September 2007 - Top Spots

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Berlitz "Wrong Lyrics"
Taking a page from the old Maxell ad that twisted Desmond Dekker's classic "Israelites" into "My Ears Are Alright," Berlitz enlists MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This" to promote the power of language. While the title is now "Ken Touched This," and devoid (thankfully) of any bulbous, shimmering hammer pants, we are treated to Barbie's boy toys dressed like the Village People. Ken and a slew of other wacky characters pop up while the song's original lyrics are butchered into submission—"and this is a Pete that Ken touched." It's a great vehicle for such a message since everybody, English-speaking and otherwise, can get song lyrics tangled up in knots. Just ask anyone to sing "Blinded By the Light."

Blue Q "Babe"
Though you might be distracted at first by the models' come-hither eyes and the cinematic stylings of directors Bucky Fukumoto and Andy Bruntel, it's really the music that grabs here. The song is "You Are The Winner" and the band is Monkeybacon, Mother creative director Paul Malmstrom's solo side project. The tune seamlessly blends the best of both the classic Casio synthesizer and hairfarm guitar power balladry worlds. On the Monkeybacon website, the sound is described as "instrumental quasi-electronic tunes" that are "a bedroom 'affair' with classic music machines stroked, plucked and hammered on with 10 fingers." 'Nuff said.

Smirnoff "Green Tea Partay"
Last year's "Tea Partay" is a tough act to follow, considering it went viral and had preppies all over (probably) sippin' Smirnoff. So the folks at JWT/New York had their work cut out for them to promote the new green tea product. Luckily, the whole East Coast-West Coast rap feud dynamic is such a logical fit. "Tea Partay" featured East Coast preppies; now "Green Tea Partay" would showcase what CD/writer Chris Maiorino calls "Hollywood douchebags. It's funny, because we gave the casting specs to all these people in Hollywood and they were really quite miffed," he notes. "We just literally wanted to roll down Melrose and pull people off the street, but it didn't work out. There was the one guy, Sebastian, who became the lead guy and we didn't change one thing about him. He didn't even have to change his clothes. We just built everything around him."


Guinness "Alive Inside"
Remember Woody Allen's 1972 film, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask? This spot evokes the hilarious sperm sketch that dramatized the goings-on inside a man's body during a particularly hot date. Directed by Steve Cope, with elaborate effects by The Mill/London, the production features an extensive real-world element—air jets were employed to propel stunt men into specially constructed 8-foot drums to simulate a settling pint of the black stuff.

Wendy's "Hole"
It's easy to picture the world's burger-craving masses as gastro-lemmings. Here, Wendy's promotes its fresh approach by showing a red-pigtailed man going against the grain, declaring, "My burger should sizzle off the grill!"—as countless burger zombies continue to run right by him and leap into the dry burger abyss. The Mill/New York Flame artist Cole Schreiber says the biggest challenge was combining the live-action and CG elements into a well-balanced scene. "We needed to create an expansive landscape with a fair amount of depth and thousands of people, but still keep a clean composition that allowed the story to be told and the viewer to register what was going on."

El Ojo de Iberoamérica "Camila Melones"
It this were a bra commercial, it would be pretty out there. But since it's a promo for an upcoming film festival in Buenos Aires, the weirdness is turned up another few notches. We're introduced to a wide-eyed doll named Camila and we're told, sadly, she doesn't have any breasts. The spot then goes on to show all the inanimate people who point this sad fact out—her friends, boyfriends, family and more. She eventually gets breasts, apparently via surgery, but what makes this work are the quirky puppets and other twisted entities, like the plate of vegetables and a plate of rice yelling "Boobs!" That combined with director 300ml's quick cuts, long stares and stark soundtrack make what could be a mildly offensive 30 seconds bizarrely rewatchable.
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