PICKS OF THE WEEK Volkswagen "Angel's Day Off" and adidas "What's Inside"

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Hand me a tissue, because we've got a rare double Pick on our hands.

Yep, it's a complete cop out. But it's not every week you get two spots that demand a citation for sheer executional brilliance.

Volkswagen "Angel's Day Off"

VW "Day Off"
DDB/London and Frederic Planchon take what could be seen as a somewhat ungainly idea—the VW Polo is so reliably safe that its owner's guardian angel, knowing he's redundant while his charge is driving, takes some time off and catches up with the fleshly hoi polloi —and inspiration from the visions of angels that the movies have given us over the past years and make something that's a little piece of ad heaven. Planchon gives the angels-sampling-quotidian-mortal-pleasures conceit some unexpected and beautiful touches. Among them: the scenes of ordinary people in an ordinary (aggressively so) city going about their ordinary lives on a grey day; the depiction of the legion of angels as shirtless, nondescript (except for the wings) men who look more tired and wounded than superhuman; the subtlety of the interplay between the angels; and the music. And of course there is much to love in the scenes of the off duty angel observing and listening in to random human moments, particularly one which has him looking at a boy looking at insects. It's all too gorgeous (if I may use that expression anymore in the context of a car ad) and the kind of stunning cinematic beauty that one senses will become rarer in the coming years.

adidas "What's Inside"

Adidas "Whats Inside"
Hmmm. It's a spot that makes real the facets and fantasies of a basketball star while showcasing the acting skills and general humanity of a top player with a new shoe. It feels like I\'ve been here before.

But forget the minor timing glitch—it's TBWA/San Fran and Noam Murro and it's a great spot spectacle.

Admittedly I could hardly be further from the target. And since I generally think pro athletes are probably really unpleasant people when you get down to it, anything that dimensionalizes them—in this case, Garnett's pre-game inner movie reel—works for me. But what's stunning here is the fantastic, theatrical way Garnett moves from futuristic battlefield to city street to playground (in a double-take inducing scene) to stage to gladiator area, before taking the court. Another Murro miracle.
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