Greg Bell, Co-Creative Director, Venables, Bell & Partners, San Francisco
1. CBS Sports "Drive Thru"
Sportscaster Jim Nance pulls up to a fast food drive-thru with his CBS Sports posse. In typical putting green announcer fashion, he relays his order in hushed tones, to the dismay of the befuddled clerk, who can't hear anything, except the word "pickles," from someone in the backseat. Tagline: "CBS, the voice of golf."
Agency: GSD&M/Austin GCD/CW: Rich Tlapek GCD/AD: Tom Gilmore Agency Producer: Jessica Coats Director: Steven Tsuchida/Oil Factory
MR: I don't know much about golf, and I like it that way. But I still liked this spot. Except for the too-concerned counter kid, everyone here plays this thing right. Sportscasters aren't easy actors. Nance is as smooth as his voice. The rest are perfectly oblivious. And the tagline gives CBS real authority. If it worked on me, imagine what it'll do for someone who actually cares. 3 stars
GB: All right, I laughed. I must say, very, very well executed. Great performances. Great editing. I love the wide shot outside the truck that emphasizes how quiet the guy is. It's too bad that seeing the logo led to my utter disappointment. This spot rips off not one, but two great campaigns done in exactly the same category. ESPN owns the "sports personalities merging strangely with real life" thing, and Fox Sports owns the "clever one-liner logic, white type on black." For that, I deduct one star per rip-off. 2 stars
2. Wrigley's Extra "Date"
An angry red gumball shoots out of a candy machine when it witnesses a young man buying Extra gum at the store counter. It launches into a whiny pseudo-rap and turns into a bouncing ball for a singalong, with onscreen lyrics, cursing the gum's long-lasting flavor and the people who chew it.
Agency: DDB/Chicago CCO: Bob Scarpelli GCD: Paul Brourman CD/CW: Craig Feigen CD/AD Adam Glickman Director: Kinka Usher/House of Usher
MR: I admire the attempt here, but this is still like watching your dad fast dance. Wrigley's, always good for an annoying jingle, tries to hip-hop one for young adults. Lugz it isn't. If it had the guts to be brazenly dorky, it might've worked. The bouncing ball device, a grab from the Mickey Mouse Club, could've worked in the contemporary setting with truly retro music and truly caustic lyrics. But this goes right for the middle. It doesn't have Mentos' lack of shame and it doesn't have Mountain Dew's spot-on dialect. It's white guys with a turntable. 1 star
GB: It's not that I don't find gumballs coming to life funny. Nor do I have a big problem with gumballs talking. A gumball being agitated is fine, too. Rapping in and of itself was once funny, and even in the new millennium it still has remnants of funny in there somewhere. The bouncing ball on supers thing, that's always funny, if you ask me. Pigeons, or any animal in a commercial, for that matter, are rarely unfunny. As far as poop jokes go, they can be funny given the proper audience and extenuating circumstances. It might even be kind of funny for a gumball to call his pigeon comrade a funny nickname. Like "pidgee." No, it's not that these things aren't funny. I just find this particular combination of rapping-gumball-pigeon-revenge-fantasy humor definitively moronic. 1 star
3. Yahoo "Hello"
Singles of all kinds primp and prep for their dates, smiling, dancing, posing before mirrors, practicing their first greetings. Tagline: "Yahoo personals. Believe."
Agency: Black Rocket, San Francisco ECD: Steve Stone CDs/CWs: Steve Stone, Glenn Cole CD/AD: John Boiler Agency Producer: Hannah Murray Director: Melodie McDaniel/Directors Bureau
MR: There isn't a frame of this spot that isn't wonderful. Shot almost entirely around bedroom and bathroom mirrors, the spot manages to speak volumes about the nine or so characters it introduces with almost no dialogue. Sure, the practice greeting, which almost everyone in the spot gives us, is a movie cliche, but it's handled here with so much restraint and the casting is so terrific, it stays genuine and fresh. The cold reality of online matchmaking couldn't feel warmer, more human or more personal. 4 stars
GB: I like this. I've got to imagine the agency was charged with making Yahoo personals feel like a "safe" place to meet somebody online. And that's not necessarily easy. First, you have to be willing to trash reams of "bad date" scripts and actually focus on the positive. Then you have to somehow capture it on film and put it together in a way that doesn1t feel flat or, even worse, completely phony. This is not for the squeamish. There are only about a million things that could go wrong during this delicate process. But everything here went right. 3 stars
4. Diesel "Oil Klash Klash"
Diesel's first spot in three years features an arid town, devoid of oil. Euro-cool young folk push their fuel-less cars around through the empty streets. A car eventually rolls out of control, creating havoc at a wrestling tournament, finally hitting a pole and striking oil. Cut to the future, when the town's streets are congested with traffic.
Agency: KesselsKramer, Amsterdam CD: Lorenzo de Rita CW/AD: Johan Kramer Agency Producer: Jacqueline Kouwenberg Director: Johan Kramer/KesselsKramer
MR: Mad Max meets Benny Hill, but in a bad way. Diesel, ever-proud sponsor of the bizarre, has told way better stories before. I'll confess, I think if you're lucky enough to get a non-advertising gig, you owe us. Sixty seconds of associative cool, with barely a product glimmer, ought to blow us away more. It's not obvious. It's not subtle. It's not funny. It misses the opportunity to be political. And no one's naked. Small logos deserve bigger ideas. 1 star
GB: Maybe it's time for me to just accept that fashion advertising is different from regular advertising. It isn't supposed to make sense. As a matter of fact, it should be as confusing as possible. Fashion needs to be exclusive to be desired, and you can't do that without actually excluding some people. Therefore, you must create advertising whose job is not to lure people to your brand but to actually drive them away from it. Otherwise, too many people might like your brand. Deadly. Following this thinking, I declare this commercial a fashion masterstroke - 60 seconds of pure confusion. 1 star