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From the Tony Kaye-directed campaign featuring bold yet sweetly vulnerable nudies on the street to the latest Chrismahanukwanzakah holiday spots, Fallon/New York's work for Virgin Mobile has been an ongoing study in the art of achieving cool without discernible, and therefore uncool, effort in that direction. Fallon/NY under CD Ari Merkin has distinguished itself with one of the smartest and most engaging creative sensibilities around right now, and the Virgin Mobile spots are emblematic of that style, which, like a good vindaloo, means layered flavor, not just stupid heat. After its launch, the VM work morphed into something even more surprising and thoughtfully funny with the use of figures of spiritual authority dispensing tentative guidance in the ways of mobile phone morality. Then came a cheeky, lo-fi nod to indecency chill, with discount offers scrolling over fluffy bunnies and weird Humpty Dumpty characters, followed by an excellent series for Free Ringtones. The ringtone ads recontextualize everyday phone banter, placing mobile callers side by side on a street corner, and making their trivial exchanges sing, literally. Most recently, a pair of spots celebrated a new, all-inclusive holiday, Chrismahanukwanzakah. The spots' timely multi-theistic (and pagan) fun poking managed both twisted humor (hinted homoeroticism between elf and Neanderthal man, Tiny Tim keeling over at the end) and an odd, very odd, poignance.
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