Agency: FCB/San Francisco Director: David Wild, Wild Scientific
Sann: Having seen approximately 27,000 drink-something-cold-and-it'll-cool-you-down ideas in the course of my cola career, I can unequivocally say I've never seen this one. What's unique about this campaign is that it takes a generic old marketing saw -- "refreshment" -- and uses it to create a cool, off-kilter personality for the brand. Everything in the ad works to that end, from the slightly lobotomized performances to the blow torch-lighting to the vaguely prison-like rooftop court. Smart, funny and almost as good as the car seat spot they did a while back.
Clemans: I was really pumped when I got asked to write this month's Guest Review for Creativity. Then I saw this spot on the reel. Ouch. I realized this was going to be much harder than I thought. Shiny, middle-aged guys playing streetball? The action scenes look like an early John Wayne flick where the punches miss by three feet yet somehow you still hear them connect. The part where one player sticks to the fence padding in the extreme heat was amusing (but I had to wonder if they plan to give Wyle E. Coyote his much-deserved slash for the idea.) The tag? "A few degrees cooler." I don't know, help me out. Is Zima supposed to be some kind of elixir for midlife crisis?
Fox Sports Net, "Mascot"
Agency: WongDoody/Los Angeles Director: Tony Ober, OberLenz
Sann: Please, no more mascot jokes. OK, mascot spots, but at least make them funnier. My favorite mascot bit this year: the one who gets clobbered in the Norelco "Hockey" spot.
Clemans: I loved the Sonics stuff from WongDoody last year, so this spot was kind of a bummer. I mean, this is Fox Sports, right? Eric Silver and the Crew at Cliff Freeman have been dunking this ball on 11-foot rims. If you're going to show up on their court, you'd better bring your whole game because I don't see them lowering the baskets anytime soon just so you can play.
American Dairy Farmers, "Moon"
Agency: Leo Burnett/Chicago Director: Baker Smith, Tate & Partners
Sann: While the word "cheese" is funny, cheese advertising generally isn't. I hear Ed Herlihy doing a voiceover while a disembodied hand whips a Velveeta and kapok salad. This spot is a neat surprise. Very understated, almost a moving print ad. You laugh at the insight, the cleverness and, more important, for one brief moment you actually think about cheese.
Clemans: Simple spots can be great, but this one looked like it was concepted in 1975 and just now made it out of extensive focus group testing. It tells us that 25 years ago, man went to the moon, found out it was rock, not cheese, and never went back. That's not actually quite right, but then, neither is this spot.
Merrill Lynch, "Unretire"
Agency: JWT/New York Directors: Alan Briere & Kim Jacobs, X-1
Sann: This spot touches on an irrefutable truth: women in business are at a financial disadvantage to men. It's something you don't hear a lot about in mainstream advertising. The music's cool, no copy is nice but, somehow, this one doesn't quite click for me, as much as I want it to. When I think about the gold standard here, Nike's "If You Let Me Play" series, I see three things: a dead-simple truth, an overpowering emotion and a huge statement about the brand. I think that's what I'm missing here.
Clemans: This one shows a hospital nursery as it points out that women make less money than men, but live longer. Then it asks if it's time to start planning yet. Scaring people out of their money, what a racket. Hey, maybe I can use this spot to convince clients that since we're all hopelessly screwed simply because we failed to sign up for a prenatal 401K deduction, we may as well take a few risks. Merrill Lynch obviously didn't.
Agency: Di Noto Lee, New York
Sann: Two fat guys with computers duct-taped to their bellies colliding at Mach speed. Astonishing. It works, I laughed, I got it, I remembered the name of the company and I even know what they do. A huge accomplishment for a new, relatively arcane site. Web advertising is outlandish by definition; this ad is outlandish and to the point, which probably is more of a miracle than the Internet.
Clemans: This one I loved. (Whew. I'm not a complete jerk.) It has quick copy that's straight and to the point. Add to that two bare-chested fat guys in helmets wearing duct tape. Sounds like a party to me. I'm in. The shot is great, the art direction is great. Hell, I even checked out the site. Is it genius?