Published on .

Michael Robertson

Executive VP-Executive Creative Director

Bates/New York

Client: Ad Council

Agency: Leo Burnett

Director: Bill Dear

The dummies are familiar and effective icons of traffic safety. Still, this spot was a UFO to me. So I invited a few of our art directors and writers to have a look. The distillation of their many theories goes something like this:

Kids willingly pierce their bodies with metal objects to look cool. But when they get drunk and drive, the injuries they sustain in crashes (if they survive) are anything but cool. The proof is Vince (or is it Larry?) with his body pierced by metal car parts.

Get it? Neither do I. I guess some things aren't meant to be understood.

Client: Iomega Zip 30

Agency: Euro RSCG Dahlin Smith White

Director: Danny Boyle, Atlas Films

Everything about this spot underscores the product name-Zip! Make that zero, zilch, nada. Oh, I forgot, 30. This computer peripheral might be incredible to handle your "stuff," as the copy points out, but you'd never know it from this advertising.

For starters, who are these people on the bus? (Didn't Prodigy brilliantly use the bus as a metaphor last year?) Why is that MBA burnout running a veggie stand in the middle of nowhere with a computer the size of a '72 VW bug? Could the gigantic produce he's peddling look more phony? And one more thing, what the hell does a Zip 30 do with my stuff anyway?

Client: Macintosh

Agency: BBDO West

This ad stopped me. It's so spare. It's so untechy. It's so disarming. It so reminded me of the Cooder Preference Test we took in high school, which tried to predict what careers we should pursue. And, like the test, it left me uncertain, even a bit confused. And maybe that's good.

This ad ran in Cosmo and, compared, to the usual editorial about unfaithful, bi-sexual boyfriends and breast enhancement surgery, this qualifies as a major thought piece.

In fact, it's refreshing to see Apple regaining the confidence to take the high ground of personal growth, not just the simplicity of use.

Client: Boeing

Agency: Cole & Weber/Seattle

Director: Jeff Darling, Radical Media

My guess is I spend about 30 percent of my life flying here and there on Boeing aircraft. In fact, as I write this, I'm sitting in a Boeing 737 at 30,000 feet over somewhere. So what, if anything, does this spot add to my appreciation of the Boeing brand? Damned if I know!

The film is beautiful to watch. The images are haunting, magical, surreal. But the message is totally opaque. The copy is pretentious : "We express in the grandest possible way what it means to be human." The only tangible thought that lingers with me after seeing this is to find out who shot it.

Client: Calvin Klein

Agency: In-house

Last year, Calvin Klein was forced to withdraw an underwear campaign that was vehemently attacked (and rightfully so) for being "tasteless," "sleazy," and "kiddie porn." His latest effort for jeans and shirts is a big improvement-it's only sleazy and ugly.

One model is a fat, nerdy guy. (Hey, isn't that Herb from the old Burger King campaign?) Another is a reject from

a bad Andy Warhol film, while another is Kate Moss, who's either tucking her shirt into her jeans or playing with


Will this insert get noticed? Yes. For all the wrong reasons.

Client: Lee jeans

Agency: Fallon McElligott

Director: Alan White, Radical Media

Some campaigns have to grow on me, and this Lee work is a perfect example. At first I thought the spots were pleasant but lacked the compelling concept that drove earlier Lee spots. (Remember the guy hitting an operatic high C because his jeans were too tight?)

However, the more I saw them, the more I grew to like them. The situations are clever. The production and casting are exquisite. The dialogue is genuine. Lee may never have the cachet of Levis, but you can't blame this advertising. One quibble: two themelines, "Cut to be noticed," and "The brand that fits," is

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