't Bust 'Em" is the new/old slogan to accompany Buddy's triumphant return.

CLIENT Lee AGENCY Fallon McElligott CD Bill Westbrook CGHs Harvey Marco & Peter McHugh AD Andy Azula CW Greg Hahn EXEC PRODUCER Judy Brink PRODUCER Monika Prince DIRECTOR Spike Jonze, Satellite Films PHOTOGRAPHER Mark La Favor PRINT DESIGNER Ed Bennet

So is Leno going to wake up next to a horse's head? In two new spots from Lowe & Partners/SMS for CBS, we see what looks like FBI surveillance tapes of some Mafia guys milling about on a street corner. One guy asks "Joey why so glum?" He responds, "Did you see Touched by an Angel last night? It really got to me . . . I haven't had such a good cry since Tony The Fish got whacked." In another spot, we are joined by Paulie who just got out of the joint. When he asks, "So whatsup up wit . . ." we realize he doesn't mean the other wiseguys, but the characters on his favorite CBS shows. The tag? "Yet another family who calls CBS home."

CLIENT CBS AGENCY Lowe & Partners/SMS CCO Lee Garfinkel ECD Gary Goldsmith DIRECTOR BROADCAST PRODUCTION Robert Nelson CGH/CW Seth Fried CGH/AD Steve Kashtan PRODUCER David Marks DIRECTOR Tom Schiller, 5 Union Square Productions EDITOR Stephanie Sterner, Mad.House

A New York campaign for Equinox fitness clubs shows what a regular exercise routine can accomplish. In one, the usual victim -- a half-naked sorority-cheerleader-camper-chick -- uses her Equinox strength to overpower the ax-wielding masked maniac. In another, we see a buff sumo wrestler (we don't know how he'll do against the big guys, but buying underwear will be easier). As for this one, perhaps the Genovese family will start giving out Equinox memberships along with the pinky ring.

CLIENT Equinox fitness clubs AGENCY Anton & Partners, N.Y. CDs David Anton & Scott Cimock ADs Scott Bassen & Scott Cimock CWs David Rosen & David Anton PHOTOGRAPHER Frank Herdoldt

It's amazing our species was ever able to procreate before the invention of the breath mint. A new print campaign for Blitz mints points out that no matter how hot you are, you'll only melt his face, not his heart with bad breath. (These are especially helpful if you've got to keep purging to fit into that dress.) Another ad, a takeoff on a standard Nike empowerment message, says, "I conquer my fears with fortitude. I inspire myself with strength. I make people's eyes water with my breath." The Blitz tag is "Don't blow it." We're not touching that with a 10-foot Altoid.

CLIENT BLITZ AGENCY WILLIAM EISNER & ASSOCIATES, Milwaukee CD CHUCK SCHILLER AD TAYLOR SMITH CW ANDY MEYER PRODUCER PAUL STEFFEN

Spanking new, two-man Seattle agency Jam Snob Trees Up -- it's an anagram of the guys' names -- has a poster campaign for its first client, Seattle's Casbah Cinema. The ads celebrate the cinema's film noir selections with the three rules for surviving a film noir. Lessons two and three are: "The triple-cross always beats the double-cross"; and "Keep one eye on the money, one on the gun and one on the girl."

CLIENT Casbah Cinema AGENCY Jam Snob Trees Up, Seattle CD/AD/ILLUSTRATOR Jason Busa CD/CW/ILLUSTRATOR Peterson mike

Slim Jim is one gutsy guy, as North Castle Partners takes the trashy meat product on a wild ride into the consumer's stomach in a pair of new :45s. The anthropomorphic Slim Jim is just like the product itself -- spicy, somewhat disturbing and totally without class. In "Slime and Punishment," Jim torments the milder snacks in a teen's stomach, and in "Eat Your Veggies" he encounters a girl's pink and fluffy stomach, which he trashes like a rock star in a hotel, before sexually harassing some female vegetables. And with the charming "Eat me!" addition to the tag, it's sure to be a winner with kids.

CLIENT Slim Jim AGENCY North Castle Partners, Stamford CD Hal Rosen AD Steve Garbett CW Stephen Mark PRODUCER Jack Blandford DIRECTOR Tim rolt, the directory, London EDITOR Jamie krookston, @lexington post, london

Through, rain, sleet, snow, gunfire . . . nope, it's not the post office, it's the new Master Lock Corrozex no-rust lock, which is embodied by the voice of Gilbert Gottfried in a new Master Lock comedy campaign. In one spot, the lock survives all of the aforementioned inclemencies. In another, it eggs on criminals, claiming, "That tickles!" as our determined crook tries jimmying the lock with pliers. The spot ends with the lock being shot with a bullet, and it still won't open, to which the product challenges, "Who's next? You? You look like you've done time." For the love of God, don't lose your key.

CLIENT Master Lock AGENCY Cramer Krasselt/ Milwaukee CD Neil Casey AD Dave Hofmann CW Pat Pritchard DIRECTOR Hobby Morrison, Morrison Productions

Here's a Dutch billboard that speaks volumes in any language. Assuming, of course, you know what Tipp-Ex is. (It's not Al Gore after his divorce; it's like our Liquid Paper.)

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