That's right! If your name appears in the MYSTERY ENVELOPE OF FORTUNE elsewhere in this column, you will either drive away in a 1999 Jaguar XJ-6 stuffed with $1 billion in cash and negotiable securities, or WIN, WIN, WIN not even a cheap gilded TROPHY, yet still be our GRAND PRIZE CHAMPION!!!!
That's right, A-L-I-C-I-A, because this is the time of year when GIGANTIC albeit remote GOOD FORTUNE COMES KNOCKING AT YOUR DOOR, and because, in our opinion there aren't quite enough advertising competitions, we are inaugurating the First Annual Ad Review Actor of the Year Award honoring what the Ad Review staff judges to be the finest performance by an actor or actress in the preceding year.
But, please, ALICIA, make sure that you and the rest of the BRANDTS don't leave Someplace in New York, probably, and drive to Florida like that pathetic old geezer we've all read about, thinking he'd won a GIGANTIC PUBLISHERS' SWEEPSTAKES, when in fact he'd merely been suckered by some hyperventilating direct-mail piece.
We ourselves believe anybody who has reached his mid-80s and is still that stupid should be motoring to Detroit for an extra-special doctor's visit! If you see what we're driving at!!!!
But we digress, don't we ALICIA?
So, without further ado, the nominees for best performance in a TV commercial in 1998 are:
Larry Cedar, for the businessman character in the spot called "Tow Truck" for Discover on-line brokerage from Black Rocket, San Francisco.
You, (that's right, you!), Alicia Brandt, who played the mother in an AT&T spot called "College Freshman," from Y&R Advertising, New York.
Renee Raudman, the new mom in the spot called "Grampa" for Alliance Capital, from Ferrell-Calvillo Communications, New York.
Travis McKenna, the driver in the Discover Brokerage "Tow Truck" spot.
The AT&T spot portrays a college freshman being delivered to her first dormitory by her mom, who struggles to be unemotionally cheerful in spite of the heartwrenching joy and sadness of seeing her little girl go away. Her parting gift of heroic unsentimentality, of course, is breathtakingly poignant.
The Discover brokerage spot is about a businessman whose car is being towed by an extremely good-natured wrecker driver, who has a copy of Barron's on the front seat. Plus, it turns out, his own island/country. The driver's amiable nonchalance is magnificent. The passenger's friendly condescension -- expressed entirely in nuance of voice tone and facial expression, such as when he glances amusedly out the window -- is perfection.
The Alliance Capital commercial features a retired gent living with his daughter and son-in-law, who, upon the birth of their first-born, evict Grandpa. The new mom breaks the news as she cuddles the baby, wiggling the infant's hand and cooing in baby talk: "Wave b'bye to Grandpa! B' bye! Buh bye!"
And the winner is [s we slowly, clumsily, dramatically tear open the MYSTERY ENVELOPE OF FORTUNE]...not you, you, YOU, ALICIA BRANDT OF SOMEWHERE IN NEW YORK, PROBABLY!!!!!!!! In fact, A-L-I-C-I-A, you don't get squat. That's because the actual WINNER, WINNER, WINNER is Larry Cedar, from the tow-truck commercial.
But don't worry. Apart from the glory of imagining himself onstage accepting the