UPFRONT: MINIREVIEW: HUSH PUPPIES

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Does Mr. Jenkins know about this?

Leo Burnett/London is getting a little sassy. Its first campaign for Tanqueray is reverting to, says art director Robin Smith, "the origins of gin, the decadence and exquisite-society thing" of the '20s. Framed in the extravagant style of Aubrey Beardsley, with wardrobes furnished by London designer Alexander McQueen, these posters, soon to be framed and hung in bars to attract the "young trendies with money," are simultaneously raw and rich. Even their production is somewhat nostalgic-everything has been done by hand. A Tanqueray Guide to Etiquette accompanies the release of the posters, maintaining the sense of indulgent snobbery with suggestions for "How to make use of an American," among other quaint Briticisms. Additional agency credits to creative director Gerard Stamp and copywriter Robin Weeks.

But how come no one reads Kerouac?

Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG has introduced the new Volvo S70, a revamped, sleeker 850 sedan. A model posing for the camera is not only intrigued by the car soaring past her on a bleak sepia-toned road but the camera itself turns its attentions upon the spectacle. The elaborate :60 aims to "blow away all the things you'd normally associate with a Volvo," says agency copywriter Tony Gomes, though Donald Sutherland's still doing the VO, albeit a small one. Flyaway picket fences, created at Sight Effects, L.A., and an astonished 1950s mom and pop attempt to negate the square suburban image that the Volvo totes, but safety is still emphasized, as school girls cross the street and the S70 stops on a dime. Crash test dummies, created by Reel EFX, Los Angeles, lounge in bathing suits as they take note of the car for that extra nothing-can-kill-us-in-a-Swedish-tank touch.

Agency credits to CD Ron Berger, art director Michael Lee and producer Christina DeLouise. Directed by Peter Smillie, Smillie Films; music by Tomandandy.

Gus goes to school. Gus Pitsikoulis thought he was going to retire from the ad business last year, and in a sense he did-from the agency side of it, that is. But his retirement was short-lived; he quickly found himself teaching part time at Portfolio Center in Atlanta, which was where he'd spent the better part of the last seven years. Now the 50-year-old Pitsikoulis has a full-time gig again, as the school recently named him to head its advertising program, succeeding Grady Phelan, who left.

Pitsikoulis says that his experience teaching at PC has shown him that there are good idea-people and those who shine at execution, and he wants to put these students together. "We need to stress both sides of the coin," he says, noting that the school is going to pay more attention to training students in the mechanics of print production and prepress technology. They're also going to start concentrating on producing television work, which Pitsikoulis considers necessary for anyone coming into the agency business, even green juniors right out of school.

With the growing prominence of The Miami Ad School, run by PC founder Ron Seichrist, and the Atlanta-based Creative Circus, the PC spinoff that opened in 1995, Portfolio Center is facing increased competition for students. Pitsikoulis acknowledges that, and says he welcomes it. He feels the school has always produced talented students, but he would like to see their work become more visible, and he believes that PC has to do a better job of marketing itself.

A native of the Bronx, Pitsikoulis studied at SVA before beginning a career as an art director that would take him through a number of big New York agencies, including Grey and D'Arcy MacManus & Masius. In 1989 he moved to Atlanta to join Babbit & Reiman, the now defunct hot shop founded by Joey Reiman and Joel Babbit. He left the agency after several years, spent a little time back in New York, and then returned to Atlanta to form an agency called Thinc, which later changed its name to 360 Inc., after Babbit bought into it. Pitsikoulis sold his interest in 360 last year.

Over an agency career that lasted more than 25 years, Pitsikoulis never taught a course until last year, although, he points out, "I was a creative director at a number of small agencies, which is basically the same thing." His perceptions of PC before he got there were what you'd expect-"that it is one of the premier schools in the country." What he says he found when he got there was a student work ethic that needed to be improved and a lot of work that was "very good but could be great. It just needed to be guided and pushed a little to get it to that next level."

They suede us. Bozell/Detroit sells Hush Puppies to a new generation with a slew of spots-directed by Victor Garcia, Strato Films, Glendale, Calif.-and walks away unscuffed. Even dogs like 'em.

Teresa Elliott, Copywriter, Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.

OK, so I'm predisposed to like anything with the word puppy in it, but these spots are a treat. Clever visual puns that don't try too hard. Lovely film. Smart, in that they position this oldtimer brand as something neat for Gen X. Smart, also, because the excellent product shots must have scored huge points with the client. "Earl" was my favorite, I'm still smiling. I'm buying some.

Jamie Mahoney, Art Director, The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

The creative team did a great job of showcasing the product in an amusing way. I found myself looking forward to the next spot. And the next and the next and the next. How many of these blasted things are there? The spots are well produced. Somehow, though, I still get the feeling they're low budget. I guess when you consider most of the work that's out there, this is a rare case where the client actually got their money's worth and more.

Meg Kannin, Copywriter, Arian, Lowe & Travis, Chicago

Cute. Not breakthrough, not riproaringly funny, but cute nonetheless. The only real question I have is, what does "inventing casual" have to do with the shoes changing undesirable parts of the scene?

Paula Dombrow, Freelance Copywriter, Spinach Inc., New York

I had a really good chuckle watching these spots. I liked the idea of framing life through a pair of Hush Puppies. Who needs Prozac when you've got rose-colored loafers? The true brilliance of this campaign is that it's one of those ideas the client had to buy. Big shoes for 30 seconds. Big shoes as hero for 30 seconds. Doable on a shoestring. What more could any client want? The shoes look a little cheesy, but Americans aren't known for their great taste anyway.

Some executions are better than others. My faves were "Beach" and "Satellite Dish Ears." My dogs were particularly titillated by the whistle and bark at the

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