Idea prevails over lack of deep pockets

By Published on .

Advertiser: Musica
Agency: Jupiter Drawing Room, Cape Town
Ad Review rating: 3 1/2 stars

[london] The Prudential Corp. Asia annual report won a prize. Malaysia's Chan Bao Oral Liquid won for pharmaceutical package design. Tokyo Paper Manufacturing copped "best shopping bag." In all, at the London International Advertising Awards, 147 trophies were dispensed.

To the stage. Squeeze squeeze. Photo, please. One hundred forty-seven times. Seldom has Greenwich Mean Time been so mean.

Even before the TV grand prize went to Blackcurrant Tango soft drink from Howell Henry Chadecott Lury, London, it was shaping up to be what the Brits call "a rather long evening."

On the other hand, if the more categories=more entries=

more revenue formula had some people shifting in their chairs along about the 34th or 35th hour, it also made for some illuminating comparisons.

For instance, the grand prize is a hilarious fantasy filmed at God-knows-what expense with a cast of hundreds, miraculously seamless edits and a joke that builds, builds, builds to a remarkable climax involving an overflight of three Harrier jets at the white cliffs of Dover. The ad is so funny, charming and technically remarkable that it cannot fail to make consumers feel kindly disposed toward the brand. Otherwise what it says about the product is absolutely nothing.

Fair enough. Like so many awards shows with the sole criterion of "creativity," the lack of ends justifies the means.

But elsewhere among the singular 147 is a category where the lack of means justifies only one end: hardworking creative. This is the low-budget-campaign category, won by Jupiter Drawing Room, Cape Town, for Musica record shops.

There are three spots, advertising three different record albums, including one by soul legend James Brown. It begins with type on the screen:

"Think about something sad."

But now a famous James Brown cut begins to play.

I feel good. I knew that I would now.

"Think about loneliness," says the next title.

So good . . .

"Heartache," the screen says.

So good. I got you.


Whoaaaa! I feel nice, as sugar and spice.

"Difficult, isn't it?"

I feel ni-ice, as sugar and spice.

Now, the cover of the album appears onscreen.

So nice, so nice, I got you!

"Musica," says the endframe. "Listen with your soul."

The spot is, of course, absolutely right. Like inscribing air circles in opposite directions with your index fingers, it's hard to listen to "I Feel Good" and to feel bad simultaneously. Not only is that a clever insight and strong recommendation for any music, it comes complete with the ultimate product demo. The music is the product, and it's impossible not to pay attention.

In another spot, for a Toni Braxton album, we see some languid, super slo-mo music-video outtakes of the gorgeous singer in a very tight dress. Overlaying the pictures is onscreen type: "There are those who believe Toni Braxton made it on looks alone."

Then the screen goes black, as she belts out one of her tunes. Needless to say, the passage features virtuosic vocal acrobatics. Then, another title card: "What do you think? " Then the album cover and endframe.

No big laughs. No Harrier jets. No cast of hundreds. Just a very strong idea, which succeeds because--as awards-show entry-fee collectors seem to understand better than many of their "creative"-minded trophy winners--selling is the only criterion.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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