The Brits are the leaders when it comes to "Nudge, nudge, wink, wink" humor, and TBWA GGT Simons Palmer's latest campaign for clothing retailer French Connection UK managed to nudge and wink its ads right off the tops of New York taxis. (The campaign fared fine in the U.K. and the rest of Europe.) The ads feature lusty models who dare the viewer to "Think my clothes off" or "Wash your mind out," followed by the French Connection logo, FCUK. Within days of the campaign's appearance on New York cabs, many of the drivers (not usually known for their fine sensibilities), requested they be removed, and the Taxi & Limousine Commission obliged.
The agency and French Connection responded with a new "Brave But Not Free" campaign, which was rejected by The New York Times, but ran in Time Out and The New York Post. The ad finishes with messages of "Fcuk censorship," and "Set fashion free."
Client: French Connection U.K. Agency: TBWA GGT Simons Palmer, London CD/CW: Trevor Beattie AD: Bil Bungay Photographer: Blaise Reutersward
Lucky it wasn't a gerbil
A hilarious new Perdue spot is like Outpost.com meets Monty Python. Open on a typical family in a sunny kitchen and living room. Mom turns to her cute son and daughter who are playing with their guinea pig. "Kids, don't let Trippy under the sofa," she says smiling. The boy replies, "OK," but then looks perplexed and says, "Mom, Trippy's had too much milk." Closeup of Trippy foaming at the mouth, who then flies at the boy like the killer bunny in Monty Python's Holy Grail. Trippy goes after the entire family, including the dog, when a calm and smiling Jim Perdue steps into the scene to tell us about the "New Perdue Entrees. When it's just not convenient to cook."
Client: Perdue Agency: Lowe & Partners/SMS/New York CCO: Lee Garfinkel ECD: Gary Goldsmith CGHS: Simon Bowden & Kevin McKeon AD: Nelson Salis CW: John Brockenbrough Director: Tom Rouston, Tool of North America Producers: Elizabeth Hodge, Lowe & Scott Howard, Tool Editor: Mike Douglas, MacKenzie Cutler
Mother's little helpers
Mother Nature has been anthropomorphized more than once in advertising, but she's never been dot-commed -- until now. In a new campaign for MotherNature.com, she's a cross between Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin doing the telephone operator bit. In one spot, she tells us how the ancient Incas believed that the Maca root enhanced their virility. To prove this, a group of testers has been assembled for her perusal. She walks down the line of men with eyes cast south, inspecting and nodding her approval. She stops at one nervous fellow. "Is is working? she asks sweetly. "Yeah, kind . . . kinda . . . uh, yeah," he says dubiously. She turns her attention back to the camera. "I can't make any guarantees, but you ever notice how happy Peruvian music is?" she asks.
Client: MotherNature.com Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York CDS: Chris Wall, Bill Bonoma & Dan Burner ADS: Jane Whitmer & Tony Arafin CW: Debra Fried Director: Lenard Dorfman, @radical.media Producers: Alice Mintzer, Ogilvy & Mather; Jon Kamen, Frank Scherma & Robert Fernanadez, @radical.medial Editor: Karen Knowles, King Cuts
Hey, what about our cube?
We've seen the Ikea guys fix up a subway car and an operating room, but now they're redecorating spaces that are literally stuck in the past. In two new spots from Deutsch/New York, the Ikea men in white tackle the Brady Bunch living room and Gilligan's hut. The spots are shot to fit perfectly with the visual style of the shows, and the bad acting and cheesy music match too. Says associate creative director, Scott Bassen, "It was surreal. It was like having my childhood all on one soundstage. I wanted to just sit on the couch with Hostess cupcakes and milk, like I just got home from school."
Client: Ikea Agency: Deutsch/New York ECD: Kathy Delaney GCD: Cheryl Van Ooyen ACDS: Scott Bassen & David Rosen Director: Dayton/Faris, Bob Industries Producers: Guy Williams & Bruce Andreini Editor: Travis Aitken, Mad River Post Music: Martin Lund & Steve Hampton, AdMusic VFX: 525 Studios Mix: Eleven sound
Apparently the only thing more passionate than Stanley Kowalski's plaintive cry to his estranged wife is a beer lover's desire to open a bottle of Stella Artois. Britain's Lowe Howard-Spink continues its "Reassuringly Expensive" campaign by showing how costly design pieces become mere bottle-openers for thirsty rich folk. Of course, the question remains: If they can afford these baubles of the perfectly designed lifestyle, why not just shell out a buck or two and buy a real bottle opener?
Client: Stella Artois Agency: Lowe Howard-Spink, London AD/CWS: Andy Amadeo and Mick Mahoney Photographer: Jenny Van Sommers
Nike's provocative new campaign, which features more topless women than the French Riviera, brings this cheery piece of news: "You spend years exercising to tone your body, only to have the exact opposite happen to your breasts. The culprits: Cooper's ligaments. They're non-elastic ligaments throughout the breasts that, unfortunately, like to stretch. And once they're gone, they're gone." But before you cancel that gym membership, know that Nike's here with support. The Nike Inner Active sports bra can help. Instead of shaping the breasts into the dreaded "uniboob," Inner Actives are alleged to actually conform to the shape of the breasts for real support. So get back on the treadmill.
Thanks to all the internet trade sites, everyone's a Wall Street whiz. A dapper fellow picks up the phone to check on his missing pizza. He gives his name to the pizza man and finds out that the pie has been sent, but to his work address. "Seems to me that a mutual fund manager in less than the top 20 percent should still be at work," says the savvy pizza paisan. When the broker protests that it's 9:30 p.m., the guy responds, "Not in Sri Lanka," and hangs up. In another spot, a cop stops a speeder and upon realizing that he's nabbed his fund manager, who is "in the top ten, but not the top five," confiscates his golf clubs and sends the mortified manager back to his office.
Client: E-Trade Securities Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco CD: Rich Silverstein AD: Andy Azula CW: Jim Haven Director: David Ramser, The A & R Group Producer: Khrisana Mayfield Editor: Gordon Carey, Filmcore
Making a pass
In a romantic restaurant, a handsome man declares his love and proposes. However, just as our blushing bride-to-be answers in the affirmative, the man gets up and says, "Marlene, it's been a real pleasure dating you. This is Emmett, he will be completing the marriage process." Poor Marlene is completely taken off balance when Emmett, who looks like a cross between Drew Carey and Dilbert, takes over. The spot is for Countrywide Home Loans at Countrywide.com, and they want you to know that they'll work with you from start to finish and not "pass you off to some other lender you've never heard of."
Client: Countrywide Home Loans Agency: Dailey & Associates, Los Angeles CD: Steve Beaumont ACD/AD: Mark Rouse ACD/CW: Bill Waldner Director: Jeff Gorman, Jeff Gorman Films Producers: Carol Ferrari, Dailey & Associates; Gayleen Sharon, Jeff Gorman Films & Therese Hunsberger, FilmCore Editor: Michael Bartoli, FilmCore Music: Tamara Kline, Tamara Kline Music Post: Riot & Hollywood Digital VIFX: Riot Audio Post: Margarita Mix
We'll drink to that
The sight of that middle-aged guy with the crew cut, and the sound of that stoic voiceover can mean only one thing -- the Miller High Life Man is back. This time he's contemplating the sad truths represented by an allegedly full garbage bag. In "Trash Compactor," he wonders if the garbage really needs to be taken out already. After all, "A man's boot has been known to flatten garbage to the density of a fruitcake." He does just that. Now he doesn't have to take it out; he can have a beer instead. And in "SUV," he looks in disgust at the neighbor's 4x4, replete with leather seats and automatic transmission. "A man knows a station wagon when he sees one." He ends with this pearl of wisdom: "If this vehicular masquerade represents the high life to which men are called, we should trade in our trousers for skirts right now."
Client: Miller High Life Agency: Wieden & Kennedy/Portland CD/CW: Jeff Kling AD: Jeff Williams Director: Errol Morris, @radical.media Producers: Jeff Selis, Tieneke Pavesic, Wieden & Kennedy; Jon Kamen, Frank Scherma & Robert Fernanadez, @radical.medial Editor: Angus Wall, Rock Paper Scissors
A different kind of cheapskate
"When you add up gas, maintenance, insurance and financing, it costs eight dollars a day to drive my Saturn. How hard can it be to save eight bucks?" asks a twentysomething guy. Our frugal friend searches for change under his bed and buys toilet paper in bulk, which he tries to explain as "a paper mach? project" to a pretty girl who stares in horror at the 20 rolls in his arms. Temptations abound, but he stands firm. At a fast food drive-thru he skips the cheese because it's half a buck extra. And he favors the small popcorn over the megatub.
Client: Saturn Agency: Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco CD: John Doyle CD/AD: Dennis Lim CD/CW: Greg Ketchum Director: Errol Morris, @radical.media Producers: Elissa Singstock, Publicis & Hal Riney Jon Kamen, Frank Scherma & Robert Fernanadez, @radical.medial Editor: Adam Liebowitz, GoRobot
Chasing the chicken
This French campaign, for a stuffed animal known as Grumly the Bear, looks as if it belongs on the Paris equivalent of public access. It's shot in cheapcam-style and, not unlike the captivating horror of public access, we couldn't tear ourselves away from the 25 ten-second spots. Grumly is a toy that makes a honking noise when you squeeze it, and he and the hand that controls him do various silly things, followed by an equally silly custom tag. Our favorite features Grumly with a chainsaw chasing after a man dressed as a chicken. Tag: "Grumly, the bear who doesn't like chickens."
Client: Grumly Agency: Enjoy Scher Lafarge, Paris CD: Gilbert Scher ADS: Christophe Caubel & Jean-Marc Lamblin CW: Jean-Gabriel Causse Director: Christophe Caubel, Premiere Heure
How much for a 30-second spot?
In another French commercial, a sailor asks a prostitute her price and is thrilled to learn that she'll perform her services for free. Unfortunately, she comes with advertising. Someone's gotta pay, so while they're shagging away, she's rattling off slogans for weed killers, financial services and "crispier French fries." Despite all the action, her customer looks less than satisfied. So what's the payoff? It's a spot for Iliad, an ISP that offers "no-charge Internet access where ads don't spoil everything."
Client: Iliad Agency: Leo Burnett/Paris CDS: Christophe Coffre & Nicholas Taubes AD: Laurent Dravet CW: Axel Orliac Director: Damien Peyret, BBD Producer: Nathalie Gueirard
Making numbers count
Miami's Crispin Porter & Bogusky nicely illustrates the importance of every percent when it comes to quite a few things -- including your money. The headline on this ad says, "Less than 2% of condoms fail." The pay-off: "Every percent counts." Bankrate.com is "an independent, listing of all the best rates on mortgages, car loans, credit cards, CDs and more. No commitment required." Unlike this poor sap. Another ad, which features a guy digging into his lunch, reassuringly reads, "The government ensures that no more than .0009% of your food is rodent feces."
Client: Bankrate.com Agency: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami CD: Alex Bogusky AD: Paul Keister CW: Tim Roper Photographer: Will Van Overbeek
Conductor strikes back
Among GSD&M's posters for the Meyerson Symphony Center's tribute to John Williams -- the composer of soundtracks for hits like Jaws, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, and, of course, Star Wars -- is this baton-wielding blast from the movie past. Another ad has the conductor cracking Indiana Jones' whip.
Client: Dallas Metropolitan Winds Agency: GSD&M, Austin AD: Matt Davis CW: Kent