The Work: Guest Review

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David Angelo

Chairman, Chief Creative Officer, davidandgoliath, Los Angeles

Tom O'Kkeefe

Executive Creative Director, FCB/Chicago

* - stay the hell away from my monkey!

* * - you can look at my monkey

* * * - you can stand next to my monkey

* * * * - touch my monkey!

1. MSN "Launch"

The spot opens with a father and son gazing at a giant brown cocoon hanging from a tree. Other curious onlookers from the town swarm in, along with hordes of cop cars and voracious press people. Cinematic visuals and dramatic music help to bring the cocoon frenzy to extremes. A newscaster announces that similar sightings are being reported all across the country, but "All we know is, it's one big cocoon." Cut back to the original cocoon, quivering. Out pops a guy in a blue butterfly costume. "Hey! How's it going?" he pipes, brushing the dust off. VO: "A whole new internet service has landed. Introducing new MSN 8. With better email, smarter parental controls and tougher junk mail protection. New MSN 8. It's better with the butterfly."

Agency: McCann-Erickson/S.F. CDs: Kevin Moehlenkamp, Andy Azula, Tom Giovagnoli CW: Mark Krajan AD: Steve Couture Agency Producer: Matthew Winks Director: Phil Joanou/Villains

TO: Nothing says "please laugh" quite like a guy stuffed into a butterfly costume. This one sets up to be epic with a rug pull, but commercials that try to force Second Coming importance on us have to work 10 times harder to overcome our cynicism. This doesn't do it. Beautifully shot, but you know a joke is coming and when it does it's not funny. Haven't we seen enough silly mascot campaigns to last until the next locust outbreak? Plus, the Lenny Kravitz track feels like a waste of money. In this case, the average butterfly's life span might be too long. *

DA: When I first saw this spot on TV, I was somewhat intrigued. It felt anthemic and infectious. Then, out of the cocoon dropped a human butterfly. I was somewhat disappointed, to say the least. I'm tired of seeing corporate logos turning into human caricatures, and this just reeks of a company trying way too hard to be cool. And whatever happened to that great tagline, "Where do you want to go today?"? *

2. Volkswagen "Bubble"

Backed by the Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky," a young white-collar guy goes through his mundane nine-to-five schedule, picking a suit, knotting his tie, riding escalators, making coffee in his capsule-like office space. Quick cuts and split screens show him in the same scenes but in different clothing, emphasizing the Groundhog Day-like nature of his workaday life. Mid-routine, he stops to take a peek out the office window and a longing expression emerges on his face as he looks down upon someone driving a red convertible Beetle.

Agency: Arnold Worldwide/Boston CCO: Ron Lawner GCD: Alan Pafenbach CW: Joe Fallon AD: Don Shelford Agency Producer: Bill Goodell Director: Mike Mills/The Directors Bureau Editor: Angus Wall/Rock Paper Scissors

TO: This spot out-shifts Nissan for a car commercial worth staring at. The idea is simple but the execution is wonderfully complex. They needed all 60 seconds and they used each one perfectly. The hero is great. The split-screen editing is inspired. And the happy ELO music is perfect against the redundant story, while it foreshadows the eureka moment to come. In the theatrical version there is no shot of the car, which makes it even more intriguing. I find you only get the full effect of this spot the first time you see it - and, in a way, that's what makes it so great. * * * *

DA: For starters, let's give a warm round of applause to the editor's great job. I have mixed feelings about this spot. Although it's fun to watch and the ELO music brings back memories, the whole "escape from your glass prison" has been done by Porsche and Honda, among others. I applaud all of the executional aspects of this spot, but without the use of the song, does it still work? Then again, who cares, it'll probably sell a ton of cars. * *

3. Visa "Jane's Fan"

Actress Jane Leeves from Frasier walks up to a department store counter and puts down her Visa check card for a purchase. She's greeted by a cashier who apparently can't contain her excitement over meeting Leeves, slathering her with gushing praise. Bashfully, the actress tells her, "You're just saying that because I'm on TV." The counter lady's eyes widen even more as she exclaims, "You're on TV?!" The VO explains that using your Visa card over the holidays could win $10,000 for both you and anyone of your choosing.

Agency: BBDO/NY CCO: Ted Sann ECD: Jimmy Siegel CW: Cabot Norton AD: Tim Bayne Agency Producer: J.D. Williams Director: Erich Joiner/Tool of North America

TO: Well produced and nicely written, but one major flaw - like the cashier in the spot, I wasn't sure who that "big TV star" was either. No offense, but Frasier's housekeeper isn't exactly Tony Bennett. And the announcer says something about something that was supposed to make a point, but we've been hearing him and this campaign drone on for so many years, I just kind of tuned it out. Sorry, but yawn. *

DA: Although I've been a fan of the Visa work throughout the years, this spot feels like it's trying way too hard and it's very confusing. The idea of a cashier acting as if the customer is a famous person, and then the reveal that it is a famous person and she just doesn't know it, is too much math for me. But it could be the overzealous strategy; it's always easier to blame the account planner. *

4. Sony "The Trip"

A montage of elegantly shot scenes show an apparently wealthy middle-aged man in preparation for a trip, which turns out to be a voyage into outer space. Scenes of rocket engines blasting and the man in his space suit floating joyfully in his pod accompany titles: "When your kids ask where the money went . . . show them the tape."

Agency: Y&R/NY CD/CW: Mark D'Arcy CD/AD: Jamie Ambler Agency Producers: Ken Yagoda Karen Chen, Vincent Joliet Director: Joe Pytka/Pytka

TO: Rich guy blows his kids' inheritance on a Russian Space Shuttle trip. Pytka shoots it. What's not to love? Unlike the Microsoft spot, this is an example of a big promise that delivers all the way through. There's a ton of detail, but the story never gets lost. Impeccably photographed with an interesting music selection that hits the high note at just the right spot - but the most amazing thing is that finally there's a Sony commercial that's actually worthy of the brand. * * *

DA: Boy, you gotta love that big budget. Production jealousy aside, I like the spot for one reason: it's all about reliving your grandest memories. The only disappointment is that they borrowed the real-life scenario of a rich guy buying his way onto a Russian spaceship, but it's well executed. * *

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