Juicy Fruits Giant Killer Ants, Skittles' Bearded Man

And Other TV Spots of the Week

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Gum-Chewing Killer Ant
Marketer: Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.
Brand: Juicy Fruit Gum
Title: "Ant"
Agency: Energy BBDO

Nodding its antennae to 'Them,' the 1954 giant killer ant movie that became a cult classic of the nuclear-testing era, Wrigley's new commercial underscores that giant ants only make good pets until you deny them a stick of your Juicy Fruit gum.

Experienced Beard
Marketer: Mars/Masterfoods
Brand: Skittles
Title: "Beard"
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

In a move that further solidifies its position as a leader in the field of extremely absurd commercial humor, Skittles give us the appendage-beard man. Like the hairy trunk of an elephant, his beard can slither across desk tops to suck up colored candies or reach out gently to caress the chin of a human resources executive with equal ease. Some of Skittles' past ads have featured half-man, half-sheep creatures as well as lumberjacks who eat tree bark.

Racing the UPS Truck
Client: UPS
Brand: UPS/Nascar
Title: "Draft"
Agency: Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.
For five years, this UPS and Nascar series of ads has played with the wonderfully ridiculous idea of having race track star Dale Jarrett drive a clunky brown delivery truck in the Daytona 500. This year, viewers actually get to see the truck roaring around the track at 150 miles an hour.

The Making of the UPS Race Truck
Client: UPS
Brand: UPS/Nascar
Title: "Making of UPS Race Truck"
Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond
To further promote the whole project to a motorhead audience interested in every mechanical detail, UPS produced a four-minute 'Monster Garage'-like documentary that takes us behind the scenes as a real UPS truck was turned into an 800-horsepower high-speed machine in an 11-day rebuild project.

Dying Bear
Marketer: More 4 TV, London
Brand: Russian Documentary
Title: "Russian Bear"
Agency: 4 Creative, London

Although achingly poignant, this production is also one of the most depressing ads I've seen in quite a while. But the subject justifies it. Director Jorn Threlfall of Outsider used the metaphor of a great, wounded bear to dramatize the chaotic social and health conditions throughout much of post-Soviet Russia. The commercial promoted a documentary about that situation on U.K. channel More 4.

Frantic City
Marketer: Apple
Brand: iTunes/iPod
Title: "City"
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles

Well, yes, an iPod loaded with a thousand or so songs from iTunes is something of a city of music. And here, that cityscape is created with the covers of CD albums that can be downloaded from the Apple site. Best part of the whole commercial is its own music -- the frantic track "Cubicle" from Rinocerose.

Pain Pill Holes
Marketer: McNeil Consumer Healthcare
Brand: Tylenol
Title: "Holes"
Agency: Deutsch, New York

In terms of visually dramatizing an essentially mundane mechanical product feature, it doesn't get better than this. To facilitate rapid release, Tylenol drills holes in its Rapid Release Gel capsules. Director Thomas Cobb has used high-suspense music from Musikverguegen together with visuals that give the whole thing the feel of an undersea high-tech thriller. But in the end, the message is as simple as this: little holes in your pain pill.

Nagging Dummy
Marketer: Sprint Nextel
Brand: Sprint Nextel
Title: "Ventriloquist"
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York

Here's just want we all need sitting in our living room at the end of an exhausting day at the office: a nagging dummy.

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