Andreas Combuechen, CCO, Atmosphere BBDO
David Angelo, CCO, David & Goliath
Tourism Australia: Billabong
Venture outside your comfort zone and find yourself on walkabout.
AC: Tourism campaigns always promise the same thing: escape from everyday worry. Not a bad message for Australia to promote, just not an original one. And while it's certainly a smart and sensible marketing idea for Tourism Australia to align itself with Baz Luhrmann's upcoming film, one can only wonder where directors as imaginative as Spike Jonze or Terry Gilliam would've taken the campaign. Two stars.
DA: For the longest time I've wanted to visit Australia, but I haven't gotten past the notion of having to fly non-stop for umpteen hours. I've heard all the great stories from countless Aussie friends, yet I still remain a virgin to Australian soil. I approached this ad with one simple request: make me want to go. It felt like an epic movie trailer—well shot, with really interesting music. But as the story unfolded I started to smell a strategic rat, or in this case, a wombat. The issue I have is with the overused strategy of "escape from your hectic life." It's such an overused approach it doesn't break through, no matter who is directing it. I'm still not getting on that plane. Two stars.
Macy's: 150 Year Anthem
A trip down Macy's memory lane.
AC: In uncertain economic times, it's never a bad idea to remind folks you've been through life's ups and downs with them before. And it certainly doesn't hurt that the first few seconds of the spot feature a sign that says "It's smart to be thrifty" on the Macy's facade (take that, Wal-Mart). Just one question: does Andrew McCarthy really belong alongside Chaplin, Wood, Hope, Ball, Welles and Carson? Three stars.
DA: For years, Macy's has been the cornerstone of American fabric, the pinnacle of department stores. One cannot help but get caught up in all its magic. I mean, how many brands can actually stay relevant for 150 years? And the proof is in the spot—no doubt there are endless slews of third party clips the creatives could tap into (a client and editor's dream). But still, at its core, it leaves me with one thought: Macy's is old. And frankly, I already think that. One star.
Seventh Generation: Show What's Inside
Create a virtual tree with your own green-friendly ingredients.
AC: For a company that guarantees "ingredient transparency" in every product they sell, an experience that lets users proudly display their own ingredients certainly sounds like a good idea. But while drawing photos from the internet itself is an effortless way to populate each image tree, the emotional impact would've been enhanced by also giving users the option to upload their own photos. Two stars.
DA: At first glance, the site is pleasant looking in a "green, socially conscious" sort of way and chock full of green facts and helpful advice for making your world an ingredient transparent one. And while I'm inspired and intrigued about the company mantra, I find the overall interactivity a bit boring. I like the idea of building my own ingredients tree, but when my tree is made of images with istockphoto written on them, I start to call BS on the sincerity. One star.
Philips: Intimate Massagers
Follow the contour map to Pleasuretown.
AC: The concept of a topographic map doesn't quite carry through as a visual metaphor in this execution. Unless, of course, you consider the knee as sensitive a zone as some of the more obvious ones. One Star.
DA: Leave it to the folks with a tag like "sense and simplicity" to come up with an intimate massager. Kidding aside, I really like this idea. The look and feel is exceptionally engaging. At a closer look we see multiple sweet spots with a scoring system (Who would have thought the kneecaps would have such a high score?). In any case, the creative team showed great restraint in a subject matter that's easy to be overt. Three Stars.
Amanda lives and works in Brooklyn. She loves efficient walking and baguettes.
Tourism Australia: Billabong
My boyfriend used to go on what we refer to as "Walkabouts" in the middle of the night, too. In the spot, Kate's walkabout was a result of the overwhelming stresses her career put on her love life and it ended with some joyful swimming; his walkabouts were the result of consuming 15 beers and ended with him under a table covered in towels. Is this commercial directed at couples in failing relationships who need to "get back to who they really are?" A commercial focused more on the fun and beauty of Australia would make me more inclined to visit than Kate's self-finding, relationship-healing dreary-apartment-based saga. Two stars.