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UPFRONT

Published on .

COUCH POTAHTOES

"Art that goes with your couch," is the theme of an esoteric TV campaign from McCann Amster Yard, New York, for Bravo, the upscale, formerly premium network that has since plunged to the censored depths of basic cable. Three witty spots, directed by Bill Hudson of the Artists Co., portray different scenes and different styles for Bravo's diverse audience.

"Foreign Film," for example, opens with a couple spending a night in to watch a flick. She suggests they click to Bravo. The film noir on the screen triggers a metamorphosis at home. The couple become actors in a b&w film, the room expands and empties out, they are separated and there's a melodramatic chill in the air. The dialogue is now all in French, with English subtitles.

"These spots are geared towards a more intelligent audience-or at least people who'd like to think of themselves in that way," says art director Mike Bade, who teamed with writer Fred Stesny. Consider "Saturday Morning," which opens on a typical sibling brawl in front of the TV. Finally, one kid whines, "Mom, he's calling me a neo-fatalist!" Mom, armed with a turkey baster, warns, "Don't make me come in there and prove your self-worth!"

How many creatives does it take to screw in an award winner? Chicago's McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, went all the way to Sophie's Pierogi To Go in Long Beach, Calif., to find out. Other headlines from a campaign that could revive the Warsaw pact: "Great food from Polind," and "Get your pierogis to go. Or take them with you!"

"A pierogi store sounded like the stupidest idea ever," says writer Kevin Lynch. "We wanted the ads to be stupid rather that just say stupid, to be a reflection of the product itself." Whoa, some kielbasa on this guy! Additional credits to CDs Tom McConnaughy and Jim Schmidt, and art director Jon Wyville.

SHOCK THE VOTE

"If you don't vote, someone else will speak for you," promises a new PSA campaign from Price McNabb, Charlotte, N.C. Not a grand revelation, but a timely reminder with a powerful execution. In each spot, an actor begins discussing a pivotal issue of the times-women in the workplace, domestic terrorism, race relations and immigration. Within seconds, a new voice and a different, ostensibly nasty opinion is what is heard, in perfect sync. It's an easy transition with a discomforting message, founded upon the concerns of art director Al Christiansen and writer David Oakley and based upon some pretty ridiculous close-minded opinions they've overheard.

"We spend so much of our careers working on trivial stuff that it's nice to have a chance to not feel like such scum," Christiansen says of the pro bono effort. The spots have run on a local Charlotte area station, and the producers are looking for wider exposure.

Additional credits to CD Robin Konieczny, assistant CD Ron Randle and independent director Findlay Bunting.

Intestinal buzz while you wait!

Frightening. There's no other word to describe the response to this two-phase billboard campaign from Deutsch Advertising/New York, for Buzz magazine in Los Angeles. Four teasers publicized a colonic treatment center, a topless traffic school ("A clean record is only a lap dance away"), a Beverly Hills shopping camp and a Balkan screenplay exchange ("Sell your rejected screenplays to developing countries!"), to be followed, a few weeks later, with a banner overlay reading, "Just testing. Buzz Magazine. L.A.'s monthly reality check" over a copy of the original.

According to CD Greg DiNoto, the phone number each billboard listed received many an earnest caller in search of these exclusive services. But, in a way, that was the point. "We wanted to position Buzz as a realistic alternative to other L.A. lifestyle magazines that prey upon a stereotyped L.A.," says DiNoto. "We wanted to explain what we weren't."

Additional credits to art director Bill Tsapalas and writer Liz Gumbinner.

"To the ancients, smoke was

a mystical link between the material and spiritual worlds," reads the copy of a poster from Laughlin/Constable, Milwaukee, for Uhle's, a local tobacconist. Now it's a link to the pockets

of Gen X, via three men's room posters with blunt messages. Credits to writer

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