Mr. Kipling's Virgin Birth and Other Not-for-the-USA Fare

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As we end 2003 "TV Spots of the Week" takes a look out across the world at some of the advertising work deemed, for one reason or another, to be of "Not For The U.S." status. These are all ads that American audiences are not intended to see.

Mr. Kipling's Virgin Birth
Saatchi & Saatchi, London, adds holiday spirit to the latest spot in which a fictitious Mr. Kipling is forgiven mistakes because Mr. Kipling Cakes are so delicious. A woman playing Mary in a school nativity play goes into genuine, agonizing labor and gives birth on stage. A shocked parent asks the vicar: "Has Mr. Kipling ever directed a Nativity play before?" The vicar says, "No, but he does make exceedingly good cakes." The British public so railed against this spot as "blasphemous" and "offensive that it was pulled from the air."

Gucci's G Spot
Gucci went for the G-spot in double-page ads, created in-house for European editions of Vogue, showing model Louise Pedersen displaying her pubic hair shaved into the letter G as a man kneels before her. "The G-spot is the ultimate in branding," Gucci's then creative director, Tom Ford, told the U.K. press. "I even considered selling a Gucci waxing kit in the stores."

Anti-Drug Mutilation
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America produces tame stuff compared to this nauseating Saatchi & Saatchi, Auckland, anti-drug spot for Care New Zealand. A young man out clubbing digs his fingers into his skull, peels back his own cranium, and extracts a chunk of what's still left of his exposed brain. He chops up the bloody grey matter with a credit card and snorts the bloody pulp.

Smith's Beer
John Smith's wildly popular U.K. beer spots by TBWA star well-known comedian Peter Kay as an overweight, useless parent who uses a sausage and a beer glass to illustrate the facts of life. Only a U.K. marketer would endorse such a loser as a brand spokesman -- and let him explain sex explicitly to a 4-year-old.

Upside Down Journalism
In a blurring of editorial and advertising content common in some countries, MindShare negotiated with Singapore's No. 2 newspaper to promote the launch of Gillette's Mach 3 Turbo razor by printing the daily's front page in reverse to convey the brand message of "No up or down" and writing an editorial about the world "becoming upside down."

Cockroach Woman
Americans aren't zen enough to relate to the plight of the Thai woman who is in denial about her reincarnation as a cockroach. Too late. If only she had bought Osram's Sylvania "monk packs" of light bulbs, which include a donation to Buddhist monks and temples, and avoided the bad karma of being reincarnated as a lesser being. The spot is by Saatchi & Saatchi, Bangkok.

Rainbow Feet
It takes a casual but fashion-conscious tropical country like Brazil to promote inexpensive rubber flip-flops as informal evening wear, the latest use for the ubiquitous, brightly colored footwear that Brazilians already wear to the beach and while shopping. The multicolored print ads for Havaianas are by Almap BBDO, Sao Paulo.

Wordless Skin Mag
In a burst of honesty, the Filipino edition of men's magazine FHM admitted in a print campaign: "We're not sure why we bother with the words." That strapline ran above mock magazine covers with dummy text like "Blah blah blah" around the scantily-clad models. BBDO Guerrero Ortega, Manila, did the ads for FHM's Philippine publisher, Summit.

Won't Work Here
Although it was wildly popular throughout ad agency creative departments, Honda U.K.'s two-minute "Cog" commercial will not be seen by U.S. audiences. A U.S. Honda executive acknowledged the Wieden & Kennedy, London, spot was "cute as a button," but said it wouldn't work in America, due to lack of product benefits and the high cost of 120 seconds of airtime.

U.S. Actors in Japan
American actors cash in by making ads in foreign countries, especially Japan, touting products they would never promote in the U.S., with the contractual stipulation that the commercials never be seen in this country. But now the japander Web site specializes in showing such ads.

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Normandy Madden and Emma Hall contributed to this report.
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