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Volkswagen: "Synchronicity" :60

Arnold Communications, Boston

Director: Gerard de Thame, HSI Films Creative directors: Alan Pafenbach and Lance Jensen.

Moving through the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans in a black Volkswagen Jetta, a pair of Generation X Yuppies plug in a techno music CD and marvel at how the rhythms of the world mimic the ambient vibe inside their vehicle. Think Zen, think All One Consciousness. This is the modern industrial world as transcendental vehicle, raising consciousness to a higher level, or in this case, a higher decibel. The car looks great, and those windshield wipers would make great snare brushes for a drum kit. And that acting! The guy delivers a classic piece of smug understatement: "That was interesting." Next stop, the car wash.


Volkswagen: "Crazy Guy" :30

Arnold Communications, Boston

Director: Gerard de Thame, HSI Films Creative directors: Alan Pafenbach and Lance Jensen.

Oh no. Another freak inside his car, singing and making faces. His windows are rolled up. It's night, in a lonely parking lot. Maybe he's harmless, maybe he's just a Screen Actors Guild extra rehearsing for a cameo in an episode of "Star Trek." His silver Volkswagen Golf looks like a space capsule, and he's moving inside now like a robot. Suddenly, the passenger door opens and like a rush of cold air conditioning, chilly tunes blow out the door. It's that silly song, "Mr. Roboto." Creative directors Alan Pafenbach and Alan Jensen, "the Lennon and McCartney of car advertising," have their fingerprints all over this job. The spot promotes an eight-speaker stereo system in the new Golf.

Volkswagen: "Milky Way" :60

Arnold Communications, Boston

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Bob Industries.

A beautiful, superb little road movie. Anyone who has ever driven through a wondrous night will appreciate this. A group of twenty-somethings cruise down country roads in a convertible Cabrio, taking-in all of the small wonders of nature. The moon, the stars, the fireflies. On the soundtrack, a folk singer strums a guitar and broods moodily about moonbeams. The kids arrive at a party house where a string of party-lights festoon the front porch; a poor substitute for the primal luminescence of nature. The travelers instinctively agree, without uttering a word, to leave, pulling away and continuing their road journey. This is a visual gem, void of words and hard sell. It leaves one speechless. The directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, a married couple, obviously love what they do.

Mercedes-Benz of North America: "Artists" :60

Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York

Director: Gerard de Thame, HSI Films

An automobile assembly to the tune of a Strauss waltz? It's a clever notion, and it looks industrial chic. The creators added some computer-generated imaging that allowed them to insert Pablo Picasso's head on a worker's body. The point here is that a Mercedes is a work of art. The conclusion, thus, is that the car must cost as much. Buyer beware, if you dent one of these babies you'll have to call in a curator for a full restoration. Other artists pitching in on the assembly line include Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Rembrandt, Toulouse Lautrec and a hirsute character who must be an artist but looks dangerously like Karl Marx. Autoworkers of the world unite!

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