Garfield's AdReview: Small clients, shops can make ads just as awful as big boys'

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Too often AdReview finds itself scrutinizing high-budget work from the world's most famous agencies for gigantic multinational clients ... and pitilessly trashing it. This is simply unfair.

So, in the interest of balance, here are four commercials from relatively small shops for relatively small clients. They suck, too.

Doctors Vision Center

Howard, Merrell & Partners, Raleigh, N.C.

"Seen enough commercials featuring $99 eyeglasses, smiling people in fashionable frames and eye Docs in white lab coats to last a lifetime?" the agency asks, awkwardly, in a press release.

Yeah, showing the merchandise and making a quality claim ... that's, like, so been done. So instead Howard, Merrell's spots offer little punch lines about what you'd rather not see, such as (prepare for the hilarity) "Hip huggers on a 325-lb. plumber." What a splendid argument for the lab-coat shot-because, in a parity marketplace, you'd better at least be at parity. Being different for difference's sake is non-productive, unless there is at least an implicit selling point. Here there is none. The agency insists its client is a cut above, but declines to discuss it in the advertising. Hmm, what's the opposite of "visionary?"


Element 79 Partners, Chicago.

These are very funny snippets of less than impressive Supercuts snip-ees, trying to coif their way into attractiveness.

Customer: "Sort of spiky..."

Cutter: " a conservative, I-have-a-job-and-don't-live-in-my parents-basement kinda way?"

Customer: "Yeah."

Cutter: "Even though you do?"

Customer: "That's right."

Cute. But why make your patrons look like vain and self-deluding idiots? Also, the haircuts look pretty awful. This is one of those rare ads that could actually harm the business.

Fifth Third Bank

Flynn, Sabatino & Day, Cincinnati.

Hey, let's hire a celebrity! We're just a local agency with a small regional bank client, but let's pretend we're big-buck bigshots and have a real movie star!

And let's make it "Mini-Me," from the Austin Powers movies! And let's clumsily dub in a bass voice to make the "low" pitch and his "low" height doubly a flimsy and unwitty way to communicate low home-equity rates! Hey, let's waste even more money by airing this mess on television!

Kansas City Chiefs

Muller & Co., Kansas City, Mo.

See the noisy ruffians running around an otherwise quiet office making a god-awful commotion. Hmmm ... where have we seen that concept before?

At least Reebok's "Terry Tate, office linebacker" campaign is funny, and merely irrelevant to the brand. This unbelievably abrasive commercial defiles the brand. Illustrating the notion that Missourians "need something to cheer for," it's supposed to generate season-ticket sales. And it might.

These shrieking morons are apt to send thousands of fans into the waiting arms of the St. Louis Rams.

Doctors Vision Center: 1 star

Supercuts: 1 star

Fifth Third Bank: 1 star

Kansas City Chiefs: 1 star

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