July's Guest Review

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Curt Detweiler
Curt Detweiler
Clark Edwards and Nick Pringle
Clark Edwards and Nick Pringle
Altoids "Where's Sindy?"
The femme Waldo of curiously strong mints heads on a Google-y big adventure.

CD: Let me start by saying I'm a huge Google Earth fan. I dick around with that thing constantly—one second I'm over in the Everglades seeing if I can spot any guys gaffing bails of weed in the satellite shots, then I'm hammering in the address of my buddy's new apartment in Hong Kong. But Altoids and Google Earth? I don't think so. Seems like the wrong pairing for the technology (or whatever you call Google Earth). There's also a shooting gallery and other forgettable stuff happening on the site. So, off to play another 78 holes of Orbitz golf.
One star.

CE, NP: After trying for ages to get it to work, "Where's Sindy?" left us with one question: where's our lunchtime gone? Sure, using Google Earth for something other than stalking or spying is great, but outdated graphics and slow gameplay feel very 1989. Perhaps Sindy's now an advertising institution in the U.S., but in the land of Pea Soup and Pearly Queens it feels miles away from the brilliant Altoids press work we've seen coming out of the American colonies of late.
Two stars.

Dunlop "Fingerprint"
Your tires are the things on the car that make contact with the road—so they've got to be sensitive.

CD: This is one of those spots that you feel like you've seen a million times—that dramatic VO delivered by the failed British stage actor. Probably pals around London with David Soul, talking about the ups and downs of Arsenal over a pint of steeping hot lager. Having said that, it looks cool—all that macro goodness, the tweaky little water bug scootin' around and those weird neoprene spiky things—there's stuff to like here. Hate the fingerprint bit—I thought you simply weren't allowed to do ads with fingerprints in them anymore. Out of bounds. Off limits. Rejected. No fingerprints. Rules are rules. So, Fair with a 2.6 for the cool macro stuff.
Two stars.

CE, NP: There's no question that this ad looks great and is well crafted. But beautiful cinematography and editing belies the fact that this spot could be for any number of products besides a car tire (we half expected to see an Audi logo at the end). The idea of comparing technology to the human body just isn't new. So we can't help feeling that this may have the viewer's amazingly nimble fingers and opposable thumbs switching channels.
Three stars.

Axe "Church"
This Axe spot keeps its premise simple—use chick soap and you'll act like a chick.

CD: Simple idea, good track. Guy chasing girls around with a wedding dress. That's funny. And the voice talent does not sound like he hangs out with David Soul over at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.
Three stars.

CE, NP: Axe work consistently makes us laugh and leap around in our jumpers shouting "huzzah." And to start with, the visual of a guy towing a church around did just that. But the wheels on the chapel started coming off at the end. Small, inbred towns on both sides of the Atlantic aside, do most girls want marriage on the first meeting? It's hyperbolic insight and hyperbolic visual—trouble. Total respect to the team for trying to take the Axe strategy on, but the ending left us feeling a bit shortchanged.
Two stars.

Ray-Ban "Never Hide"
Ray-Ban really wants to be noticed.

CD: How can I speak to any Ray-Ban work without talking about that viral—the one with the skinny cat pitchin' a pair of shades at some Tao of Steve-looking dude's face. Man, I love that work. I love the music, the originality; I love that they look like they're too old to be doing this shit. I love every last bit of it—the ice cream cone, going to the slo-mo for the car shot. They even pull off skating without it feeling gratuitous, and that's just not that easy. But I didn't know their print was approved by an entirely different client. So it's a Fair in the hopes that it will get better, 'cause judging by the viral, it will.
Two stars.

CE, NP: "Never hide." Presumably, this line slipped out in a cappuccino-fueled brainstorm. As Ray-Ban executives OD'd on caffeine, dreaming up corporately acceptable rock 'n' roll images, it made for the door Steve McQueen style. To be frank, these ads are just wallpaper comprised of what look like stock shots and a slightly confused, half-baked line (most of the models are hiding behind shades). For a product so rich in style pedigree, these ads are poor.
No stars.

Street Review

James Jung
James Jung
An editor at Maxim Online, James lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Axe "Church"

I like the silly, lighthearted desperation and creepiness of this spot. The music, coupled with the absurdity of the wedding chapel trailer, seems to accomplish that. The twist ending works well. We're given the bar of pink soap in the first shot, but we don't realize its significance until the end. But the ad could be a bit shorter. The payoff is good, but it seemed to drag a bit before the twist ending.
Three stars.
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