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If you didn't get enough fawning ESPN coverage in last month's issue, here's good news: those loonies at Wieden & Kennedy have done it again. A new 18-spot campaign promoting ESPN's NFL Countdown studio show (referred to as NFL Game Day last year) is a hilarious faux history of the fictional McGinty family, with grizzled character actor Harry Dean Stanton playing the slightly disturbed patriarch. Created by art director Eric King and copywriter Eric Silver, the campaign portrays the ESPN NFL analysts-Chris Berman, Joe Theismann, Chris Mortensen, Sterling Sharpe and Tom Jackson-as brothers who grew up under the domineering influence of Joe McGinty, described as "a failed backup football announcer who vowed his sons would fulfill his broadcast dreams."

The goal of the campaign, says ESPN ad director Neal Tiles, is to play up not only the football chops of the networks' five analysts, but to also promote the chemistry between them-hence the closing tag on each spot, "Spend Sunday with our family."

Typical of the absurdist dogma of so much of W&K's ESPN work, the McGinty clan is seen camping out in stadium parking lots, practicing their own studio show at home (shades of King of Comedy) and dressing up on Halloween as grim-faced Cleveland legend Paul Brown. That two of the McGinty brothers-Sharpe and Jackson-happen to be black is never even noted; further, Jackson and Theismann are passed off as twins. The spots use a mix of 16mm, Super 8 and still photos doctored up to look old for that retro pseudo-doc feel. (Jackson Beck's VO narration purposely recalls Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run.") Stanton's performance is perhaps the best part of the package-he comes off weirder than Dennis Hopper did for Nike.

The campaign was directed, oddly enough, by total football novices Patrik Von Krusenstjerna and Pontus L"wenhielm, two members of the Swedish directing team known collectively as Traktor. They're represented in the U.S. by Partizan, New York, which produced the job. Cherie L. Appleby produced for Wieden & Kennedy; CD credits to Jerry Cronin and Larry Frey.

win a free case of diet pepsi! uh-huh! When we saw this caffeine-free Diet Coke ad in an August issue of the Sunday supplement Parade, we had to stop and ask ourselves, just what the hell is going on here?

As the headline says, there are times when you just don't want caffeine. OK, we'll buy that. Maybe right before bed, or as you're heading off for the opera. But check out the photo: the home office setup, looking out onto a serene, peaceful country lake. The phone is off the hook (who's on the other end?), and papers and diskettes are left in what must be mid-deal. Why no caffeine now? Too stressed out? Are the kids (see photo on desk) keeping our caffeine-less one up at night?

Interestingly enough, the ad was created by Publicis Conseil in Paris. Maybe it lost a little in the translation. We asked around the office, and no one here gets it. So we're turing to you, our strategy-savvy readers. E-mail your explanation of what's going on in this ad to [email protected] The best answer wins a case of Diet Pepsi.

Guaranteed to make the shortlist at all the '97 awards shows, this ad from Arian Lowe & Travis, Chicago, for the Home Access HIV test system has everyone doing a double take. Copywriter Meg Kannin says that a few posters were circulated in local bars so that the creatives could gauge responses to this long-copy yet very engaging concept. The response: "Uh, hi. What the hell is that?" Additional credits to creative director Mike Fornwald, art director Sandi Weindling and photographer Albert Sanchez.

What to do in Denver when you're on a shoot: Pat Walsh, a producer at Wells Rich Greene BDDP/New York, takes pictures. Lots of pictures, that are built into composite images with overlapping 4x6 color prints. An exhibition of Walsh's work kicked off last month at Invisible Dog, a New York editorial company. Walsh is not the only ad guy whose avocation is on display: photos by music producer Ric Kallaher of Wave Band are hanging at Post Perfect, another New York post company. Neither shutterbug has a rep yet, although you never know.


Keeping in step with The Small Print Program initiated by Jim Patterson at J. Walter Thompson/New York, this print campaign for a local upscale eatery loves to play with its food. Other headlines: "Your stomach is an erogenous zone, too," and "Hear her go 'mmmm' again and again and again." Now headed by executive creative director J.J. Jordan, the program encourages the JWT creative staff to solicit businesses that afford a creative challenge in advertising. The ads are posted throughout lower Manhattan and are scheduled to be included in upcoming metro guide publications. Credits to senior writer Robert McDougall and

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