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UPFRONT

Published on .

THE AGONY OF DA FOOTAGE

A saliva-drenched mouth piece jettisons from a boxer's mouth, a marathoner vomits and a runner's face contorts in pain. These are just a few of the dramatic slow-motion shots that Tony Kaye of Tony Kaye Films, Los Angeles, captures for Wieden & Kennedy in an ultra-aggressive Olympics campaign. One :30 opens with a closeup of sprinter Michael Johnson's eyes. "There are two sides to a sprinter," narrates the VO of Willem Dafoe, as Johnson's face is illuminated in a red tint. "The side that wants to crush his opponents and leave them blue and lifeless along the side of track, and ... the darker side." The spot closes simply with a powerful Nike swoosh on a blood-hued screen and the word "Air," pumping like a lung.

Each spot was distilled down to "that nugget of truth of why the athletes are there," explains writer Jamie Barrett. Each spot focuses on a particular athlete's strength, either a mental or physical attribute: whether that's a swimmer's stroke, shot in ultra slow-motion, or Jackie Joyner Kersey crossing the finish line.

Other credits to art director Young Kim, CDs Dan Wieden and John Jay. Editing by Emily Dennis and Livio Sanchez at Mad River Post music by Elias Music. Credits on a global spot, also shot by Kaye, to art director Susan Hoffman, writer Stacy Wall and editor Paul Norling of FilmCore.

THEY DID IT CLAY WAY

The British designer who brought Kirk Douglas to life in clay in the Academy Award-nominated short "The Big Story" has turned his sights on another celeb.

A commercial from J. Walter Thompson/New York for Brisk, an ice tea beverage from Pepsi-Lipton, stars the chairman of the board, as modeled by designer Ian MacKinnon of MacKinnon & Saunders in Manchester, England.

Directed by Ken Lister of Loose Moose/London and Blah Blah Blah, New York, the :30 opens as the curtain comes down and Sinatra leaves the babes in the front row screaming for more. He swaggers backstage, announcing that he's going home. "You gotta do an encore Frank," bellows his sleazy agent. "Those dames are goin' crazy."

Sinatra grabs a can of Brisk, swigs it, and his eyes light up in blue. "Ah!," he says, "that's brisk, baby!" Next thing he's back on stage for another set, under the neon-lit tag "Brisk, beyond cool."

The celebrity notion of cool was a way of interpreting the tagline, explains CD/art director Mickey Paxton, who notes that they went out their way to make sure Sinatra didn't appear a shill. The spot, which features clay models turned into latex puppets with built-in armatures, is the first in a series of celeb spots that Paxton and co-CD/writer John Zissimos are planning for Brisk.

Other credits to agency producer Chris Donovan and exec-CD J.J. Jordan; music by Amber Music in London; editing by London's Soho 601 and East Side/New York.

Making contact: "Proof Sheets," an exhibition of photographic works by Ruth Litoff, is on display through the summer at the New York office of Rapier Stead & Bowden, a London-based ad agency. Call 212-924-7430 for more information.

DOES IT STAR RICHARD GEAR?

Well, grease our derailleurs, here's a new one on us. A print campaign, from Miami's Crispin & Porter, for high-end bicycle parts, presented as a spy thriller, with touches of James Bond and "Mission Impossible." The tiny tech-reeling copy touts Shimano America XTR parts with a toll-free number under a monthly sequence of seven noirish photos that takes us through an industrial espionage adventure. In one, a guy tapes a "channel-forged crankset device" to his body, Colombian coke mule style. Cool. Does anyone get this?

Response has been good, says art director Markham Cronin, as far as anyone can understand what mountain bike maniacs are thinking. "It's a hip category, but this is still a tremendous departure," Cronin explains. Most ads are 'radical dudes' on bikes, and most of the target hates advertising."

The first ad appeared in March in books like Bike, Bicycling and Mountain Bike Action, and the series was even parodied in an editorial spread in the July issue of Bike. The tie-in with "Mission Impossible" is an "added bonus," says Cronin; the campaign was planned long before the movie broke. The rare, exotic materials and all the high tech "just got us into that spy genre, and it took off from there."

Other credits to CD Alex Bogusky, writer Scott Linnen and New York-based photographer David Leach.

MINI REVIEW

The new McDonald's Arch Deluxe burger: kids are alleged to hate it. Must be the

brussels sprouts garnish. And Ronald McDonald is getting weird. Really weird. Must be

Fallon McElligott. Directing credits to Bill Westbrook, Joe Lovering, Bill Schwab, Thom

Higgins and Betsy Barnum.

John Kastanes, Copywriter, Hal Riney & Partners/Chicago: I was shocked. I never expected that McDonald's, the place where the employees are supposed to be warmer than the burgers, would have Ronald McDonald shooting a mean game of stick. or have adorable kids making sour faces at the very mention of the "adults-only" Arch Deluxe. But isn't that what advertising is all about, to grab your attention and to tell a persuasive story? I'll take my Arch Deluxe without bacon.

Sharoz Makarechi, Copywriter, DDB Needham/New York: Someone worked hard, and actually convinced McDonald's that kids being grossed out by its product is a good thing. Bravo. I sense the presence of an idea.

But these spots could have been cast better. They could have been timed better. They could have been shot better. They could have been funnier. Let me rephrase that; they could have been funny.

Debbie Adjami, Art Director, Lowe & Partners/SMS, N.Y.: After getting over the initial psychological shock of seeing Ronald McDonald (my childhood pal) disco dancing with what looks like a 16 year old, I tried to look at these spots with an open mind.

The fact is whether you like these spots or not you have to respect and give credit to the creatives who screwed around with a historical icon, and actually sold it to the client. (How the hell did they do that?) And although I found the Ronald thing a little eerie, they should have stayed with it. The unrelated followup spots were a letdown.

Paul Safsel, Art Director, Freelance, Washington D.C.: I guess Dick Clark has decided to share his anti-aging formula with Ronald McDonald. But unlike Dick, this old dog has learned a few new tricks. He's taken up golf, disco dancing and pool. But most of all, he's very entertaining in a series of teasers.

Unfortunately, the follow-up spots are nowhere near as unexpected. But I can't bring myself to fault the advertising. It's tough enough to create believable

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