The AdCritic

Milk, Silk, Diesel and Kia Canada

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Is Goodby's homage to The Omen the best milk spot since "Aaron Burr?" Plus reviews of new spots for Diesel, Silk Soymilk and Kia Canada. Let us know what you think by sending us your comments.

Milk "Birthday"
Milk: Birthday

What's not to like? This installment of the venerable "Got Milk" campaign has all the elements that make it a worthwhile successor to the great "Aaron Burr" and a can't-look-away spot in its own right.

For most people who were around the right age in the mid '70s -- the age when movies penetrate deep into our consciousness --- The Omen occupies a special place (who can't instantly conjure nanny/Satan's helper Mrs. Baylock and the Rottweilers, and who didn't mimic Damien's convulsions when our parents tried to take us to church?).

In the case of "Birthday," though, the gloomy lad is not silently inducing people to hang themselves; his startling powers of anticipation are used for good. Director Noam Murro captures the lush creepiness that made the movie (and the "Aaron Burr" spot, which itself had a nice disturbing tone) a classic. The idea and the execution here work together to tell a story, which is great -- it's what many commercials aim to do. But in telling its story, this spot sucks you in from the first few seconds and holds you until the payoff at the end -- which is the Holy Grail in today's TV environment. When you see an otherworldly little boy, who looks like he could have sprung from an Edward Gorey drawing, sitting in the back seat of a car in the first frames of a commercial, you're pretty much hooked.

Free from bothersome questions about whether this message works for the brand (it's "Got Milk?," for heaven's sake) we are able to sit back and revel in the lovely darkness of the spot and applaud Goodby for invoking the antichrist to sell good, wholesome milk -- not something you see everyday in advertising. (TI)

Diesel "Oil Klash Klash"
Diesel: Oil Klash Klash

Italian fashion label Diesel may be the world leader in obscure/sexy/chic advertising, but this TV spot -- the brand's first in three years -- reminds us that Diesel's brand custodians understand something that other jeansmakers have forgotten: concepts. Folks in Diesel ads may be effortlessly and vacantly gorgeous, but they also serve some purpose. Paradiset DDB in Stockholm won the Press & Poster Grand Prix at Cannes two years ago with ads that -- filled with beautiful hipsters though they were -- also imagined a world in which Africa was the superpower of the global economy. "Oil Klash" -- from current agency KesselsKramer -- also has a subversive conceit, as it imagines a world in which all the oil has run out. A disaster, right? Not compared to finding more, as the spot goes on to demonstrate.

Oblique social commentary from advertisers -- especially fashionistas -- should be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but other jeansmakers who have left narrative behind entirely could learn something from Diesel's example. After all, it's six weeks since the Super Bowl and I still have no idea what those buffalo were doing in the city or why they didn't trample on that sad, denim-clad couple. (JH)

Silk Soymilk "Conspiracy"
Silk Soymilk: Conspiracy

This ad could have gone wrong in so many ways. First of all, it could have been a gauzy homage to low-fat and clean living. The creatives dodged that pitfall with the bold concept of a refrigerator revolt, in which all the bad food conspires to eliminate the goody-two-shoes in their midst. Of course, that means talking food, a potential pitfall in its own right. Wisely, director Paul Middleditch executes this scenario with perfect camp and no special effects. What could have been unwatchable scores laughs instead. (JH)

Kia "Cart Noir"
Kia: Cart Noir

This new spot for the Kia Rio, from Publicis Toronto, does the improbable: it sets itself apart from the painfully earnest crop of car ads out there. In it, a young Kia driver carelessly deposits his shopping cart in a store parking lot, only to have the wobbly-wheeled thing start chasing him along a lonely road. It's funny and well executed and has what should be a nice tone for the brand, but there are some troubling things afoot here, beyond sentient shopping carts. The juxtaposition of the cart and the car doesn't work to the latter's advantage, it seems. I'm not sure I would want to buy a car that could be chased down by a rickety shopping cart, even one possessed by Satan. Also, the end line, "Never a Dull Moment," seems a little too open ended. "Boy, it's never a dull moment with my Kia," could be taken to mean that the car breaks down a lot, is constantly acting up, or tends to attract demons. None of those attributes makes me want to run out and buy a Kia Rio. (TI)

(THE REVIEWERS: Jim Hanas is the editor of Teressa Iezzi is the editor of Creativity magazine.)

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