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Les Brown's brand of renown. Marucci/Herlehy Entertainment, a two-man outfit serving the Milwaukee metro area for six months, has a new POP campaign for Les Brown's recliners, tagged, "Built for the seriously unmotivated." Hanging in local ottoman empires like Montgomery Ward and Wal-Mart, the copy here reads, "He has more determination than anyone on the playground. He has a practice routine some would consider inhumane. He has a lazy, good-for-nothing, underachieving brother that we're a lot more interested in." Another ad reads, "I am a viper striking with deadly accuracy. I am a cheetah toying with my prey. I am not the target audience since they're looking for men that can belch the alphabet." Explains co-CD Jerome Marucci, who works with Michael Herlehy, "This was our dream project because it hit so close to home. We did a lot of personal product testing."

Different, better and partly yellow! Minneapolis-based Initio is providing what art director Dave Damman claims to be "a backlash to the whole in-line skate category," with a new print campaign for K2. Revolving around the unXtreem tag, "We're different and we're better and so are you," three clip art-cluttered ads aim to attract the attention of recreational skaters by promoting physical and emotional skate comfort based on a nerd-nurtured lower-cut Endotech design featuring Softboot technology. Instead of the usual kid on a railing, cute and quirky little quips like, "In an independent survey, 4 out 5 toes preferred K2s," decorate the page. Additional credits to creative director Paul Chapin, writer Ed Prentiss and photographer Curtis Johnson.

Standup for your woman. In yet one more comic celebration of the WNBA, Wieden & Kennedy has created a new Nike campaign, directed by none other than actor/director Steve Buscemi for A Band Apart, to run both nationally and locally at game time. This go-round promotes local team fanaticism with the spotlight on actor Toby Huss, who's best described as a loon, and, says agency copywriter Tina Hall, who "brings his own stuff, his Tobyisms, to the party." In nine :30s, Huss takes the viewer on a nationwide WNBA team tour with his elaborate collection of life-size cardboard cutouts. "We couldn't get the real players," says Hall, so Huss just behaves as if they were real. Spots depict Huss in a hot tub with some of the Phoenix Mercuries, ordering pizza for a New York Liberty and entering a Houston Comet in a bull-riding contest. Additional credits to agency creative director/art director Susan Hoffman, producer Beth Harding, and editors Paul Norling, Gordon Carey, Michael Fendler and Paul Rhim at FilmCore, Hollywood.


There's this little magic button on your stick shift, you see, and you press it and . . . how come everyone else on the road is still alive? It's Ogilvy & Mather/Houston for Shell, effects-heavy direction by Steve Beck and Michael Owens, Industrial Light & Magic.

Dave Damman,

Senior Art Director, Initio, Minneapolis

I dig the positioning of Shell oil as the humanistic fossil fuel provider. There's something cool in talking about the people who use Shell, and not about the glorious product attributes. But it's a lot to ask someone to follow a high-action, quick-edited story, listen to a voiceover message throughout and then turn to a payoff that is completely out of context with the "What if . . ." fantasy world. How much longer are we going to beat that "Imagine if . . ." dead horse? It's not so much about your driving experience as it is the experience you have at the station, pumping your gas. American Express did a great job conveying this in a more memorable way with Jerry Seinfeld, and the humor was actually funny.

Tim O'Donnell,

Copywriter, Rubin Postaer & Associates, Santa Monica

I like this campaign. "Stealth," "Mall" and "Train" are inventive and visually engaging and they keep me hanging on to find out what the hell they're all about. The situations are human and the solutions cool. I come away thinking Shell is the gas station of the future. I just wish they had a little more, dare I say, information on the product. "Freeway" and "Toll" don't work as well. I know Mr. Client wants to see his gas station. But Mr. Consumer and I would prefer a quick product shot and benefit, so we could be entertained the rest of the time as we are in the other spots.

Rob Jamieson,

Copywriter, Ammirati Puris Lintas/New York

I like some of these spots more than others, particularly the mid-flight refueling, which is visually beautiful and, conceptually, I find it very relevant as a benefit of using Shell speed. I wish some of the other spots were as nice. The "Mall" spot confused me. A woman is trying to find a space in a full parking garage. She pushes a button, and with a maniacal grin, buries an innocent shopper, car and all, in a huge coffin. Forgive me, but I'm just not that passive-aggressive about my parking spots. And the train spot seems derivative of Chiat/Day's "Bob's Highway." As far as the new Shell tagline, I won't comment on the similarity between "Moving at the speed of life" and the now two-year-old UPS tagline, "Moving at the speed of business." But it's definitely refreshing to see decent work being done in a traditionally mediocre category.

Brian Flatow,

Creative General Manager, The Ad Store, New York

I admit, having to wait does suck. And I would like to imagine getting gas as something like mid-flight refueling. But unless I get one of those magic buttons in my car, how is Shell going to get me in and out of the gas station any faster? Are they going to have special pumps for slow, stupid people? They did tell me I can use my credit card at the gas station. But, duh! Even a flatfooted, carless New Yorker like me knows that-Jerry Seinfeld told me. I agree with the voiceover in the "Train" spot; yes, it would be cool to "synchronize traffic" to my every movement. But it was a whole lot cooler when that Bob guy got his very own lane at the toll booth and his very own parking spot in those Nissan ads of not so long ago. Sorry, but big-budget special

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