Karen Lynch, Creative Supervisor, Mullen Advertising, Wenham, Mass.
These ads try to do an awful lot. Each has four logos, a long headline, a product shot, a list of features, a Web address, an 800 number and, oh yeah, a wild visual. It looks to me as if the agency came up with an image campaign (the wild visual plus the headline) and the client said, "Where's all that good stuff about 3-D graphics and the 8x CD-ROM?"
I'd prefer to see a campaign that gave all that good stuff more of a presence; a campaign that better convinced me that Sony makes a good PC. This campaign is the type one might expect to see for fashion or perfume, when all you have to differentiate yourself is your style.
Sony is one of the world's great brands and a leader in audio/visual technology. I think it deserves a campaign with a little more meat.
Joel Nendel, Art Director, Borders Perrin & Norrander/Portland
I like the attempt at being different, but at the same time, these ads are a little ridiculous. No, make that a lot ridiculous. The art direction tells me this is the future, but the writing just confuses the hell out of me.
Hey, where can I get those shoes?
Jonathan A. Schoenberg, Associate Creative Director, TDA, Longmont, Colo.
Having moved out of New York, I must confess I am probably somewhat out of touch with fashion trends. But even a glance at these ads gave me the immediate impression that Sony is the cutting edge clothing designer of the moment. This campaign is a likable departure from traditional fashion advertising. The way in which models are placed in an abstract office environment makes the clothing feel that much more accessible to someone like myself, who works from 9 to 5.
Ed Han, Art Director, Michael Meyers & Associates, Chicago
In an effort to distinguish the product from its competition, this campaign does nothing but confuse the audience. What good is advertising if it only speaks to the people who created it? The reason for the success of Apple's "1984" spot was that it humanized technology instead of glorifying it. It seems the agency has forgotten that PC stands for personal computer.
All in all, a hollow attempt. But hey, all is not lost. I liked the treatment of the product features. I kept wanting to tear them off because they looked like Pantone color chips. An art director thing, I guess.
THROUGH A GLASS, LIGHTLY
Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, has its first Samuel Adams beer campaign underway in test markets, and, appropriate to this better glass of beer, the tagline is, "A better glass of beer." Three comic TV spots, directed by Henry Sandbank, lean toward the eternal; one depicts a heaven in which kegs of Sam Adams float with the deliverymen angels, while the funniest spot has the Grim Reaper visting a young guy who offers the Scythed One a Sam Adams, passing over the cheap canned suds and thereby saving his life. "He had some basic swill in there for his football buddies, but he had an insurance policy in the fridge, too," says creative director/writer Kerry Casey. The beer is "about poise and composure," he adds. "It's a thoughtful beer."
The third spot features a suave guy at a cafe who is so thoughtfully pouring his Adams he can't be bothered to stop a purse snatching right in front of him. He eventually brings down the thief with a perfectly hurled bottle cap. It figures-a better glass of beer would have a better cap, too. "The cap is a little more aerodynamic than what you find in lesser beers," jokes Casey. "Actually, this idea came right out of my college drinking games." Other credits to exec CD Jack Supple; art director Bob Brihn and producer Brynn Hausmann.
Hewlett-Packard's laser jet printing supplies business doesn't appear, on paper, to be a ream of fun, but San Francisco agency Winkler McManus has a retro-animated ball with letterforms known as the Sharp Characters in a new TV and print campaign. The letters C, Y and U get their own amusing TV spots: C is an aging, vain diva who sounds like Fran Drescher; U is a flighty fashion model; and Y is a jazz poet who sounds like Max Blagg. Why not computer animation? "We wanted to make a contrast between the product and the style that would stand out in the clutter," says Winkler CD Nina Harris."
Laura Ljungkvist of the Art Department illustrated the characters, and J.J. Sedelmaier of J.J. Sedelmaier Productions directed. Agency credits to creative director Nina Harris, copywriter Dan Krewson, art director Kim Schoen and producer Amanda Moody. Music by Michael Boyd and Derek Jones.
Wherever Microsoft and Wieden & Kennedy want to go today, they've commissioned trippy music from Portishead to get them there. "Imagination" opens with a blank computer screen, followed by the titles, "Microsoft software lets your imagination off its leash," which unleashes a cyber-montage, highlighted by strange images like a cat falling into itself and wrestling robots, compliments of Tomato's Simon Taylor, directing via Curious Pictures, New York. Agency credits to creative directors Bob Moore and Michael Prieve, writer Tina Hall and