QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Rate the Ad

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Two Follicles Up?
There appears to be a conspiracy in the devious world of shampoo marketing. So says Unilever, at least. Does this ad send you to the web to unearth the scandal? Is that Shampoozled logo making your scalp tingle? Rate the ad on the Rate the Ad-o-mometer's six-degree scale of excellence, with 5 being the top score: 5 World-changing, 4 Outstanding, 3 Good, 2 Forgettable, 1 Actively annoying, 0 The worst. And feel free to offer your comments on the art direction, the copy, the typography, the concept, whatever. Click here to play.

Woman Overboard
Last week's Rate the Ad. Well! Drop one lousy "queen" in your headline nowadays and everyone hauls out a suitcase of transvestite and sex change jokes. The only one worth mentioning, however, is the suggestion that this is David Spade. As for the woman's expression, one pollee's "wistful" is another's "suicidal." Which is to say, Celebrity Cruises is listing badly on the Rate the Ad-o-mometer, with a 25/75 Good/Bad Ratio — comparing the top half of the scale to the bottom half. Special note of thanks to the eagle eye who observed that her book appears to be blank. Anyway, here are the results.

5 World-changing 0%
4 Outstanding 7%
3 Good 18%
2 Forgettable 39%
1 Actively annoying 26%
0 The worst 10%

And here are some of our fave responses.

0 Depressing. The look on her face, the colors she's wearing, the headline. Ugh.

4 It's a different take on customer service/luxury cruises, and it works. The talent actually pulls off the wistful look, which is usually rendered as "constipated."

1 How did they treat her like a Queen? This ad does nothing to separate them from all their competitors.

1 I wouldn't want to spend one, two or three weeks on a boat with people as depressed as this women looks.

4 I went on a cruise last March. I still feel just like this ad sometimes. I'm practically booking my next cruise as I type.

2 "But now I have to settle for a nice day in the park with a book." Is nothing good enough anymore unless waited on hand and foot? At least they didn't put her in an office, looking bored.

2 Does this mean paparazzi chase you around for one week, two or even three? I think they should explain the benefits more, not the duration.

2 It's mild, inoffensive and probably not interesting enough to distract People readers from Jen vs. Angelina.

2 Um, the queen of random blue stripes across the tops of ads?

1 She's looking a bit haggard for someone who had such a relaxing cruise. I'd like to see Britney Spears with a child in tow, frazzled hair and cigarette dangling from her lip with that headline.

4 It sent me into a 15-minute daydream reliving my summer vacation highlights. Yeah, I can relate. Now back to work and fluorescent lighting.

2 Just boring and negative and the copy disappears in that weak font. They should focus their messaging on the experience itself, not the aftermath of it.

4 The woman's lamenting gaze catches me.

0 Nothing sells vacations like focusing on post-vacation depression.

3 I like the tagline and the photo. She has the posture and slightly horsey face of royalty. But I doubt I'll remember what this ad is for. A shot of a cruise ship up in the big blue block would have helped.

1 No boat. No celebrity. A big X. A boring picture. A "woe is me" headline. I'd rather book a trip on the Titanic, thanks.

3 Three cheers for the absence of travel photography. Brave client.

1 "And now, I'm back to my pitiful, frumpy gray self, wishing I wasn't living my own life. Why bother buttoning my blouse anymore? Let the world see my gut." This is miserable.

1 Like I really need to be reminded how little time it takes for the vacation high to wear off.

4 It's immediately relatable, because all women want to be treated like Queens, and if this ship will do it then sign me up!

4 Beautiful composition. I was drawn into the ad to find out why she was de-crowned.

2 Wouldn't the text be more readable in the vastness of blue in the top third of the page?

Coming in February: Creativity’s SPARK* The Ad Age Group is pleased to announce the launch of Creativity's SPARK*, a new print and online sourcebook for the advertising and marketing community. Creativity's SPARK*, a bi-annual print directory as well as a year-round online resource, will present the work of photographers, illustrators and graphic designers with an emphasis on the personal. Featured beside the work is the artist's statement and self-portrait, which allows them to connect with clients on a personal level, forming an immediate bond that's valuable when introducing creative partners to each other. Creativity's SPARK* is spearheaded by Juliette Wolf Robin, the former co-publisher and co-founder of The Alternative Pick directory and ALT Pick magazine. February marks the premier issue, and SPARK* will also be available online in March. "SPARK*'s mission is to connect talent with clients," says Wolf Robin. "Something as simple as seeing a picture of the person, their work environment or their pet will immediately initiate an exchange on a more personal level. For more information, contact Juliette Wolf Robin, 212-210-0156, jrobin@crain.com.

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