January 2007 - Top Spots

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Chrysler "Shadows"
Shadows move across the screen - a hotel sign, a house, a picket fence, through a doorway. Slow, plain piano chords are hit and held as the shadows slide until we see a PT Cruiser convertible, when a crackling recording of a woman's soft voice lulls the shadow along the car and the newly retractable roof recedes. All in all, a pretty refreshing sound to employ considering the rock 'n' roll reputation of any roofless ride.

California Lottery "Wall"
While one family lives in the depressing shadow of a huge brick wall, a simple yet hopeful tune plays in the background. This Stimmung music adds character to the spot by continuing along its head-bobbing way even as the family wins the lottery and, in lieu of spending any money on a new house, knocks down the brick obstacle to reveal an ocean view. A perfectly quirky song for a sort of quirky spot.

MasterCard "Arrivals"
The electric folk sounds of Finley Brown of the band Boedekka give this edition of MasterCard's seemingly endless "Priceless" campaign a stripped-down, soulful anchor without feeling too filled with fromage. The spot chronicles a number of different scenes from the emotional powder keg that can be any airport's arrival terminal - moms greeting daughters, fathers hugging sons, couples kissing - all the hits are here. By not choosing a more well-known tune and going for a sound with stark, bare emotion, the spot narrowly misses being written off as a simple Love Actually bite.


American Express "Animals"
This Bryan Buckley-directed spot takes anthropomorphized animals to the next level via the life of Ellen Degeneres. As she strolls into the office she's greeted by a wild kingdom of co-workers. From the giant turtle asked to "make a quick Starbucks run," to an elephant with a bad memory, to penguins labeled "executives," to the raccoon makeup artist who's a tad heavy on the mascara, the spot makes the workaday zoo all too realistic.

Pontiac "Drop"
A Big Blue-type computer falls to the floor and explodes into pieces that become a gaggle of modern laptops. A gargantuan stereo system drops and erupts into a thousand shards that become iPods. A phone booth crashes and unleashes a shower of new cellphones. Asylum's visual effects demonstrate Pontiac's assertion that everything these days is getting "smaller, sexier, more powerful and yet less expensive." Finally, a car falls to the ground and simply falls apart until suddenly a slew of G6 series Pontiacs slide out of the debris. Just like the voiceover says of the cars, this spot was designed for action.

If Insurance "Total Catastrophe"
This is one of three spots that take place in the If Insurance "Risk Lab" where a certain brand of risk management is evaluated. In this, "Test 4387" a family of animated rats are victim to an unfortunate chain reaction of events that all stem from a simple mooning. The sudden exposure leads a soccer ball to hit a pole, which knocks the baby rat pop fly-style into Grandpa's wheelchair. Both fall into a boat, which bumps the car, which runs over Dad and crashes into the garage. Dad's tail catches fire, then the whole house burns down. The lesson of this entertaining animation? Uh, we're pretty sure it's something about getting insurance.
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