Talk about turnarounds. A few years back people used to ask why the Brits did such better Levi's ads than we did. After all, we invented them. While BBH was creating contemporary American icons for Levi's, FCB/S.F. was showing us forgettable vignettes of hip-hopping kids or homoerotic scenes of buffed boys romping on the beach, rolling around what looked like a giant Dunkin Donuts bagel. At the same time, Chuck McBride was working his way up the ranks of shops like Team One and Goodby Silverstein. Now he's CD on Levi's, and his contributions have helped earn the agency honors as Ad Age's Agency of the Year for '96. Along the way, they've turned Levi's U.S. work into some of the coolest stuff we've seen in years, to which we say mazel tov.
This issue is also our annual focus report on visual effects, previously referred to as special effects, but given their ubiquitous presence in just about every genre of visual communication there's really nothing special about them anymore. Currently there are any number of approaches to doing effects spots, and we've tried to sort them out and take stock of their advantages and disadvantages. One thing they all share: a measure of risk. "I can't tell you how many white-knuckle effects shoots I've been on," says Digital Domain's VP-production Ed Ulbrich, a former agency producer at Leo Burnett. Great. Just what