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"There are a lot of good bank campaigns out there, but they're sweet and subdued and take a long time to root in our cultural consciousness," explains BBDO/Los Angeles creative director David Lubars, drawing a comparison to a new campaign for California's Glendale Federal Bank. "We wanted to get in there fast and let people know what we stand for." That said, BBDO's campaign, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld of BFCS, is an offbeat attempt, says Lubars, to show that Glendale Federal "turns up the juice on service."

"Most banks are happier to see your money than they are to see you," notes the familiar voiceover of Andy Berlin in each commercial (his authoritatively scratchy throat, says Lubars, "adds reason" to the proceedings). To illustrate that point, one spot shows a couple who asks to change the address on their checking account. The guy behind the desk drops his pencil and then disappears under his desk, only to escape underground through a trap door and play solitaire alongside another employee who is knitting.

In a second spot an executive gets a call from a customer who says his statement doesn't match his balance; the guy gets off the phone, pulls the blinds and sounds an alarm as employees begin to scatter and the bank sinks into the ground. The tag: "Glendale Federal. The other way to bank."

Additional agency credits to copywriter Marc Deschenes and art directors Rob Palmer and Hank Hinton.

If, indeed, "Nikon knows what bugs you most about SLRs," according to art director Steve Stone, then a Fallon McElligott campaign for the N50, which is loaded with point-and-shoot options, cleverly addresses those annoyances with a focus on its reassuring Simple switch.

The N50 "is kind of the soul of an SLR in a push-button body," explains Stone, freelancing on the campaign from his Stone Group in San Francisco. The ads, which are the first since the agency won the account, feature spectacular photos by Richard Hamilton Smith and punchy headlines: "Do not fiddle. While Rome burns" reads the copy stretched across a fiery sunset.

Other credits to art director Mark Johnson, copywriter Phil Calvit and creative director Bill Westbrook.

A channeler from Jupiter; another from Atlantis who claims to be 35,000 years old; an angel named Buddy who hosts bimonthly spiritual parties. If you think these real-life kooks could only be found in California, you're right, but they also happily exist in a clever new series of national spots from Chiat/Day/Los Angeles for Sunkist pistachios.

Directed by Jeff Gorman of Johns & Gorman Films, the six-spot campaign also includes a bleached-blonde grandma who juggles golf balls in her mouth on Venice Beach and bounces the balls off a tiny xylophone to play "Three Blind Mice." In another spot, a helmeted UFO fanatic proudly shows off his "alien abduction-prevention rifle." All spots end with a bag of pistachios crashing down and the tag, "The best nuts come from California."

Agency credits to CD Steve Rabosky, AD Jerry Gentile and CW Scott Vincent.

While last year's Timberland spots centered on the rugged nature of everyday individuals battling floods and hurricanes, this year's print campaign turns the camera inward, explains Mullen creative director/writer Paul Silverman, to focus on role models with rugged character.

Tied to Timberland's support of City Year, a youth service corps aimed at urban kids, the ads from the Wenham, Mass., agency juxtapose portraits of social workers and volunteers with like-minded photos of stormy weather. "This is a mighty wave," reads the headline over photos of a tidal wave and a man who encourages gangs to lay down their guns. The tag: "He's not a model. He's a model person."

"In each case there's a parallel between the storm and the individual," explains Silverman, who teamed with art director Margaret McGovern. Instead of depicting nature as a threat, he says, "this time it's a positive, motivating force." Though being dressed for the weather can never hurt.

Howard Schatz, who just published a candid photo essay on the homeless, shot the

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