Sometimes, though, half-truths and fabrications are not quite so easy to dismiss. I had initial reservations about the Nike skateboarding spots. Sorry to be such a fuddy-duddy, but isn't it a little disingenuous to equate skateboarders, who can indeed be a danger on streets and sidewalks, with tennis and golf players, who do their thing in a discreet space? The sheer brilliance of the Goodby spots, and their light humorous touch, won me over. Tone is important (at least to me) in determining the likability or offensiveness of a less-than-truthful message. A combination of earnestness and untruth is deadly.
Which leads me to another award-winner, BMP DDB's "Protection" spot for the Volkswagen Polo, shot by Jonathan Glazer. I love the Polo campaign in which people experience quiet amazement at the Polo's low prices (done by the same outstanding British agency). But the Glazer spot is a different kettle o' fish. For all its black-and-white beauty, it's pompous and plodding. Worse, it's a bold-faced lie. We see rioters, a firefighter and a fallen jockey, all curling up in a fetal position to protect themselves from pounding batons, a fireball, and galloping horses, respectively. The message? You're safer if you make yourself small -- so a little car like the Polo provides maximum "protection." The Cannes jury thought the spot worthy of a Silver Lion. I think it's worthy of a few lawsuits ("reckless disregard for human life" might stick), but at the very least it's worthy of discussion. Now, the spot was indeed debated in Cannes, during a panel session called, I think, "The Art and Science of the Commercial." But it was all about camera angles and production values. When an audience member questioned the outrageous claim, the moderator coolly replied that "We're not here to discuss those things today."
If not then, when? If not there, where? Creativity's pages might not be a bad