Hurrah! Gary Coleman is back! And he has a new detective series. Or so you think. Just as you're turning to the person next to you and saying, "It's about time someone tapped into all that dormant cultural capital left over from Different Strokes," that's when Orkin and JWT get you with the old cockroach trick. Even if Gary isn't going to have his own show, maybe, if we're lucky, this commercial will propel him back to the star status he deserves.
Client: Orkin Agency: J. Walter Thompson/Atlanta CD: Michael Lollis/Scott Nelson ACD/AD: Tom Moore/Steve Kolander
What creative team wouldn't love to work on a small client with the word "exotic" in the company name? Sullivan Higdon & Sink rises to the occasion for an exotic-pet store with clever copy that calls the store's true purpose into question, especially when a lizard is described as "ribbed for your pleasure." But, you know what they say - sex sells, even if it's sex with a hairy spider.
Client: Exotic Pets Agency: Sullivan Higdon & Sink, Wichita, Kans. CD: Joe Norris CW: Steve Hobson AD: Scott Flemming Electronic Artist: Jim Reed Photographer: Steve Gerig
Drawing from the legacy of Bolt.com's reality commercials and the Levi's karaoke campaign, Sprite finds its newest anti-posturing messages in the earnest freestyle rapping of some urban teens. The rhymes' messages tend toward afterschool-special themes, but the delivery is fresh and endearing. In one, a teenage guy stands outside what looks like a school or community center and begins to rap about his need for attention and its effect on his schoolwork. "I started acting the fool, and all of a sudden I'm the man, all of a sudden I'm cool," he spits. "Though I got the attention I craved, the next year when school started I was stuck in that grade, and mom's mad now, oh yeah, she's ready to burst. I know now, dawg, that was a turn for the worst," he concludes.
Client: Sprite Agency: Lowe Lintas CD/CW: Dean Hacohen CD/AD: C.J. Waldman Director: Earl Griffin Production Company: Echo Films Editor: Steven Ford/Teri Altman
Do the Mashed Potato
A potato committing suicide (by impaling itself on a carving fork) over the loss of its favorite margarine is funny. That same potato wiggling, almost imperceptibly, to Air Supply's "All Out of Love" is just plain hilarious. In this simple spot, shot with few effects, O&M/Toronto manages to create empathy for a potato. Maybe too much empathy; after a number of viewers complained, parent company Unilever pulled the spot off the air.
Client: Imperial Margarine Agency: Ogilvy & Mather/Toronto CD: Janet Kestin/Nancy Vonk AD: Chris Ward/Ian Letts CW: Dave Ross/Michael Gelfand Agency Producer: Brenda Surminski Director: Todd Lincoln Production Company: Industry Films, Toronto Editor: David Hicks, School, Toronto Sound: Pirate Radio & TV, Toronto Music: Air Supply
Potato comedy is in this month; a spot for Australian radio station Triple M FM goes a step further with spud-related black humor. Two geeks slip into the office parking lot and shove a potato into the muffler of a shiny sedan. The car's owner then emerges from the building, scoffing at his dorky colleagues. The pranksters giggle behind a bush, waiting for that sputtering engine - until the entire car explodes. The radio station's sage advice in the wake of this tragedy? "Leave comedy to the experts."
Client: Triple M FM 104.7 Agency: CMI, Venice, Calif. CD: Bob Benderson CW: Roderick Fenske AD: Mark Tiedemann Director: Mark Tiedemann Production Company: Celsius Films Editor: Tim Squires, Good Edit Effects: The Orphanage
Cheese may be good for you, but it isn't good for national security. In this DDB campaign for Dairy Management, aliens attack, rockets blast, and buildings explode. In the meantime, Mighty Mouse sits happily, obliviously working his way through a plate of cheese, clearly not on his way to save the day.
Client: DMI Agency: DDB/Chicago Group CD: Don Pogany CD: Graig Feigen/Adam Glickman AD: Adam Glickman CW: Craig Feigen Director: Kinka Usher Production Company: House of Usher Effects: Method, Santa Monica Animation: Renegade Music: Elias/Asche & Spencer
What aging hippie wouldn't love to revisit those druggie days by witnessing a hallucination come true? Between the llamas and the fire dancers, this is like a community acid flashback for the Berks-and-socks crowd. Luckily, these dubious attractions don't have to rest on their own merits; these spiffy yet down-home posters will attract the multitudes.
Client: Alberta Cooperative Grocery Agency: HMH Advertising CD: Dave Born AD: Mark Conachan CW: Steve Cox
Fallon reprises its hysterical work for Conseco insurance with two new spots about retirement and life insurance. As an old woman sits on a park bench, an organ grinder monkey runs up to her. She offers him change, but the monkey puts a wad of bills in her hand. "Marie, take this," he urges. "Roger?" she says incredulously. Her reincarnated husband tells her to come back next Tuesday when he "makes a killing." Conseco questions the wisdom of this kind of life insurance and offers a better solution. In another spot about retirement savings, a family greets its grandparents who have flown in - in the cargo section, squeezed into suitcases.
Client: Conseco Agency: Fallon/New York CD: Kevin Roddy AD: Chris Brignola CW: Bobby Pearce AAD: Matt Vescovo Agency Producer: Nancy Gentry Director: Fredrik Bond Production Company: Harry Nash Editor: Mackenzie Cutler
Doubletake's documentary film festival challenges reality-TV watchers with the question: "How much reality can you take?" It turns out that reality is a lot easier to stomach when it comes in the form of bickering roommates or conspiring castaways. The spots for the film festival feature a female WWF-style wrestler explaining the difference between her character and herself - "If all this doesn't work for me, I'm gonna be a lawyer," she explains sincerely - as the camera cuts intermittently to shots of her pounding an opponent with a chair. Others feature the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant where a cook picks up dropped food and rearranges it back on a plate, and, in the most affecting, scenes of bathers in the Ganges, washing themselves in water where dead animals and trash rot only yards away.
Client: Doubletake Documentary Film Festival Agency: McKinney & Silver ECD: David Baldwin AD: Dino Valentini CW: Kim Nguyen Photographer: Lars Topelmann/Kyle Hood
Seattle Mariners Jay Buhner and Jeff Nelson, who have been teammates more than once in their Major League travels, sit quietly on a couch while an earnest young psychologist recounts their history of on-again, off-again "friendship." "Feelings can't be turned on and off like a faucet," she says. "But you both know that." Soon she has them role-playing with puppets, practicing trust games, and writing in journals. "I'm not only learning about my relationship with Jeff," writes Buhner. "I'm learning about my relationship with me."
Client: Seattle Mariners Agency: Copacino CD: Jim Copacino AD: Jerry Kopec/Sherelle Sinko CW: Ben Steele/Jim Copacino Agency Producer: Sue Mowrer Director: Ron Gross Production Company: Blue Goose Films, Seattle Editor: Jana Turiano, Slice, Seattle
Do Spreadsheets Count?
The School of Visual Arts has embarked on a campaign for its continuing education division that will make sedentary New Yorkers' skin crawl. Though the entreaty to "Make something" may seem like a vague tagline, it can be an earth-shattering notion for the city's many desk jockeys; just as the poster reading "Are you comfortable?" will hit home for those who spend their days in ergonomic chairs. This campaign comes with a guerilla component, including SVA students trolling the city and giving passers-by sketches of themselves, stamped with the aggressive tagline.
Client: School of Visual Arts Agency: Wieden & Kennedy CD: Ty Montague/Amy Nicholson AD: Kim Schoen CW: Ilicia Winokur Designer: Joshua Whitlock
Riffing off the award-winning television campaign featuring potentially dangerous marketing ideas (like free aromatherapy or personal rocket service to your car), Cliff Freeman takes the bad advertising concept to a goofier level with the kind of hyperbole, cliches, and irrelevancies found in your average used-car sales pitch. The storyboard layouts don't discriminate against bad puns ("egg-cellent!"), sloppy, tactless design (a photocopied picture of Charles Manson's head stuck on an illustrated body), or unnecessary gore (a guy sawing off an arm and a leg to rent a Ford Explorer).
Client: Budget Agency: Cliff Freeman and Partners CD: Eric Silver AD: Reed Collins CW: Richard Bullock Illustrator: Jim Hopkins
Absinthe, the alcohol so powerful that it has a disease named for it, absinthism, has been reintroduced to an American audience, sans the infamous psychoactive ingredients. Absente absinthe, "Absinthe refined," is made without the wormwood, the botanical said to have escorted the likes of van Gogh, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud to their respective private hells. Absente taps into the seemlier side of the absinthe tradition - namely, its connection with artists and creativity - with this beautiful poster campaign.
Client: Absente Absinthe Agency: Gigante Vaz, New York CD: Paul Gigante
The Shoulders of Giants
Everyone has heard Bill Bernbach quoted ad nauseam, but who knew that the founder of adlife as we know it never worked nights or weekends? Or that he won his agency the VW gig but couldn't get his colleagues to work on an account associated with Hitler's Germany? Philippe Lorin profiles five Mad Ave forefathers, including Leo Burnett, Albert Lasker, and David Ogilvy, and offers historical and biographical insight into the architects of our ad world.
Philippe Lorin, New York: Assouline Publishing, 2001. $29.95
As AIDS research and awareness groups move from their once-revolutionary status to a supporting role in the PSA clutter, Seattle's Leonhardt group imbues the AIDS ribbon with some new significance.
Client: Lifelong AIDS Alliance Agency: Leonhardt Group, Seattle CD/Designer: Ray Ueno