Guest Review

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Lee Garfinkel


DDB/New York

Peter McHugh

Executive Creative Director


1. SBC Communications "Date"

A woman wants a family. Her date wants a slice of pizza. Either way, you can find it in the Yellow Pages.

Agency: GSD&M GCDs: Brent Ladd, Steve Miller CDs: Ray Longoria, Demian Fore ACD/AD: Jesus Felix CW: Kristen Livolsi Agency Producer: Karen Jacobs Director: Errol Morris/

LG: Before I accepted this invitation, I decided I would only do this if I could find something positive to say about the commercials. And every time I say something self-serving, I'll freely admit that it's self-serving. The only place this spot falls down is where so many good spots fall down-the product shot and VO. It feels like one commercial for 25 seconds, and then there's a completely different one (in terms of mood and execution) tagged on to the end. 3 stars

PM: On the plus side, this series has all the casting, pacing, nice film and provocative camera angles you'd expect from Errol Morris. The music's nice, too. But the premise-visual riddle paid off by Yellow Pages listings-well, unfortunately that was done in a big way in the famous Nynex campaign from the '80s. Having to cut to an Indianapolis phone book at the end doesn't help matters. 2 stars

2. Mountain Dew "Sled"

A dog drives a man-powered sled in the Iditarod, with a little help from a frosty can of Mountain Dew.

Agency: BBDO/N.Y CCO: Ted Sann ECD/CW: Bill Bruce AD: Doris Cassar Agency Producer: Hyatt Choate Director: Samuel Bayer/RSA

LG: The team at BBDO deserves a lot of credit for the Dew work, and this new spot is a good addition to the campaign. It's well shot, clever and, most importantly, I didn't see the joke coming. I hate spots where you can figure out the plot from the first second. Here's my only nitpick (self-serving): Once I saw the guys pulling the sled, it was pretty obvious that they would continue the role reversal idea and make the driver a dog. And while it works, the spot becomes a little less cool and a little more cute. 3 stars

PM: Wonderful production values. Nice CG work. Editing and sound design are all strong. But then there's that wry, dry cowboyesque one-liner at the end, and the reveal of a dog driving a sled pulled by humans. Why do I feel like I just watched a Bud Light commercial? 2 stars

3. Hummer "Search Engine"

A Hummer drives through the desert at night, as shadow-shifting light gives it a stop-motion feel.

Agency: Modernista CD/CWs: Lance Jensen, Shane Hutton CD/ADs: Will Uronis Gary Koepke Agency Producer: Charles Wolford Director: Arni & Kinski/HSI Productions

LG: Like most of the Hummer commercials, "Search Engine" is beautifully shot, smart and strategically sound. Even the title comes on just right. The whole spot is enjoyable to watch, and I get the point, which isn't true for a lot of car advertising. Is it breakthrough? No, but I'm sure that wasn't the point. The point is to keep reinforcing the Hummer brand image that Modernista has crafted so meticulously. 4 stars

PM: Hummer's gotten very moody and videoesque with this one. I like the cool, hypnotic film technique, and I enjoy seeing it here first. If I watch it like I think most viewers will (that is, watching TV while sending e-mails, while drinking a beer, while telling my kids not to shave the cat), I come away with "pretty cool commercial, pretty cool beast of a vehicle." And sometimes, that's enough. 3 stars

4. Revlon "Cinema"

Followed by a paparazzi-like photographer and the number 634, four Revlon spokesmodels arrive at apartment 634 to find ... enormous pictures of themselves.

Agency: Deutsch/N.Y. ECD: Kathy Delaney GCD: Leanne Brenes CD: Steven Brinlee CW: Dimitrios Petsas AD: Tamara Behar Agency Producers: Jim Frame, Eve Kornblum Director: Scott Hicks/Independent Media

LG: OK, I admit it. I liked this spot, but not for the usual reasons. It's missing one key ingredient: a great idea. The biggest mystery is, where did the plot go? But what this commercial lacks in an idea it makes up for in a flawless execution. In fact, Scott Hicks does such a good job, I'd like to send him my next board. The film is so beautifully shot that every frame could be a still. The music and editing are just right. The Deutsch team has made a spot that I'm sure will grab people's attention in movie theaters. It's just that ending . . . 3 stars

PM: Let me say first that I'm a Halle Berry fan. I've written her into scripts the way art directors put the Eiffel Tower into storyboards in the hopes of getting to shoot in Paris. Apparently, I like watching her so much, I viewed this cinema spot several times before it dawned on me: I don't get it. What I'm not getting is why, or what Revlon is telling me. 2 stars

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