Agency: In-house Director: Matthew Rolston, Venus Entertainment
McBride: Open on an attractive woman who announces, "It's all about the boot-cut Capri." The music kicks in with three beautiful women on a glowing fashion runway, as more women wiggle around to the beat. Then we're told, "You gotta get this look." No hidden agenda here. They really want you to buy something - now. This is advertising in its most elementary form, all dolled up. There's a call to action and even a claim of exclusivity ("Only at Old Navy"), all while watching babes prance on the runway. Most creative people's jobs are safe for the meantime, but we will collectively pay for this some day.
Hitchcock: Geez. What happened? I guess this is life after kitsch. It's very J.C. Penney-meets-Sears on a good runway day. I thought people went to Old Navy because it was fun and invigorating. Yes, these spots play to the masses and are full of energy, but refreshing, memorable, and enticing they're not. I don't get where they're going and it doesn't look like they do, either. Morgan Fairchild, where are you?
Miller Genuine Draft, "Laundry Day"
Agency: J. Walter Thompson/Chicago Director: Barton Landsman, @radical media
McBride: A very good-looking girl goes down to the apartment building's laundry room. As she finishes loading the washer she notices her shirt needs washing. She looks around, nobody is looking, she takes her shirt off and puts it in the machine. (By now you know it's a beer ad.) Then she takes her pants off and put them in the machine, too. A guy comes down into the laundry room and guess what, he's got beer. She takes the beer he offers, then takes off her bra and throws it into his washing machine. This is well done, and maybe if it had been made a while ago it would have been significant. However, it wasn't and other ads beat it to the punch long ago. But do you mind if I watch it again?
Hitchcock:. It's the whole product-equals-getting-laid thing. If we're going to operate at that level we may as well review it by the same standards. She's hot. Nice rack. He's hot. I'd do them. I want beer. Finally, we're getting back to basics on this sophisticated beer advertising.
Mike's Hard Lemonade, "Logging Accident"
Agency: Cliff Freeman & Partners Director: Traktor, Partizan Entertainment
McBride: The Swedish invasion continues with this beautifully dry and incredibly dark comedy about a lumberjack who, distracted by a co-worker's call, accidentally cuts off his foot. His friend delivers a deadpan, "Tough break, buddy." The reply: "Yeah, my wife just bought me them boots yesterday." We see his boot lying on the ground, presumably with his foot still in it. The writing and acting are perfect, as the spot continues with the co-worker gesturing in good faith, "Those are nice boots. Tell you what, let me buy you a Mike's Hard Lemonade." One of the many not-really-getting-hurt funny ideas we've seen of late, but there's no denying here that this spot is very funny and in many ways good for the category as a parody of macho beer imagery.
Hitchcock: I love this. It's completely unconventional and conventional all at once. It's totally lovable and completely absurd and it makes trying an unconventional drink at a bar seem like a pretty good idea.
Coca Cola, "Long Island Railroad"
Agency: McCann Erickson/New York Director: Ivan Zacharias, Stink
McBride: Four kids, exhausted after a concert, fall asleep on the train on their way home. One kid, our hero, reflects on this moment and wishes it would last forever. Then he slips a Coke from his friend's backpack and drinks it. Most teenagers I know aren't this reflective; it feels fake, completely made up. It tries way too hard to be young and cool without remotely coming near being young and cool. Even the cinematography feels dated. This is the kind of ad that might make people feel good for a moment, but I don't think the effect will last a lifetime.
Hitchcock: It truly is refreshing to see spots marketed at youth that have heart and don't employ sarcasm. That's zigging when the others just zag. I don't want to see another Mountain Dew can being thrown at an extreme sports event. There is something really poignant about realizing a defining moment in your life. My sweet reverie was only interrupted by the schmaltzy music at the end. The realization of a moment like this is beautiful in a more quiet way.