Heinz Goes Condi-mental

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After years of squeezing every last bit of borrowed interest from Carly Simon's "Anticipation," Leo Burnett/Chicago launches a campaign with an entirely new look and feel to sell the American icon that was classified as a vegetable by the Reagan Administration -- Heinz Tomato Ketchup.

The global effort, which includes TV, print, postcards and book covers, features pithy little sayings about the ketchup and its personality. The labels, with lines like "Are your French fries lonely?" or "Meatloaf's only hope," are even showing up in the grocery store on the bottles themselves. (For now only on the squeeze version, but they will appear on the traditional glass bottles soon.)

The TV spots are also a little off, in a good way. In one, narrated by creative director Dave Reger, the ketchup that clings to the inside of the bottle is said to have "issues." And the camera seems to hold onto odd moments for an uncomfortably long time. Says Reger, "We fought internal rhythms and habits to do something different."

Different is right. In addition to culinary suggestions for Tater Tots and eggs, one ad suggests, "Squirt some on a friend." Huh? Says creative director Mike Straznickas, "Why not? Don't you?"

ECD: Lisa Bennett CDS: Dave Reger & Mike Straznickas AD: Sarah Block CW: Eric Routenberg Director: Kevin Smith, Backyard Productions Producer: Chris Rossiter Photography: Andrew Martin

Up close and too personal

Ogilvy's new campaign for IBM's www.sessions54.com, a site that offers information on musicians who are appearing on Sessions at West 54, a PBS series, features a rather awestruck tour guide. He takes us into Ziggy Marley's recording studio; Willie Nelson's tour bus; Henry Rollins' dressing room; and a green room where Sheryl Crow is staying. No, the stars aren't there, but their stuff is. Our guide starts out innocently enough. He runs his hand over Sheryl's guitar and shows us her wardrobe selection. The title card: "Get close." Back to our guide who has picked up a toothbrush, "Dude, this is Sheryl Crow's toothbrush!" he gushes before sticking it in his mouth. The title card: "Not that close."

Client: IBM Agency: Oglivy & Mather/New York CDS: Chris Wall & Dan Burrier AD: Simone Lewis CW: Randi Himelfarb Director: John O'Hagan, Hungry Man Producers: Lee Weiss & Rob Farber, Ogilvy; Steve Orent & John Davison, Hungry Man Editor: Chris Helman, Crew Cuts Post: Larry Drosko, SMA & Peter Flack, Manhattan Transfer Audio: Michael Marinelli, Buzz

Tomato saucy

Instead of the standard beauty shots, SenaReider in San Francisco adds humor and art to a trade campaign for vegetables. Sure, there are some fetchin' fruits and veggies in the ads, but illustrator Arthur Jones' caricatures put a little life into what creative director John Reider calls "the stodgy world of produce advertising." The text on this ad reads, "A leader is crowned. The populace rejoices. And another tomato earns the right to be called Sunripe. Bella Roma -- the best-selling roma on the market. With their bright red glow and true Italian flavor, Bellas are perfect for all types of sauces, salsas and salads. (Well, that is, except Caesar.)"

Client: Sunripe Agency: SenaReider, San Francisco CD: John Reider ADS: Jon Anderson & Pyung Ho Park CW: Damian Fraticelli Illustrator: Arthur Jones

Rude food dude

Proving again to be the rudest food around, the Slim Jim guy returns in a new round of tasteless treats from Stamford's North Castle Partners. The two TV spots feature Jim belting out everyone's favorite slogan, "Eat me." In "Seventh Heeven," a girl at the counter of a convenience store points out that a guy has just eaten his seventh Slim Jim. As Jim enters the kid's stomach, he is faced by the other six and an all-out brawl ensues, causing a mammoth belch to emerge from the kid's mouth. "Antacid, aisle two," the girl remarks causally. As a special bonus, Jim is appearing in print for the first time, boldly rendered by artist Frank Kozik.

Client: Slim Jim Agency: North Castle Partners, Stamford, Conn. CD/AD: Steve Garbett CD/CW: Steve Mark Artist: Frank Kozik, Man's Ruin Director: Tim Rolt, The Directory Producer: Jack Blandford Editor: Jamie Crookston, Freelance Sound: Grand Central Recording SFX: The Frame Store

Unsafe at any price

Cliff Freeman & Partners' first effort for Budget Rent-A-Car has the rare quality of becoming more enjoyable as you watch more of the spots. The action takes place at the Budget Marketing Think Tank and shows the team coming up with new and exciting (read: dangerous) ways to promote Budget. In "Aromatherapy," soothing candles are added to the cars, resulting in everyone, including the driver, falling asleep. In another spot, a kid's Big Wheel bike is offered for rent. Unfortunately, the rider is instantly hit by a bus on his way off the lot. And in "Climb," the idea of renting a "Ford Explorer for the price of a Taurus, if you climb Mt. Everest" results in frozen dead guys. The only spot without imminent death, "Ranger," has a hapless guy getting puked on by a bear. At the end of each spot, the team realizes that perhaps they should stick with the original idea: great cars at great prices. Nah, too simple.

Client: Budget Agency: Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York CD/CW: Eric Silver AD: Jason Gaboriau CW: Steve Doppelt Director: Dante Ariola, Propaganda Films Producers: Nick Felder Editor: Gavin Cutler, MacKenzie Cutler SFX: Johnnie Semerad, Quiet ManChomp challenge

These are the wooden teeth of the Father of Our Country. An interesting piece of history, certainly, but a national treasure? Maybe to dentists, but the Atlanta History Center is billing it as such in its "Treasures From Mount Vernon" show. The copy reads, "We have hundreds of George Washington's most personal posessions, including his famous false teeth. This is an exhibit that every American should see. But probably not touch." Could the exhibit be roped off with dental floss?

Client: Atlanta History Center Agency: Huey Paprocki Ltd., Atlanta CDS: Ron Huey & Joe Paprocki AD: Rick Kourchenko CW: Bob Cianfrone Photography: Mount Vernon Ladies AssociationLike a shock

Director Tom Schiller mixes stock horror footage with original film in this new :30 for Chevrolet. Aptly titled, "Start Dammit, Start," it features montages of scared, sweaty people desperately trying to start their cars while evil things pursue them. In the last scene, a goopy black slime covers the window of a screaming woman's stalled car. Says the title card, "If only everything was as dependable as a Chevy."

Client: Chevrolet Agency: Campbell Ewald, Warren, Michigan CD: Arthur Mitchell AD: Robin Todd CW: Patrick O'Leary Director: Tom Schiller, Five Union Square Productions Producers: Jim Gilmore, Campbell Ewald;Barbara Gold, Maureen Martel & Miriam Franklin Editor: Bill Riss, Blue Highway Sound: Yessian Music

Holy Hanukkah gifts!

Les Daniels, author of Superman: The Complete History, has struck again with another profusely illustrated caped crusade, Batman: The Complete History. Boy Wonder included!

Title: Batman: The Complete History Author: Les Daniels Designer: Chip Kidd Publisher: Chronicle Books, San Francisco Price: $19.95

Just Y2K It

The only thing we hate more than talk about Y2K are commercials about Y2K. But this spot from Wieden & Kennedy, expertly directed by Spike Jonze, shows an average Joe waking up after a killer New Year's Eve party. He chucks a few aspirins for the hangover, then drags his sorry butt out for a New Year's run. So intent is he on his exercise that he's hardly aware of the Y2K apocalypse going on around him -- tanks go by, people are looting and missiles and choppers fill the air. He just keeps on running, as an escaped giraffe goes trotting by, along with a fellow jogger, who gets a pleasant "Hey." They continue on their way.

Client: Nike Agency: Wieden & Kennedy/Portland ECD: Dan Wieden/Jim Riswold CDS: Chuck McBride/Hal Curtis AD: Hal Curtis CW: Chuck McBride Director: Spike Jonze, Satellite Producer: Robyn Boardman, Wieden & Kennedy & Vince Landay, Satellite Edit House: Rock, Paper, Scissors Music: Elias Sound Design: Ren Klyce FX: Gray Matter FX

The ultimate conniving machine

After over 20 movies, you'd think the James Bond villains would have a clue. These people can figure out how to build an underwater city or blow up the planet, but the fools still screw up when it comes to 007. Well, thanks to BMW and Fallon McElligott, the bad guys may actually have a chance. For the third pairing of BMW and Bond in The World is Not Enough, we get suggestions on how to beat Bond. (See above). The thought is repeated in the TV, as a scary villainess offers the lowdown on getting 007. Another print piece reads, "The one option we couldn't bear to put in the new James Bond car." Underneath the photo of the $125,000 car is a picture of a self-destruct button.

Client: BMW Agency: Fallon McElligott CD: David Lubars GCDS: Bruce Bildsten & Tom Lichetensheld AD: Dean Hanson CW: Greg Hahn Director: John MacFarlane, @radical.media Producers: Bov Wendt & Tricia Savitt, Fallon McElligott; Jon Kamen, Ciska Faulkner & Chris Rouchard, @radical.media Photographer: Michael Rausch Editor: Gordon Carey, Filmcore Riot Sound Design: Framework

Postage dues and don'ts

What has the potential to be duller than a campaign for an online stamp service? Leave it to Wieden & Kennedy, Joe Pytka and Bob Newhart to make stamp ads fun without resorting to the standard issue of dumb dot-com humor. In "A Shameful Legacy," we meet Newhart as Frank Mettman Jr., who's inherited his father's company, Mettman Manufacturing, which is known for "ill-conceived products that carry the risk of serious physical injury." Frank Jr. is desperately trying to turn the company around, and his first proactive step is signing up for Stamps.com, which allows him to print stamps straight from the computer. Good thing too, because as we learn throughout the campaign, the company sends out a lot of recall notices, apology letters and get-well cards. Says Newhart in his perfect deadpan delivery, "We'll run out of defective products before we run out of stamps . . . and that's a comforting thought."

Client: Stamps.com Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland ECD: Jim Riswold CD/AD: Joe Shands CW: Brant Mau Director: Joe Pytka, Pytka Producer: Kevin Diller Edit: Filmcore

What, no wheel?

No this isn't about training your hamster for a middle management job. (But we're tickled pink to be able to reference another small rodent in the Work section). This piece reads, "Jobs, training and wisdom to set you free. Or, at least get you more pellets. Techies.com. Your local career source." Other ads for this online high-tech recruiter include spooky bat people sleeping upside-down in their office and a guy with a computer plug in the back of his head.

Client: Techies.com Agency: Bozell Kamstra, Minneapolis CD/AD/CW: Bob Kay & Tim O'Donnell AD/CW: Desiree Heil

Down in the dumps

An adorable golden retriever glances forlornly down at his water dish, which has three pieces of kibble floating in it. Suddenly a vision, a giant gleaming toilet bowl, complete with heavenly choir, beckons. He races through the living room, past the cat and bounds upstairs to the bathroom. His head lowered for a cool refreshing drink, he stops abruptly, whimpers and skulks away. The VO explains, "When you have a plumbing problem, it affects the whole family. Take care of it quicker with Mr. Rooter Plumbing." So now we have to leave the seat up for the dog?

Client: Mr. Rooter Agency: Hadeler, Sullivan, & Law, Dallas AD: Tom Marcantel CW: Rich Batt Director: Tom DeNolf, DeNolf Films Producers: Dan Calhoun, Hadeler, Sullivan, & Law & Jenny Wolk, DeNolf Films Editors: Ron Pippin & Stephen Bohls, Match Frame Sound: Digital Domain Music: Billy Henry, Tequila Mockingbird

Broken-field English

At a funeral, a man gets up to deliver the eulogy. He looks around sadly and says, "At a time like breasts, beer football centerfolds. Big-screen TV." He continues the speech along this vein of chicks, threesomes and brewskis. The other guys are feeling it too, getting teary-eyed, especially at "extremely hot sweaty animal sex." When he gets too choked up to continue, he says, "I'm football . . . I'm football." The super explains: "The X Show. We know what guys are really thinking." While these promos for The X Show, on Fox's FX cable channel, continue the idiotic `guy' trend of sex, sports, beer and fast food, they do it with plenty of smart humor. The acting and direction are so spot on that for a moment you actually think real sentences are being formed by these morons. Two other spots that are just as funny show a reporter and an ambulance-chasing lawyer who promises, "We don't football sex bowling until you pizza."

Client: The X Show Agency: Fallon McElligott/NY ACD/CW: Kevin Roddy AD: Neil Powell CW: Bobby Pearce Director: Frank Todaro, @radical.media Producers: Beth Barrett, Fallon; Jon Kamen, Frank Scherma & Robert Fernandez, @radical.media Editor: Tommy Scherma, Mad River Post

Mars and Venus realigned

It's very easy to make jokes about the differences between men and women. It is, however, harder to do it without resorting to dumb men-vs.-women clichés, so Oxygen Media, an online and cable network aimed at women, is like a breath of fresh air. One spot shows a woman sitting inside a car leafing through a "How to fix a flat" pamphlet. The rain outside is beating down mercilessly. She opens the window; "How's it going?" she asks. "Piece of cake," the masculine voice from under the car responds. Title card: "Men. Another great reason to be a woman. Join us online at Oxygen.com." Another spot shows a guy zipping up the wetsuit of his female companion. He then zips himself up, followed by a groan. Yet "another great reason to be a woman: No back hair."

Client: Oxygen Agency: Mullen, Wenham, MA ECD: Edward Boches CDS: Amy Watt & Spencer Deadrick AD: Rich Wallace CW: Mark Moll Director: Jonathan David, Shelter Films Producer: Susan Poor, freelance Editor: Wendy Rosen, 3-Fingered Louie Sound: Machinehead

Dog eat dog

A man sits at his computer, his two dogs, Max, a Pomeranian and Buddy, a big ole mutt, stare at him expectantly. "I know you're hungry. I just have this one last file to download," he says. Our guy keeps nodding off as the file loads slow as molasses. Hours later, when the download's done, he calls the dogs. "I thought you were hungry," he says when they don't appear. Finally Buddy skulks over alone -- except for the tell-tale white fluff in his mouth. The VO says, "Speed up your Internet. Fastpoint DSL."

Quippo

A shade hipper than "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking" is this print campaign for Zippo watches by a Pittsburgh agency called Egan/St. James. This gorgeous piece of work (and we ain't just talking about the couple) reads, "It's not the first time a Zippo has been carried into battle." The fine print adds, "It's built to survive harsh environments, enemy attacks, and all-out war. And that's just on weekends." Another ad shows a guy skinny-dipping in the middle of the ocean. The headline reads, "Guaranteed to work since 1932. Aren't you glad you're not a Zippo?"

Client: Zippo Agency: Egan/St. James, Pittsburgh ECD: Lee St. James CD/CW: Bill Garrison ACD/AD: David Hughes Photographers: Simon Harsent (location) & Tom Gigliotti (product)

Curtain call, please

In a comic invasion of privacy, Dweck Advertising offers three compelling reasons to "Get custom blinds fast" from Janovic: This poor lass trying to beat a nicotine habit; an elegant lady trying to enjoy a glass of white wine, but horribly distracted by the gigantic neon "Tattoo" sign outside her window; and a woman in her penthouse being ogled by window washers.

Client: Janovic Agency: Dweck, New York CD: Michael Dweck AD: Darren Lim CW: David McDuffie

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