GUEST REVIEW

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Volkswagen

Agency: Arnold Worldwide Group CD: Alan Pafenbach CDs: Tim Brunelle/Tim Vaccarino AD: Tim Vaccarino CWs: Tim Brunelle/Matt Fishbein Agency Producer: Bill Goodell Director: Chris Smith Production Company: Independent Media

Feakins We open on a EuroVan pulling out of a rural fast food joint and heading back out on the road. Inside, the mom starts handing the food back to the rest of the "family," except instead of the usual names she calls them Vegas, Austin and Tulsa. Suddenly up ahead is a hitchhiker with a sign that says "Phoenix." They automatically pull over, he throws his stuff in the back where we find other signs, "Vegas," "Austin" and "Tulsa." A nice, simple idea. Casting is good, and a sweet music choice, Bent's "Invisible Pedestrian," really adds to the spot. More importantly, it ties in nicely with the legendary status of Volkswagen Microbuses back when people really did pick up hitchhikers. 3 stars

Yellard I think it's great that these yuppies - once hippies, no doubt - are picking up hitchhikers on the road and reliving their old Microbus days. This revival of the Woodstock-era pilgrimage makes community cool in a modern-day VW bus. Ultimately, it's just another one of those nice VW spots that leaves you wanting to hit the road and experience a road trip in a vehicle as spacious as this one. 3 stars

IBM/E-business Wireless

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather/New York CDs: Chris Wall/Susan Westre/Steve Hayden AD: Jeff Curry CW: Jeff O'Keefe Agency Producer: Lee Weiss Director: Joe Pytka Producer: Leslie Vaughn

Feakins A man in Italy strolls down the street, talking on a cell phone. He spies a soda machine, goes to buy a can, but he doesn't have the right change. He sees children throwing coins in a fountain. He reaches into the fountain to pocket some change when suddenly he spots a nun and stops, caught red-handed. A woman walks up to the vending machine, hits a few buttons on her cell phone, takes a can and walks on. Ah, the old nun-in-Italy joke. Although the fountain-coin idea isn't a bad one (and is beautifully executed), it just seems to come from a different, older school of advertising than the other IBM stuff, which finds its humor in the truths we discover in the real world. 2 stars

Yellard The spot is advertising the miraculous new things you can do with IBM business technology, and while it's well done, I'm left feeling so-so about the experience. Perhaps I don't want to be using my cell phone to be getting drinks from vending machines. But that's not the agency's or director's fault. The casting is good. The idea is decent. The directing is good. But as they always say, good is the enemy of great. 2 stars

ESPN Summer X Games

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy/New York CDs: Ty Montague/Amy Nicholson AD: Matt Stein CW: Kevin Proudfoot Agency Producer: Chris Noble Director: Evan Bernard Production Company: Chelsea Pictures

Feakins A young man asks the clerk in a convenience store for the bathroom key. The clerk says the bathroom is for customers only. The kid says fine and grabs a piece of 10-cent candy. He counts out 10 pennies from a "Leave a penny, take a penny" jar on the counter. The clerk, clearly ticked, hands a key attached to a hubcap and says, "Three minutes." Casting and direction is excellent. The target audience for the X Games will relate and probably love it. But I wish the work, while funny, was more conceptual instead of doing the "Hey, target audience, we understand your world" bit. 2 stars

Yellard Funny. Believable. Nicely executed. I love how I've had this experience many times before, but never had the courage to throw my frustration back in a clerk's face. Only trouble is, I'm feeling a bit of a disconnect regarding what this has to do with the X Games. Sure, this is a great slice-of-life thing that relates to the target audience, but I'm left thinking, "Why?" 2 stars

Zenith

Agency: Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago CD: Marshall Ross AD: Mike Lyons CW: Michael Herlhehy Producer: Pat Douglass Director: Gerard De Thame Production Company: HSI Productions

Feakins At a hip nightclub, a young man strolls out of the restroom and everyone in the club seems to notice him. Another guy struts out, and again, all the clubgoers smile and notice him. The camera focuses on the man's crotch, where a big liquid stain resides, and a shot of the interior of the men's room follows. A line of guys standing at the bank of urinals all stare open-mouthed at the wall above them. There, a giant Zenith flat-screen TV shows a clip of women's synchronized swimming. It took me three viewings to completely understand this spot, perhaps because the concept is so incredibly labored. A flat-screen TV above a bank of urinals? With synchronized swimming playing? I just wish our stalls at work had toilet paper. 1 star

Yellard Sorry, but I didn't wet my pants over this spot. Maybe it would have been funnier if there actually was a good reason for the guy to urinate on his trousers. I just am not buying the fact that they are putting expensive TV monitors in club bathrooms. It feels as if we're being set up for the joke. But maybe the biggest problem is that I'm tired of companies telling me how the quality of their TVs is going to blow my mind and help me enter a new reality - like make me cry when I see onions being cut on the screen or let me ride on the bow of the Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio. The funky Euro casting, club music track and artful film look only make me wish the spot could have done more for me. 1 star

Rob Feakins

Co-Executive

Creative Director,

Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York

Richard Yellard

Chief Creative Officer,

Curtis Birch, Los Angeles

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