June 2007 - Top Spots

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AIDES "Love Story"
This refreshingly upbeat PSA promoting AIDS awareness and safe sex could've gone down a much more somber or even sappy road. But instead, the folks at TBWA/Paris enlisted the help of Jamaican songstress Millie's 1964 hit "My Boy Lollipop," to serve up an earful of fun and frolic alongside the eyeful of sexploitation animation. This light and fluffy erotic route may be a bit weird for such a serious topic, but judging by these carnal collaborations, this song fits the bill perfectly.

Radio Shack "Problem"
Here we have a guy with too many vinyl records (as if that's a problem) for his girlfriend to handle. So instead of breaking up over her unflinching demands, he caves and puts all his wax on an iPod, in what seems like a blink. The intriguing backing song sounds like it could be That New Band on Pitchfork You Haven't Heard Yet, but it's actually a tune called "Somethin' Wrong," by a 1960s Australian outfit called the Easybeats. According to Arnold creative director Brian Hayes, Easybeats guitarist George Young is the older brother of AC/DC's Angus and Malcolm Young, and he also produced a bunch of AC/DC albums. As to why they picked the tune, Hayes says, "It was an older band that the guy in our spot would have if he had this huge collection of vinyl, and the lyrics actually couldn't have fit our story better."

Old Spice "Hungry"
In 1982, Duran Duran's album Rio reached No. 2 on the U.K. charts and No. 5 on the Billboard charts. That same year, Sam Raimi's classic The Evil Dead, starring a young Bruce Campbell, won Best Special Effects and the International Critics prize at the Catalonian International Film Festival in Spain. Now, 25 years later the band and the actor connect again with Campbell lounging up the single "Hungry Like the Wolf" for everyone's favorite nautical-flavored man musk. Coincidence? W+K art director Aaron Allen says the song initially "seemed to make sense for no good reason. It was the first title that came up, and it made us laugh. We definitely liked the predatory nature of it for body spray, but we really just wanted to hear it played on a piano. And as we read the lyrics, it just kept getting better and better—like 'Woman you want me' and 'Smell like a sound.' "

Finland Ministry of Transport "Crash Test Dummies"
"Living" crash test dummies have been around for some time now, but this spot takes us beyond the car factory and shows us the dummies drinking coffee, reading the paper and mowing the lawn. The dummy checking out the female jogger's rump confirms these beings aren't just made of, er, wood. Plus, a crash test dummy squirrel? Not sure what they're used for but the airbag nut is a nice touch. After all the whimsy, the spot still brings home that "Even dummies wear seatbelts."

Crest "Puppets"
A radical departure from the typical toothpaste spot, this darkly emotive, no-dialogue piece of puppet animation, from Hornet's Peter Sluszka, features a guy with a big toothy smile and a girl with no smile at all. Till he slaps his on her face, to the super, "A smile is yours to share." Prior to that payoff, their longing glances, coupled with an emphasis on small gestures, and a tender strings soundtrack have just the right amount of saccharine, while the low-lit tones make sure it doesn't go off the cheesy deep end. Saatchi/New York CD Alison Gragnano says its' a "story about the incredible transformational power of sharing a smile. We wanted to convey this ultimate act of kindness, connect with the heart, and ladder up to the reasons why you use toothpaste in the first place." It's a brush with bizarre puppet genius.

Samsung "Millimetres Matter"
If you've ever seen Microcosmos or had the unfortunate experience of learning what dust mites are, you are no doubt very aware of the small insect-ridden world that surrounds us. The folks at The Viral Factory and directors Richard de Aragues and Steve Downer have taken the art of scientific micro-photography and added a little Three Stooges gaggery to give us this incredible piece of film. First, actually thinking up the idea to launch mini-pastries at insects with a tiny catapult deserves a big high five. But to pull it off? Even with some added VFX from Rushes, a well-earned round of applause is in order. Of course, the whole point is to draw attention to Samsung's thin little phones, which dodge the diminutive desserts with deft agility. Something tells us the launching-stuff-at-living-creatures approach wouldn't have been so effective if they had used big pies and puppies.
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