Guest Review

Published on .

Kevin McKeon

Executive Creative Director

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/New York

Dawn McCarthy

Art Director

Merkley Newman Harty, New York

1. DIET PEPSI "Two More Kids"

A sequel to the 1992 Diet Pepsi spot, starring Cindy Crawford getting a cold soda from a machine at a rural gas station, while two little boys gawk - at her Diet Pepsi. "Some things never change," says Cindy, "and some things do." She opens the door to her SUV, revealing her two toddlers.

Client: Diet Pepsi Agency: BBDO/N.Y. CCO: Ted Sann ECD/CW: Michael Patti CD/AD: Don Schneider Agency Producer: Regina Ebel Director: Joe Pytka/Pytka Productions

McKEON: Great spot. Sexy, funny, engaging . . . oh, wait, that was the original. I guess I'm just not a big fan of sequels, unless you've stumbled on a great character worth developing, like maybe a couple of talking frogs. But just to go back and do virtually the same spot again . . . OK, there's the added element - Cindy's got two kids now - but that isn't nearly engaging enough. In the end, this spot just begs comparison to the original, which was better. I remember Cindy's performance being more natural in that first spot, and the whole thing feeling sexier, too. The twist - the two kids ogling the can and not Cindy - was a charming surprise, something you can't replicate. A spot to introduce a new Pepsi can is not an easy assignment, I admit. But there must have been something fresher on the table. (1)

McCARTHY: I'll give this credit for doing what some ads have to do in order to be effective: polarize viewers. I bet most men like the spot, while women aren't all that impressed that Cindy popped out two puppies and still looks hot in jean shorts. But in a market where most clients hesitate before alienating one target to impress another, a part of me has to say bravo to Pepsi, which has no qualms about using Cindy, Britney, or anyone else with a nice rack, to sell soda. (2)

2. TOSHIBA "Sushi"

A woman is making copies in an office. A man is sitting on a table, waiting for her. "I do all her copying and faxing, and she barely says hi," says a male VO, which apparently belongs to the copier. "Jim brings my copies to her desk and suddenly they're sushi buddies." The man and woman leave together. "Man, if only I had arms," says the copier.

Client: Toshiba Copiers Agency: DGWB AD: Dave Hermanas CW: Enzo Ceario Director: Nicolas Barker/Chelsea Pictures

McKEON: My problem with this spot? It's 30 seconds of really saying nothing at all. What I take away is, the copier does all the work, the guy gets all the lunch dates. Yeah, so? It just feels so generic. Then it ends with: "Toshiba. Don't copy. Lead." Or was it Canon? Savin? It feels a like an executional idea with a brand attached to it, rather than an idea born of the brand itself. It certainly doesn't support the endline. There's nothing about this spot that makes me think Toshiba is doing anything different than other copier companies. It's not a bad spot, really; it's just a little too easy to ignore. (1)

McCARTHY: I liked where this spot was headed. The simplicity of the lock-down camera drew me in, and I was waiting for an equally simple idea to follow. But instead I got sucked into a vortex of confusion. OK, it wasn't a vortex, it was more of a whirlwind. A very small whirlwind. Here's what I mean: There's a voiceover coming from the copy machine, but it looks like it's coming from the guy who's in frame, except that his mouth isn't moving. But at least I know he has a mouth, as opposed to the copy machine, which doesn't. So naturally, I'm a little confused. When I watched the spot again, I got it. The spot has its charm, I just wish that it was executed more clearly. Also, the tagline, "Don't copy. Lead," might take itself a little too seriously. (1)

3. APPLE "iMac"

A young man is walking down a crowded street at night when he notices the new, improved iMac in a store window, mimicking his movements, backed by a piece of classic jazz by Benny Golson. He starts playing Simon Says with the machine; turning side to side, rolling his head. The computer follows suit. The man then sticks out his tongue playfully, and the computer sticks out its disc drive. Tag: "Wait till you meet the iMac."

Client: Apple Agency: TBWA Chiat/Day/L.A. CDs: Duncan Miller, Eric Grunbaum, Lee Clow AD: Moe Verbrugge CW: Maya Frey Agency Producer: Cheryl Childers Director: Kinka Usher/House of Usher

McKEON: I really like this spot. To me, it does everything well. It demonstrates a product feature without hitting you over the head with it, which is rare. It feels right on tone for Apple. It's simple, charming and entertaining; I like the guy, and the music's perfect, too. It's just one of those commercials where everything comes together. I watched it several times and never got tired of it. I think Apple's done a great job of defining a look and tone for their brand (with a little help from Chiat, of course). It comes right out of their products, which are beautifully designed, simple and elegant looking, and friendly to operate. That's the way good advertising should work. (4)

McCARTHY: This is one of those simple, smart spots that really cuts through the clutter. It's well executed, well cast, has nice music and wasn't over- or underproduced. It's the sort of spot that really impresses me, because on paper it could've gone either way. (4)

4. RED ROOF INNS "Bueno"

Red Roof Inns introduces its traveling spokesman: a throaty, cleft-chinned bobble-head named Red, who stars in a campaign directed by none other than Michael Bay. "Cabbage, moolah, dinero," says Red, as a human hand places wads of bills next to him. "Whatever you call it, when you save it, it's bueno, and that means good."

Client: Red Roof Inns Agency: Hill, Holliday/S.F. CD: Rob Babot AD: Terry Rietta CW: Mike Bales Agency Producer: Paul Golubovich Director: Michael Bay/The Institute

McKEON: I'm told this bobbing head thing is Red Roof's new spokeswhatever. And that he symbolizes being on the road. OK, got it. Trouble is, I don't like him. He's not particularly funny or charming, he's not cool, though I imagine he thinks he is, and he's too darn pushy. Put the money away, Red, and make me feel something for the place. Don't sell, make me want to buy. This one didn't do that for me. I just don't see any real emotionally engaging idea here. It's just a collection of executional elements, and I don't particularly like any of them. So I walk away not really liking the brand. That having been said, I bet the client loved this spot. There's definitely no missing the message, that's for sure. I just wish it was delivered with a smaller sledgehammer, and in the context of an engaging idea. (1)

McCARTHY: Holiday Inn and Courtyard have both done some funny work in this category, so there's a high bar here. Unfortunately, this spokesdoll spot doesn't really push the envelope. It's not out of the box. It's not any of those other cliche phrases that mean inventive. The strategy is definitely clear: Red Roof is affordable. But the vehicle that delivered that message didn't impress me. (1)

Most Popular