The AdCritic

Diet Dr Pepper, Delta, Jack in the Box and Adidas

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Diet Dr Pepper may taste more like regular Dr Pepper, but which has the better ads? Plus, our editors review new ads for Delta Air Lines, Jack in the Box and Adidas. Let us know what you think by clicking here.

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Diet Dr Pepper "3"
Diet Dr Pepper: "3" and Medievel Knievel

These new spots from Y&R/New York are a follow-up to a previous campaign which introduced the "Not everything can be as good as the original… But Diet Dr Pepper is" tag. Like the first round of ads (which included "CHimPs" and "Green Bay Watch"), these spots present some funny, goofy case studies in generational degradation -- copies that do not live up to the quality of the originals. In one, a famous scene from Bo Derek vehicle 10 is recreated with somewhat more jiggly and significantly less appetizing results. Another posits an olde english daredevil, Medievel Knievel, who uses a trebuchet for his attempted leap over a row of horses -- again without the success of his motorcycle-borne predecessor. Without wading into murky waters of gender politics or logic (neither have any business in ad reviews, do they?), we can pronounce these spots good goofy fun -- a damn sight more fun than many of today's soda pop efforts. The spots are worlds away from the regular Dr Pepper "Be You" ads, featuring musical celebs riffing on originality, which is curious, but probably a good thing. The quirky tone seems right for the brand. The problem with the spots, as with many, is that they have the whiff of a stale formula about them. The campaign relies on this formula to make the case that the product is as good as the original. (Which brings up a quibble. The spots use the line: "Tastes more like regular Dr Pepper." More than what? More than some previous formulation? More than Windex?) A fine goal, I suppose, but it seems a lost opportunity to really leverage the seemingly very-leveragable left-field quality of this product. (TI)

Delta "Powder Room"
Delta Air Lines: Powder Room and Bakery

It's been a year since Mark Tutssel jumped the pond to become deputy chief creative officer at Leo Burnett USA. Whether there's a correlation or not, the creative bar has risen steadily since his arrival. In the last year, we've seen wild work for Altoids, whimsical work for Allstate and spot-on work for Secret come out of Chicago, just to name a few. The "Hate Lines?" positioning for Delta Air Lines is likewise pretty original, at least insofar as it focuses on service rather than consumer sympathy, as campaigns for other major airlines -- who apparently view themselves as quasi-governmental agencies -- tend to do. With this campaign, Delta positions itself as the only major carrier up to answering the challenge from upstarts like Southwest and jetBlue. From print that features "Delta Air Lines" with "Lines" crossed out, to clever outdoor executions in which the copy itself is made shorter by deleting letters, the campaign does just that. Two ads airing in the New York market stick to that no-waiting positioning. In one, a club girl takes her time in front of the mirror after ducking the line to the women's room and using the men's instead. In another -- which touts Delta's incredible offer to "print your own boarding pass" -- a woman has collected enough numbers from her corner bakery that she's always next in line. It's an original scenario that perfectly illustrates a unique customer service. It's also good advertising. (JH)

Jack in the Box "Intern"
Jack in the Box: Intern

I have never been to Philadelphia so I can't vouch for the veracity of the stereotype lampooned in this spot. But I can see that it's a West Coast chain having a bit of fun at the East Coast's expense. Kevin the intern is sent to Philly to learn how to make an authentic Philly cheesesteak, and six months later he comes back all Philly rocker, complete with a mullet. Shouldn't take it too seriously I guess, but it is all a bit pedestrian from a chain that has given us a lot better before. What's more, the product shot looks yucky and why does Kevin come off as so "Noo Yawk" when he hits on Jack's assistant? And never ever trust a brand that has to actually state that it's "really authentic"." (SH)

Adidas "Toe-to-Toe"
Adidas: Toe-to-Toe

If this spot were to be taken entirely at face value as a piece of pure entertainment, there is little that you could argue with. It's nicely enough shot, it's funny enough, and it's basketball enough. But what it absolutely isn't is Adidas enough. This is prime Nike territory, and if you play with a big cat like Nike you are going to get scratched. Whatever you think of Reebok's Terry Tate campaign, it represents a new clear direction for the brand that shies well away from Nike's tone -- especially in the pastiche of the streaker. Adidas is currently lacking that clear and confident tone of its own. (SH)

(THE REVIEWERS: Jim Hanas is the editor of Teressa Iezzi is the editor of Creativity magazine. Stefano Hatfield is a contributing editor to Advertising Age and Creativity.)

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