JC Penney "Life Imitates Art"
In this imaginative spot, Penney, of all clients, gets all artsy, slipping scenes from well-known movies into everyday city life. The scenes are brought together with a rolling, happy hum-along song that wouldn't feel out of place in a show tune or perhaps the shower. It took us a while but we flexed our inner IMDB and managed to name all the references. In order, they're Breakfast at Tiffany's, Singing in The Rain, Seven-Year Itch, Midnight Cowboy, Taxi Driver, The Birds, Cool Hand Luke, Titanic, Easy Rider, Say Anything and Mary Poppins. The Cool Hand Luke one was definitely the toughest to spot and would've been a lot easier if there was some footage of those magical Central Park egg-eating contests.
Bud.tv "Donnie Briggs: Life Coach"
At first, we really thought Robert Catalano was our favorite part of the "Life Coach" skits. But as much as we dig the Bob Cat, it became clear that it was actually the intro song that had us hooked. Playing over all those retro images of Dr. Briggs - including his non-best selling book The Hotdog and Mayonnaise Diet - is the song "Kites are Fun" by 1960s sunshine pop songsters The Free Design. You may also recognize the band from their ditty "Love You," which appeared in a recent Drumstick ice cream spot in Australia. So while Briggs might be dispensing inspirational gems to make life better, it's The Free Design that put the smile on our face. Because let's face it, kites are fun.
Apple found a perfect way to introduce its newfangled phone contraption from the future to both Oscar audiences and fans of artist/composer Christian Marclay. Much like Marclay's 1995 project "Telephones," this spot edits together scenes from movies in which characters are simply answering the phone. It features an impressive array of about 31 silver screen stars from Lucille Ball to Will Ferrell. Even Jeff Bridges as the Dude in The Big Lebowski, answering the horn at the bowling alley, is in there.
Scion "Tower of Grantville"
This entry in Scion's webfilm canon is a creepy fairytale narrated by what sounds like Vincent Price's cousin reading Dr. Seuss. The story tells of a depressing duo living high up in a tower playing chess "to the sounds of blibbett and blumpton," while creatures called Gothits wail loudly from below about the disappeared gumfish. This is gibberish at its freaky finest, and the spooky animation, courtesy of Jeremy Sahlman, Post Logic and the design/motion graphics collective Buck, brings this shady little world to life. From the square-headed, tower-dwelling Gumpton and the trollish, gopher-esque Gothits to the illustration flashbacks, this eclectic mix of animation is the last thing you'd expect in the car category, even for the adventurous Scion.
Diet Coke "Frames"
This Dougal Wilson-directed spot aims to demonstrate the craving that can occur when a Diet Coke disciple's supply runs dry. Here, a lovely lady with a fix to feed is stuck in a framed picture on a wall. So she decides to get up and wander from her frame and tour the rest of the wall in search of more soda. As a happy-go-lucky pop tune plays, she goes from climbing into a shot of a snowboarding trip, to sliding into a wedding photo, to poking her head into a school play, until finally she finds a fresh glass of the diet delight. The seamless effects of Motion Picture Company make you almost believe it could happen on your wall.
A frustrated writer tosses yet another scrap of paper into an already overflowing wastebasket and takes a resigned swig of his trusty Amp energy drink. Suddenly, as if the slender can were filled with a magical citrus-flavored potion of psilocybin and PCP, his discarded ideas become angry paper demons bent on his immediate destruction, courtesy of Digital Domain. The scribe quickly grabs a pair of scissors to defend himself, but just as he seems to get a handle on the situation, the wee ones form into one giant paper demon. A struggle ensues (natch), and the writer narrowly escapes certain death - or at least life in a padded cell - when he shoves the demon headfirst into a conveniently placed paper shredder. Tag: "Amp your world." But be sure to shred all your discarded paper.