Editor's Letter, December 2007

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In 2007 especially, it felt like we were comparing companies that were quite different from one other, even within our agency/interactive/design categories. Already, the distinction between interactive agency and agency agency is seeming forced (in the interactive stakes this year, the race came down to eventual winner R/GA and a "full service," not an interactive agency—Goodby). In choosing a new agency like Droga5 for Agency of the Year we were pointedly recognizing innovation over a bigger reel of advertising. Our design mover of the year, Yves Behar, makes an interesting point (see next page) about the computer industry—that computer makers mostly just work to existing specs, to legacy, rather than work to create something totally new. I think the sentiment is applicable to brand creativity and speaks somewhat to our choice. This year we recognized a company that, to use Behar's words, was "a little legacy and a lot of new thinking."

Moving along, as always there were many creative moments worthy of citation not included in the work of our winners and runners up. Here, in our annual year end round-up, are just a few:
Hasbro (U.K.) "Mr. Patate": This one squeezed in there right at the end of last year, but its excellence is enduring. In this spot that is at once sophisticated and wondrously child-like (yes, that's very, very hard to pull off) we go inside Mr. Potato Head inc., where "nothing is at the right place." Messrs. Thirache and Herve at DDB Paris have delivered a veritable bouquet of freshness in advertising this year, with a delightful personification of everyone in a chap called Mathieu's mobile address book in a spot for Bouygues Telecom and a recent outing for Brandt appliances.

Another unexpected French gem: Smart Car "Roswell" from CLM BBDO Paris. It doesn't sound like much on paper, but one of the dialogue highlights of the year comes when this spot's haughty, slightly effeminate alien peers from the operating table out the window at the universally adored little car and sniffs, "I'm not a fan."

Meanwhile in Argentina: Santo continued to turn out some of the most lovable work in the industry. We saw the agency up the ante on Lux, following last year's Balloon spot with the superb Kleinman-directed "Neon," in which a lady of light gets even more luminous after a bath. The agency also added to its Coke repertoire with a series of spots featuring the Chirimbols, an animated collection of doodles that bring a light heart to some everyday scenarios. And of course there was the tale of Juan Manuel Fraga, the bald guy who asked for—and got—hair from the audience of ads in a campaign for Telecom Arnet.

Salamanders and transvestites: Thailand contributed its usual flair making art for the unlikeliest of products. In "Jing Jok," a spot for Shera Flexy Board ceiling board (yes, ceiling board) from Publicis Thailand, star-crossed salamanders meet a tragicomic end. And the irrepressible Jeh United returned with a stellar outing for Sylvania light bulbs that brought some memorable monsters into the light.

HBO Voyeur: An integrated campaign from BBDO New York which gave viewers what seemed like a peek into the lives of a lively group of apartment dwellers via Jake Scott-helmed video that appeared on the side of a building, online and on HBO mobile.

Xbox Halo 3: What do you do when you're charged with touting the most anticipated media release of the year (and it would turn out, the best selling release of all time). Well, it doesn't' hurt if you create some of the most visually stunning work of the year as McCann unit T.A.G. and AKQA did, helped along by MJZ's Rupert Sanders and Go Films' Simon McQuoid. The "Believe" campaign is based around an intricately detailed diorama depicting a "historic" battle within Halo. McQuoid's spots center on haunting moments with "veterans" recounting their days in country at the "Museum of Humanity." RSA's Neill Blomkamp weighed in with a few eye-popping client-direct videos that brought Halo into eerie live action.

The Fallon London phenomenon: As if building a car out of a cake weren't enough, Fallon London brought the world what it had always been waiting for (even if the world didn't quite know it): a gorilla playing drums along to Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" in a video for Cadbury. The agency rounded out the year with another fairly eye catching number, the latest Bravia extravaganza, "Play-Doh."

And: The One and Only No Spot Film Festival winner, The One and Only Herb McGwyer Plays Wallis Island; from Moxie Pictures director James Griffiths; everything from Yugo Nakamura; the campaign for The Simpsons Movie; the Professor Brothers.

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