Client: The New York Times
Agency: Bozell/New York
Director: Luca DeCarla, Redtape
Something amazing happened when I pressed the mute button on my remote control. Voila! These spots got better. Although using archival news footage for a newspaper may not be the freshest idea on the planet, the imagery is stunning, well-treated and mysterious. The typefaces are well thought out and carefully crafted. And the combination of the two is compelling and mesmerizing. After that, the spots fall apart. Too bad. The wall-to-wall voiceover is not only a nuisance, but when played alongside the footage it turns into information overload. If only it held out with nothing but music, and a simple copy line at the end. Then these spots would be a visual treat, rather than an assault on the senses.
Getting through the Sunday edition of a world class newspaper can be a daunting, if not intimidating, task. I wish this campaign wasn't as difficult.
Client: Miller Genuine Draft
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Director: Tony Kaye, Tony Kaye Films
I like beer. In fact, I like microbeer. So it usually takes a three-digit mercury read for me to even think about drinking a mass manufactured pop. Or a really deft campaign that simply says, "Drink lotsa suds. And when you do, make it a Miller time." I can certainly appreciate this campaign's honesty.
The insert is simple, amusing and voyeuristic. After spending time with it, something tells me that the inspiration behind this campaign came from the agency concluding that there wasn't a single product benefit in sight. So they went to Sling Blade central, where most macrobrews are copiously consumed, and focus-grouped a room full of bubbas who said something prolific like, "Miller is good fucking beer for drinking in mass quantity." Bingo. If that's not what really happened, Wieden sure made it look that way.
The TV doesn't have the same impact as the print (just the thought of an insert for a macrobrew from Milwaukee has girth to it), and maybe spends a bit too much time celebrating white trash trailer park types. In fact, it also has a Nike-esque feel to it. Gee, I wonder why? Regardless, I raise my pint of Downtown Brown.
Client: Mountain Dew
Agency: BBDO/New York
Director: Sam Bayer, Mars
We've all seen our fair share of Mountain Dew spots, some good, others not so good. And although we're dealing with a tired, rehashed idea, if you haven't seen this spot yet, try to. Just when you think the extreme sport, been-there-done-that, X-game thing has finally run its course, this comes along. Packaging women as extreme athletes rather than sex objects isn't only refreshing, it's smart. Guys will dig it. Gals will dig it. The agency and client (I would think) will dig it. In the end, the joke is on four expressionless "dudes" with nothing to say but, "I think I'm in love." The logo smack on the screen, lipstick and all, is a nice touch.
A simple, well-executed concept, terrific directing, tight editing and a Ruby-inspired soundtrack make for surefire eye candy. Sure, it's a :60. But I don't mind. Except for the screaming part.
Client: Boy Scouts of America
Agency: DDB Needham/Dallas
Everyone in the department loved this campaign. Not because of the art direction or the headlines or the photography. It's just a smart campaign, plain and simple. It targets minorities and gives the Boy Scouts of America a cool factor. It's responsible and it's nice to see that kind of thinking every once in a while. We can argue the headlines are a bit obvious, but they talk to young men the way they want to be talked to. As for the "gamer" typeface, at first we had our doubts. Then again, look who these ads are targeting. I'm sure they'll eat it up. Each ad has a "Did you know?" column that is indigenous to the headline. When all three spreads are laid out, they are engaging and interactive. There's no doubt in my mind that these ads will work, if they're seen in the right places.
Agency: Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners
Director: Jorgen Loof, Compulsive Pictures
The '70s: An era gone wrong. An era an entire generation is trying to hopelessly forget. Shag carpets. Dick Cavett. Bad lighting. Burt Bacharach mood music. Terrible drugs. These commercials have 'em all. They're as hysterical as the decade they're trying to emulate. It's Laugh-In meets SNL (when it was good). I'd give just about anything to be a fly on the wall during this presentation. Picture this: Our pitchman (Mr. Blimpie, I presume) is having a sordid affair with a 6-foot sub sandwich in a Love, American Style environment. Way creepy. Kudos to the client for buying it. Will it sell Blimpie sandwiches? Who knows. But at least you'll know they have a sense of humor. Not to mention big honking sandwiches you'll fall in love with.
Client: Riedell shoes
Agency: Kilter Inc.
Every agency longs for a sporting goods/lifestyle account. It fills the hallways of creative departments from coast to coast with the pungent smell of "opportunity." Most of the time. I'm not only disappointed by the Riedell campaign, I'm stumped. Why does every headline end with, "We understand. Welcome to Riedell"? I certainly hope they understand. They've been in the business for over 50 years. And just in case you doesn't get it in the headline, they say it again in the copy. Hmmmm. I guess I don't understand. Tactically, this campaign didn't miss the boat. It jumps ship. The art direction and portrait shots carry most of the campaign. Nonetheless, the irrelevant type looks like a cross between alphabet soup and Cheerios. But I will have to say that the reprints are