Guest Review

Published on .

Rob Feakins

Executive Creative Director

Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners

Zak Mroueh

Executive Creative Director

Taxi Canada

1.Volkswagen "Power Tripping"

A woman tests out a Jetta while her husband plays with the power seats.

Agency: Arnold Worldwide/Boston CCO: Ron Lawner ECD: Alan Pafenbach CD/CW: James Brown CD/AD: Richard Pass Director: Nick Lewin/Crossroads Editor: Tom Muldoon/Nomad

RF: This is tough, because I hold the Volkswagen work in the highest regard. Of the series of spots they've done with dealers, this one is not my favorite. While the bored husband playing with the power seats is OK, I much prefer the other dealer spots featuring the other actor who plays the dealer. All those other spots sell me more on why a Jetta is right for my life than this approach. (2 STARS)

ZM: There have been so many great VW spots over the years. This one does a good job of presenting what I suspect was a laundry list brief. It delivers an array of features in a very believable, human way, which is no easy feat. I like the performances and the simplicity of execution. Consumers would get a kick out of watching it on repeated viewings. No, it's not the best VW spot of all time, but it works well. (3 STARS)

2. Barclays Global Investments "Opera"

A golfer breaks into song when he misses a birdie, while his caddy and the grounds crew dramatically blame the sponsor for the error.

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners, S.F. CDs: Greg Bell, Paul Venables CW: Eric Liebhauser AD: Crystal English Director: Martin Granger/Moxie Pictures Editor: Chan Hatcher/Cosmo Street

RF: Strategies for these kinds of spots are hard. What is the strategy a planner comes up with to say Barclays is sponsoring a golf tournament? Some might try the idiotic analogy of how golf can teach us how to avoid hazards in investing. But in this case, it seems the strategy is "This tournament is going to be highly dramatic, so tune in and, oh yeah, we're sponsoring it." Hell, it works for me. The series of arias that are sung when a golfer misses his putt and goes to blame the caddy who blames the groundskeeper who blames the sponsor, is funny, well crafted and memorable. (3 STARS)

ZM: This starts out nicely and has all the makings of a great commercial. It's well directed, nicely shot, but where it falls apart is in the payoff. While I wanted to love it, I found the ending a little disappointing and unclear. I don't think most consumers would get it first time around. On repeated viewings, there just aren't enough magic moments to keep you engaged. (2 STARS)

3.Volvo "Heart of a Volvo"

An interactive tour of Volvo's hometown at www.volvocars.com/aboutvolvo/heartofvolvo.

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors CWs: Filip Nilsson, Jacob Nelson ADs: Martin Cedergren, Mikko Timonen, Anders Eklind, Mathias Appelblad, Andreas Malm Designers: Jerry Wass, Lars Johansson Production: Kokokaka Itiden

RF: Having worked on this brand, I can tell you this is truly a client that cares deeply about the people who drive their cars. So the idea of a site where you actually meet the people in Gothenberg who design and build these cars is wonderful. I just wish the site captured more of the emotion of those people and why they build cars they way they do. Unfortunately, it feels a bit flat. I actually think the site would benefit from more archival footage and the new safety features would probably benefit from real photographic demonstrations rather than animation. In addition, the navigation of the site while we're waiting to upload these films is also a bit tedious. As the site launches, we're watching a plane flying to Sweden. Well, the actual flight doesn't seem much longer. The site is a great idea, but it needs finessing. (2 STARS)

ZM: Whether we're talking traditional media or interactive, the psychology of how we sell stuff isn't radically different. There has to be something that grabs you and gets you interested. For traditional ad folks, this site may seem to lack a big idea or a gag, but I suspect it was designed and built with the assumption that users are there to learn something, not just to be entertained. If you were seriously considering a Volvo, this site could help close the deal. (2 STARS)

4. Stanley "Make Something Great"

Unusually suggestive copy for the tool category is paired with stylish product shots.

Agency: Mullen, Wenham, Mass. CCO: Edward Boches CD/CW: Jim Hagar CD/AD: Jason Stinsmuehlen AD: Bob Gates Photographer: Greg Slater Digital Illustrator: Dave Nadeau

RF: You could argue that this campaign is a little traditional in headline/product shot approach. But frankly, I have the feeling the target will love this. The art direction is fresh and graphic for basically showing the product. That, coupled with the brash headlines, makes for a rather guy-like campaign. I can hear contractors repeating the measuring tape line, "Stays rigid to 11 feet, no little blue pill needed." (3 STARS)

ZM: These ads are hard-working and will resonate well with the intended target-although I see this less as a campaign and more as a series of one-off headlines strung together with a consistent look. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's too bad there isn't more of a theme or campaign glue binding each ad beyond the art direction. (2 STARS)

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