Guest Review

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Motorola, "Wireless"

Agency: McCann Erickson/Singapore Director: Oliver Stone, Saville Productions

Jensen & Koepke: A bunch of very fancy shots of people doing things like hanging up clothes without a clothesline, using the brakes on a mountain bike without a brake cable, the Golden Gate bridge without the suspension cables - the world without wires. Brought to you by Motorola. At first we didn't notice the wires were missing. That's a problem. The other problem is, the vignettes in general kind of stink. No story. Nothing to grab onto. Just plastic people leading plastic lives on planet art director. Better to focus on characters using this technology to solve real problems, but hey, what do we know?

Rubin: A reasonably nice thought exists behind this spot: we live in a world without wires. Unfortunately, the entire spot is crippled by a dated, confusing and overly subtle execution. I had to watch the spot several times to notice that they're trying to show us a series of images without wires. From a strategic standpoint, I'm not sure that convincing consumers that wires are disappearing is anything new or compelling enough to build brand equity for Motorola.

_Sprite, "Iced"

Agency: Lowe Lintas/New York Director: Baker Smith, Tate & Partners

Jensen & Koepke: In this spot, a male figure skater is thrown into a hockey game. The problem is the storyline. No tension. Once the skater appears on the ice with the hockey players, it stops being funny and is just about filling up airtime. Plus, it feels a bit out of character with the rest of the Sprite spots, which, on the whole, are really good. In addition, we thought it was mean-spirited. But that's just us.

Rubin: The Sprite "Image is Nothing" campaign continues to unravel. This spot is trying hard to have fun, but the action becomes repetitive quickly. By the third time the delicate skater is checked into the glass, I began to hope the spot would turn on its ear somehow. This campaign, once inspired, is becoming tired. Like Lethal Weapon or Police Academy, they need to stop making sequels if we're going to remember them fondly.

iCast, "Cauleen"

Agency: DiNoto Lee, New York Director: Stefan Smith, Miss Jones

Jensen & Koepke: Basically, these are testimonials with mid-'90s Raygun graphics mixed in. The look gives off an in-house network promo vibe. Our guess is iCast's first job is to get people to post content, hence the strategy. But there's something about the whole "aren't we cool young people with big dreams" vibe of these spots that feels forced. In general, so many Internet spots are so "me"-focused. My movie. My dreams. My vision. It's like a whole world full of freakin' creative directors. Very boring.

Rubin: A wacky zoo of typography and graphics flutter in the background behind a series of underground artists, who talk about expressing themselves on the Web with the intensity of Dennis Hopper on mescaline. A nice vibe emanates out of this campaign, but it gives me no clear idea of what iCast is (a typical dilemma in dot-com advertising). The campaign works strictly as a teaser.

Timex, "Mannequin"

Agency: Fallon/Minneapolis Director: Tim Burton, A Band Apart

Jensen & Koepke: Very expensive-looking, Matrix-, Batman-type spots. Great first scene. A woman wearing a black rubber suit dives into a black puddle and disappears to avoid capture. Then it's about how easy it is to set these new Timex watches while casting Timex in a cool light. In the end, much ado about nothing.

Rubin: Anyone who can figure out how to use the futuristic Matrix genre to sell a stopwatch is a friggin' genius. I love this spot, it's fresh and fun to watch. The art direction, production design and the choreography are fabulous. This is pure entertainment. Strategically, it succeeds in giving me the feeling that the stopwatch, an old invention, is suddenly a futuristic device. It even gets in a second message: the product is easy to use under pressure. Who knew that a stopwatch could be more lethal than nunchucks?

Rally's, "Johnny Law"

Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami Director: Peter Chung, Acme Filmworks

Jensen & Koepke: These spots are sooooooo awesome, we can't even tell you. Damn you, Crispin Porter! The difference between this campaign and the others we reviewed is startling. From the first animated frame, you love it. All great-looking and all with perfect storylines. Good for you, whoever did these, and good for the client to take a chance. You deserve the increase in sales we're sure will follow.

Rubin: Rally's took a risk by using a ramped-up Speed Racer on steroids type cartoon, with a score of heavy metal music, to sell a bacon and cheese sandwich. Somehow it works. What this has to do with good food, I don't know, but it's fun to watch the heroine, a warrior princess with a lead foot, bribe a grim cop by offering him a Rally's sandwich. If all it takes to get out of a 250 mph speeding ticket is a bacon sandwich, I may have to stop being kosher.

Lance Johnson and Gary Koepke are co-founders of Modernista in Boston. Josh Rubin is a copywriter at Messner Vetere in New York.

Lance Jensen and Gary Koepke are co-founders of Modernista in Boston. Josh Rubin is a copywriter at Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/EURO RSCG in New York.