QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Rate the Ad

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Give Richly?
The holiday season is still upon us, so let's do another holiday ad, this one a two-sider from Citibank featuring a bunch of modest gift tags, in keeping with Citi's often soberingly practical approach to "living richly." Are you finding this an a-peeling idea? Sorry about that, it's the eggnog. Rate the ad on a six-degree taste scale of excellence on the Sweet Meter, with 5 being the top score: 5 Very Sweet, 4 Sweet, 3 Semi-Dry, 2 Dry, 1 Extra Dry, 0 Sour. And feel free to offer your comments on the art direction, the typography, the copy, the concept, whatever. Click here to play. We'll be back with the results in two weeks.

More Wrath Than Wreath
Last week's Rate the Ad. As you probably know, at Starbucks, in true Orwellian fashion, the smallest cup is called a Tall. So let's say the positive aspects of the Sweet Meter results for this ad can be served in a typically overpriced Tall. But at least you don't have to wait 10 minutes to get it and then find there are no seats available. The comments this week were loaded with Starbucks grousing, as well as damning entries that started with "For the life of me ... " and snarky mentions of "No shirt, no shoes, no service." The Good/Bad ratio — comparing the top half of the meter to the bottom half — was serviced to the tune of 41/59, which is not the best part of waking up, to mix our coffee clients. The ad ran a caffeine-depleted 42% in the lower echelons of the poll known as the Grimace Zone, but, as always, there are two sides to every coffee story, and this one pulled a perky 25% in the Sweet Zone. Anyway, here are the results.

5 Very Sweet 5%
4 Sweet 20%
3 Semi-Dry 16%
2 Dry 17%
1 Extra Dry 20%
0 Sour 22%

And here are some of our fave responses.

1 A fat, naked guy with shrinkage doesn't make me want coffee.

4 This is a really well-art directed copy ad. It's goofy, and that's OK, too.

1 Weak payoff. One point for having the confidence to not describe the ingredients in their Christmas Blend.

4 Forget about imagining where the wreath is being worn, and forget about my own rule that you ought to show the product in advertising. This works because it's going to be different from both the editorial around it and the other advertising around it. It reinforces the Starbucks brand because Starbucks is about much more than coffee.

2 I sacrificed my short attention span to read this??

5 Sure, I've seen twists on holiday songs before, but this one is pretty sexy.

0 Too bad print ads don't come with canned sitcom laughter. Not that it would help, but it would fill the awkward silence.

4 The headline caught me, I read it through and learned they have a Christmas Blend. Good ad.

2 Apparently the guy was high on a speedball-like combination of mushrooms and Viagra.

1 What does this ad say? Only crazy people buy Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee.

3 At a time when visual executions dominate, it's refreshing to see an all-copy solution. Even if doesn't want to make me visit a Starbucks during the holidays.

4 Nice mental picture!

1 Knowing where he was wearing the wreath might've improved the score, but the typography is like tying your eyes to two horses and sending them off in opposite directions at a gallop.

0 Why not just say, "Hey, try our Christmas Blend. C'mon in to any one of our three locations on every corner."

5 This dares to be quirky, and it's very cool! A product shot would have ruined it for me, as would longer text — this is just right.

0 As Roberto Benigni said in Coffee & Cigarettes, "Yes, yes, I understand nothing."

2 The only thing that comes to mind is a homeless drunk.

1 Naked men can't sell coffee.

2 I was so ready to like this. And then I read the copy ... three-day-old dregs left at the bottom of the pot and decorated with a wreath.

1 "For the life of me" should never be used to begin an all-copy layout. Only women over 45 use that expression, and it's usually followed by, "I can't figure out where that casserole recipe went!"

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