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Mr. Magoo was the prop man. London's Lowe Howard-Spink spoofs the unlikely combination of film noir and the Zucker brothers in a new :30 for the Smirnoff Mule, a concoction of vodka, ginger ale and lime. The Big Sleep meets Naked Gun, directed by Crossroads' Mark Story (repped by Cowboy in the U.K.), where each shot in a tense dick-and-damsel confrontation is a continuity disaster. Tagged, "Mixed in Hollywood since the '40s," the characters carry bagpipes, turn fat and ugly and wear scuba gear and two hats, if only for a moment. People will get a kick out of the spot, though we can't vouch for the drink. Additional credits to CD Paul Weinberger, AD Vince Squibb, writer Paul Silburn and producer Claire Taylor. Edited by Ian Weil at Ian Weil Edit, London; effects at Moving Picture Company, London.

This is why Grizzly Adams won't get a beeper. In a project assignment for Netcom cell phones, Leo Burnett/Oslo has produced an amusing, minimalist Norwegian spot to illustrate the tag, "Remember, Netcom can be used everywhere." Shot from a neutral distance with a locked-down camera, we see a woodsy, professorial type standing with a group of nature lovers outside the narrow opening of a bear's den. He promises that if they are all "very very silent, we can go in and have a look at it." When he slips halfway in, being careful not to make a sound, his cell phone rings and he's promptly pulled into the den for lunch. Credits to creative director Oistein Borge, art directors Katrine Bernell and Henrik Sander, writers Erik Hersoug and Erik Houland. Directed by Strgig Ake Larsson of Leo Films/Oslo.

It must have been the ultraviolet rays that scared them. Continuing with its "Obey Your Thirst" commercials spoof theme for Sprite, Lowe & Partners/SMS' latest is a live action/animation :30 directed by Spike Jonze at Satellite. In yet another perfectly executed parody, good ol' Mom brings a tray of pseudo-juice Sun Fizz to her thirsty kids. When the animated sun icon hops off the bottle's label and begins spouting all its nutritional values, the perfect American household flees in terror. Additional agency credits to chief creative officer Lee Garfinkel, creative group heads Todd Godwin and C.J. Waldman, art director Jason Gaboriau, writer Steve Doppelt and producer Liz Hodge. Animation by Olive Jar, Boston; edited by Eric Zumbrunnen at Spot Welders, Los Angeles.

Batman goes here to unwind. New York's Gotham Comedy Club is marketing itself on the basis of just how funny it isn't. Three :30s, tagged "We know funny," running locally on cable, feature auditioning comedians who should never quit their day jobs, and a pair of Gotham bookers who need to find day jobs. The cretinous Gotham comedy judges think "penis" is hysterical, as long as it's said in a British accent, and they're convinced that slipping on a banana peel isn't funny but slipping on a kiwi is a riot. Directed by Steve Gold at Clothespin Films, it's refreshing to see a comedy club that has big enough kiwis to laugh at itself. Explains freelance writer Jonathan Schoenberg, "There's just no honest way to say that this is the club with the funniest comedians." Additional credits to art director Scott Kaplan and writer Jason Holzman.

Watch, in two years Hearst will own it. In the fashion of woefully defunct Might magazine is a zine called Stay Free! -- a pop culture review with a distinctly anti-commercial bent, sold primarily in New York 'alternative' stores and a few Borders and Tower Books nationwide. Editor Carrie McLaren, who works by day as a music company ad buyer, started Stay Free! -- named after the Maxi Pad and the Clash song -- in '93 after a long-term love affair with mass media. Fourteen issues later it's grown into a lively 76-page critique of music, mass marketing and communications. There's even a hopelessly sophomoric AdBusters-style parody of a long-running campaign on the back cover -- one issue has Tanqueray's Mr. Jenkins wetting his pants; another serves up the "Dewer's" headline, "Remember how liquor used to make you vomit?"

McLaren, as befits her day job, also sells the ads that run in Stay Free! -- yes, the anti-advertising magazine carries advertising -- mostly the usual low-budget load of indie-label record offers. Features in the most recent issue include, "Don't Judge a Book by its Cover," in which the startling similarities between Comet cleanser and Kraft Parmesan cheese packaging are discussed; "Attn: Gen X Retards; Or Honesty in Advertising: A Brief Look at the Anti-ad Ad"; and two, yes two, interviews with CUNY professor Stuart Ewen, author of Captains of Consciousness and PR! A Social History of Spin.

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