crispin Porter & bogusky, miami
We can more or less understand why a hotshop would buy into its bad-boy-genius image to depict a couple of Joe Sixpacks smearing dogshit into the hands of a startled Wall Streeter. We will never understand how an advertiser would be so disrespectful of the audience, and its own brand, to permit it. Somebody should be pursuing other interests.
The agency and client swear up and down not only that the "Silly Little Fairy" ad wasn't devised to sneak in a sexual slur, but that nobody even noticed the double-entendre in a spot about Dodge's supposedly manly new subcompact. Yeah, sure they didn't. The swishy little guy with the Pomeranians, they say, is just a yuppie archetype. Yeah, sure he is.
3 rebublican nat'l committee
Scott Howell & CO., Dallas
Bob Corker was in a dogfight with Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. for a Senate seat. Ford is black, so naturally the RNC stoked racist fears of sexually defiled white women. Ford's own attack ads were on the sleazy side, but this implied hookup between Ford and a blond party girl was a real corker. Alas, shades of Willie Horton, it worked.
4 pirelli tires
burnett, milan, Italy
John Malkovich. Naomi Campbell. A $46 trillion production budget. This was going to be an online phenomenon, the next BMW Films! The only problem was the inane plot: a priest being called in to exorcise an automobile. What the hell? Even the 15-year-olds who (alone) watched BMW films were not going to be impressed by, basically, "My Mother the Car" on PCP.
Two years ago, Go Daddy's sendup of craven censorship was sly and heroic. The follow-up was just a sleazy bosom show, displaying no wit but plenty of cynical genius. The spot was only a diversion. The real ad was the two weeks of pre-game publicity around the 14 previous versions rejected by ABC. The network and the media got played for suckers, and so did everyone else.
6 ford motor co.
ogilvy & mather, dearborn and penn schoen & Berland, washington
Bill Ford, the beleaguered auto scion, promising that some day in the indeterminate future, Ford products won't suck. "We're rising ... making investments ... working to find ... determined to retake." Nice mea culpa, Bill. We're looking forward to the fruits of your efforts, along about the second Chelsea Clinton administration. Meantime, which way to the Toyota dealership?
gsd&m, austin, texas
"At BMW, ideas are everything," said the agency's debut spot for its new client. Yet not a single BMW idea was identified-just irritating dramatizations of corporate inspiration being squelched by The Man. The "Company of Ideas" theme, born at the agency's palatial Idea City, is probably itself technically an "idea." It's just that ignoring the product in favor of banal pieties is a terrible one.
young & rubicam, detroit
"Lincoln. Reach Higher." Oh, they did. They reached high on the dusty garage shelf for every insipid cliche of conspicuous consumption disguised as self-actualization. "My dream? To go straight to the top. My dream? To conquer ignorance. My dream? To get the corner office." Our dream: John Wilkes Booth.
gsd&m, tribal ddb, radicalmedia
The Hub was an attempt to mimic the look and feel of social-networking sites to capture the imaginations, and business, of those keen teens 'n' tweens groovin' on the outtasight Wal-Mart fashions, yo yo. ... Dude, is there anything more excruciating than some lametard adult trying to speak to teenagers in their own language? No. There is not.
Dr. Z? Dr. no.