Agency: Jordan McGrath Case & Partners /Euro RSCG; MTV Animation Director: Barry Silverstein, Jordan McGrath Case & Partners /Euro RSCG
Hughes: I like animated spots, but too many agencies act like animation is an idea. It's not, it's a technique. This spot could use had a stronger concept behind the animation. (It's a pretty straightforward interview about zits.) But if you've got to show the goop inside a pimple, animation is a lot more pleasant that extreme closeups.
Butler: An animated Oxy commercial. I felt like a televised direct mail piece was slammed down my throat with a bleach chaser. Somebody felt teens have no imagination and need to be force-fed an encyclopedia of information about zits (information they already know). Animation can't make everything palatable.
The Ad Council, "Fritz & John"
Agency: Bates/New York Director: Brian Aldrich, Coppos Films
Hughes: The "Y2Vote" campaign idea for the Ad Council and the Federal Voting Program is very cool: There are a lot of idiots voting out there, so you better do your part to cancel out their weird choices. And the creative team had fun with the concept, and that's always good. Here we see two (presumably white supremacist) morons, who are not only registered voters but members of a rock band, carrying on about the power of their music. However, I am getting a little tired of the "MTV-ironic" style on display here. (MTV doesn't use it much anymore. Why do the rest of us?) Five years ago it was fresh and new. Now it's just another technique that doesn't add much.
Butler: The casting, edit, pace, voiceover and film are great. History reflects that idiots vote and vote often. Hitler, Quayle and Clinton are proof. After watching the spot, I want to tell as many people as I can to vote and try to change the world. Whether or not it will work this November is another story.
addAshop.com, "Cheese Puffs"
Agency: Dweck Advertising, New York
Hughes: There are about a million philosophies out there about how to create offline advertising for dot.coms. Do you tell a lot or a little? Do you explain the site or not? All I can say is, I went to addAshop.com because of this ad. I still don't completely understand what addAshop is all about -- but they got me there. Go figure.
Butler: Dweck boiled down a lot information into a very simple, clean and real ad. The copy made all of the information easy to digest, and I was intrigued to go online and see what addAshop.com was all about. It gives me the feeling that even I could set up an e-commerce site for cheesy poofs, perhaps.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, "Gallery"
Agency: Black Rocket, San Francisco Director: Eric Joiner, Tool of North America
Hughes: You overhear a distinguished-looking businessman recommending a stock. You rush out to buy it without any advice from an investment professional. You meet the man at another party and discover he also believes the Martians are invading. This spot is funny and elegantly produced. Give the team a big bonus.
Butler: This goes beyond the typical financial babble of numbers and quotes to communicate the importance of knowing your source. It's funny and plays off the human weakness of making a quick buck, especially in this world of dot-com fever. Finally, an online ad that isn't 27 seconds of nothing with a three-second payoff.
Visual, "Le Chasseur" ("The Hunter")
Agency: Enjoy Scher LaFarge, Paris Director: Seb et Simon, Telema
Hughes: This spot, for a chain of French opticians, is a hoot. You hear a shot. You see the hunter carrying his prey back to the car. He opens the door and calls for his hunting dog. No dog responds. Camera pulls back to reveal that the visually impaired hunter has shot his dog. Who can argue that this man needs new eyeglasses? (OK, so millions will be offended. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I wasn't.)
Butler: Love it. The ad is peaceful and sucks you into the nature and the surroundings immediately. I felt as if I was watching a foreign film. I'm so glad they end on the dead dog in the trunk instead of the man realizing he's killed his beloved hound.
Mike Hughes is president/creative director/managing partner at The Martin Agency/Richmond.
Kevin Butler is an art director at Leo Burnett/Chicago.