By Published on .

Client: BMW

Agency: Fallon McElligott

Director: Steve Beck, Industrial Light & Magic

Matisse: The execution is flawless. I've seen it four times and still love it. The penguin's character treatment and body movements are adorable, the fur is pettable, and I don't even mind if he stays upright. I have some idea of what it took to create this, and it's a superb job. It makes me want to donate to the folks who protect those little critters. On the other hand, will it sell cars? Beats me.

Leonard: This won't sell BMWs in the long run. It's an incontestably endearing spot that young and old will adore, and likely attribute to Honda. Fine for Plymouth, but not for BMW, with decades of distinctly branded advertising. This could be for any $20,000 car with any means of "traction control." I sense an underlying strategy to make BMW more accessible. Oh, just keep lowerin' those rates.

Client: ESPN

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy

Director: Alan White, Radical Media, New York and Los Angeles

Leonard: I probably experienced every twitch the creators intended for this NCAA campaign: Robert Goulet ... What's he got to do with? ... Who cares, I'm wetting my pants. Actually, the lyrics and "arrangements" for the adapted songs are ingenious, and they do define their respective teams. Also, recalling Robert Stack in his "Airplane" roles, Goulet does a lethal parody of his own persona.

Matisse: I'm clearly not the target here. It took me a minute to realize this was Goulet, and then I wondered why he was singing about basketball. A twentysomething male art director walked in and was on the floor with laughter. Oh, I get it. It's camp of the highest sort. "Dames," Goulet croons on. It's over my head, I guess.

Client: KCET Public Television

Agency: Kresser Stein Robaire

Leonard: Here's a sound idea that poses conundrums public TV probably does address, even the old "chicken or egg" riddle. Aimed at the curious, not merely self-anointed intellectuals, it tempts potential viewers to discover for themselves. "If you watched, you'd know," as this good tag suggests. The art direction's not inspired, but, then, I'm a writer.

Matisse: Very clever. It's funny and well-executed, with nice type. I recognized the flying saucer, but what was that thing under it? Just kidding? I do watch, but I still don't know. And that's why I'll still keep watching. Wonderful campaign.

Client: Lotus

Agency: HHCC/Boston

Leonard: These endorsements are compelling, but mostly because of the endorsers. The art direction seems gratuitously in your face. The language tries too hard to link success to Lotus. Except for one buried quote, each story comes more from Lotus than from their client. And then that headline: "Insurance company catches fire." Clever in a more benign context, but at least Northern Californians will wince, since it sits atop a story that stems from unspeakable devastation.

Matisse: This is interesting photography, I guess. Even though I read every word, I'm still not sure what Lotus Notes could do for me. In a word, it's obtuse.

Client: Microsoft

Agency: Anderson & Lembke/San Francisco

Matisse: This Microsoft Publisher for Windows 95 ad is clear and to the point. It tells me all I need to know and helps me find the need in case I haven't discovered it myself. It's proof that text-heavy print can be smarter than a smart headline wannabe.

Leonard: I agree with Iliani. Though this spread has a slightly different mission, it's more informative, playful, inviting and (not incidentally) readable than the Lotus ads.

Client: Reebok

Agency: Leo Burnett

Director: Sam Bayer, HSI Productions, et al.

Matisse: An inspired campaign. The images are vibrant, vital and full of heart. They're almost ethereal, while staying grounded in the moment. With great music and casting, it's everything we owe viewers: a great trip. And it will probably sell shoes.

Leonard: Ditto, with one qualification: The best of the bunch are those without the stars like Chang and Emmitt, which could just as easily be for Nike. The walking woman and crazed mountain biker seem much more real, because they have

Most Popular
In this article: