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This week's Rate the Ad. Appleton Rum. There seems to be something going on here about maturity and the eternal Darwinian struggle, but we'll leave it to you to figure it out. Is this ad sucking a cherry? Or is it just sucking? Rate it on a six-degree taste scale of excellence on the PrintCritic Sweet Meter, with 5 being the top score: 5 Very Sweet, 4 Sweet, 3 Semi-Dry 2 Dry, 1 Extra Dry, 0 Sour. And feel free to write in your comments about the art direction, the photography, the copy, the typography, the concept, whatever. Click here to play.

Trying Hard Enough?
Last week's Rate the Ad. It's a delivery dead heat. DHL's screaming yellow crate-and-forklift combo garnered an even 50/50 split on the Sweet Meter's Good/Bad ratio, comparing the top half of the meter to the bottom half, with a tie for biggest bloc of votes between Sweet and Extra Dry. Predictably, many respondents compared the ad to the Avis "We Try Harder" campaign from the Golden Age, some favorably, some unfavorably. But that 34% in the Sweet Zone is pretty impressive, especially for an ad that hasn't got a partially clothed woman in it. Here are the results.

5 Very Sweet 14%
4 Sweet 20%
3 Semi-Dry 16%
2 Dry 15%
1 Extra Dry 20%
0 Sour 15%

And here are some of our fave responses.

1 Desire to do good does not make your product good. I would like to be the best sexual partner in the world, but does that make it so?

4 DHL the underdog — I thinks this is stated very well, and it just might put a little shake in those complacent brown vans.

0 It's dull, cluttered, industrial-looking garbage. And call the phone number. If DHL has something to prove, then a real person should answer, right?

2 The concept is a bit dry and average. With this visual, you really need some strong, knock-you-on-your-ass copy, and it just looks like the copywriter was off for the week.

0 Is there a concept here, or just Avis' 42-year-old strategy written as a headline?

5 This ad quickly rises to the top. Totally relates with the hungry small-business guy trying to prove he can make it.

2 The visual doesn't work as hard as the headline. The concept is strong, but the ad just didn't get me there.

5 Couldn't be any more clear about what this ad says.

5 This ad hasn't got a prayer of being an award winner, but it does something that so much advertising doesn't do today: It sells its client's service clearly and easily.

1 Hopefully, that's the agency that created this ad in the box, and they're being shipped off to Guantanamo.

2 Another "underdog" campaign, but what does the imagery have to do with the message? The only thing this ad has going for it is the tagline.

1 They couldn't come up with something a little more catchy? And what the hell is in that crate?

1 My goodness, I had no idea that DHL had such a chip on its shoulder. Just for that, I'll stick with FedEx.

0 Just looking at the ad causes me not to trust them.

4 Considering that DHL lost three very important packages for me, I'd say they really do have something to prove. Hope their service picks up like this ad!

0 They're right! For years, UPS and FedEx have proven their reliability, efficiency, consistency, service and value. DHL hasn't.

1 DHL has been around for a long time. Sorry, but don't try kidding anyone like you're the new kids on the block now that your trucks and people wear yellow. If you had something to prove, you would've done it years ago.

3 It's all right. But that guy definitely does not look like he's ready to move the world.

1 A guy driving a forklift with something to prove does not persuade me to call DHL. It persuades me to run far, far away.

1 Why does DHL have to prove something? Have they sucked in the past and want to prove they can hang with the big boys now?

3 Good ad, scary copy. No rigid schedules? What does that mean? I want my stuff to get there on the schedule promised. Let's be clear before being clever.

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