Guest Review

Published on .

Dennis Ryan

Chief Creative Officer, new Omnicom agency in Chicago, not yet named at press time

Paul Keister

Associate Creative Director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky/Miami

1. Footjoy "A Call to Arms"

Several pro golfers, including Phil Mickelson and Jesper Parnevik, get the J.J. Sedelmaier cartoon treatment, in a virtual homage to his Saturday Night Live X-Presidents skits. The players become animated Golf Gods after "an overzealous greenskeeper mistakenly exposed the earth's core," subjecting Footjoy gear to "magna radiation" that transforms its users into super heroes.

Agency: Arnold Worldwide CCO: Ron Lawner GCDs: Alan Marcus, Jamie Graham ACD: Ron Harper CW: Grady Winch Agency Producer: Kevin Shale Director J.J. Sedelmaier Production Company: J.J. Sedelmaier Productions

Ryan: Judging this spot from a creative perspective seems rather pointless - the singular J.J. Sedelmaier style overwhelms everything else, bending all things toward its particular brand of skewed perspective. The writing, the look, the feel all become engulfed by the greater J.J.-ness. Which isn't so bad. It's fun to see the questionable super skills bequeathed to each of these rather staid athletes. Will this spot work with the country club set? Is it too young? I don't know, but what really knocks me out about this ad is that those clever fellows at Arnold somehow sold it. And it's a :60. 2 stars

Keister: A television spot fashioned after the SNL skits could be funny. Unfortunately, it's flat, with only a few funny moments. For instance, Davis Love III tears off his golf shirt to reveal a different patterned golf shirt. It looks great to watch, but you can't substitute a technique for an idea. I guess my takeaway is that most pros use FootJoy golf shoes and accessories - it makes a good trade spot for reps to show store owners why they should stock FootJoy. But I don't think it's quite right for the rest of us. Perhaps they could have woven a small story into it. Maybe SNL's Ambiguously Gay Duo could have shown up wearing FootJoy shoes because they give them the best traction when they're hitting balls all day. In the end, it's a pure execution spot without much of an idea, but I guess it beats half the stale golf commercials out there, and that should count for something. 2 stars

2. Datek "Salmon"

A chef dashes up an imposing stone staircase in what might be a castle, backed by a panicky music track. When he reaches the top he throws open a heavy steel door and peers into a cavernous banquet hall. Hundreds of heads fly up. "Don't eat the salmon!" he screams. The disgusted diners look at the bones on their plates. A VO asks: "Are you getting your market information late?"

Agency: Bozell/N.Y. ECD: Tony Granger GCD: David Nobay AD: Steve Mitsch CW: Richard Wallace Agency Producers: Andrew Chinich, John Burger Director: Eden Diebel Production Co: Rose Hackney Barber

Ryan: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the big plus about Datek's real-time market information streaming is that you get market information as it happens. But it does take an art director to make that notion worth watching. This spot may be a long road to a small house, but it is a well-paved, nicely landscaped and witty road, and we viewers appreciate that. From the chef's hammer-tapping footsteps set to the insistent (and could it be - an actual live instrument?) soundtrack to the "What if Fritz Lang opened a banquet hall" set design, this spot works overtime to bring surprise to a rather pedestrian insight. Everything about the look is extremely conscious, and that consideration helps. Too bad all these hyper-designed visuals resolve into rather expected CG title work. Finally, it may be only a nit and admittedly, I'm no ichthyologist, but are those really salmon bones on their plates? They look more like chubs. 3 stars

Keister: A big technology client delivering a message through an analogy. I think it communicates the strategy clearly: Datek gives market information in real-time. Executionally, it looks beautiful, with the stone stairways, cavernous rooms and china settings, although the fish looks more like snapper than salmon. But who cares. (I guess "snapper" just doesn't sound as good on film.) I haven't seen other Datek spots and I'd be curious as to how they manage the campaign as a whole. Basically, it's a nice idea that explains some of the simple nuts and bolts of Datek's offerings. 3 stars

3. Olympus "Seesaw"

A sexy brunette and an Olympus digital camera are seated on opposite ends of a seesaw. As the camera snaps nearby objects - like a bag of potting soil and a feather - it whimsically reflects their size and weight, causing the seesaw to tip accordingly - thereby demonstrating the camera's remarkable picture quality. The woman finally cries foul when the camera focuses on a school bus.

Agency: The Martin Agency CD: Hal Tench ACD/CW: Joe Alexander AD: Mark Braddock Agency Producer: Steve Humble Director: Dominic Murphy Production Co: Partizan

Ryan: This spot starts with a strong, simple idea. It aims to make only one point and it's entirely visual. All of which sets this up as a winner. I like it. I just wish I liked it more. Somehow, this nice little offbeat idea feels labored. While the assumptive movement of the camera itself is wonderful, the seesaw movement of the actress feels clumsy, graceless and slow, like the Wizards vs. the Bulls. A creative location, a punchy track and graphics - even the Nixon Era yellow school bus that looks like it just warped in from The Wonder Years - are all pluses. But perhaps "true-to-life photography" just isn't a strong enough claim anymore. 2 stars

Keister: Pretty darned entertaining spot. The strategy is simple (the camera takes realistic pictures) and the execution's just as simple (hot girl gets bounced up and down on a seesaw, depending on the type of picture the camera took). I especially liked the absence of dialogue. As Joe Consumer, I also liked that it addressed one of the main concerns with digital cameras: will my pictures look like what I'm shooting? Over Christmas I was shopping for a digital camera and all I wanted to know was how good the pictures were. I think if I saw this on TV it would strike a chord and I'd at least check out the camera in the store. 3 stars

4. Campbell's "Art"

A shot of a Warhol Campbell's Soup painting fills the screen. Background voices critique what the viewer assumes is the painting. "I love the color . . . it's sophisticated, yet so simple." Turns out the voices belong to three gallery security guards, and they're talking about the soup they're all eating. A VO says, "Why go with a copy, when you can have the original?"

Client: Campbell's Agency: BBDO/N.Y. CD/AD: Ed Maslow CD/CW: Mark Ezratty Agency Producer: Brian Schierman Director: Bob Giraldi Production Co: Giraldi/Suarez

Ryan: This spot arrives a bit late to the whole Warhol Pop art scene, but for a packaged-goods spot in a brutally difficult category, this is particularly nicely done. Sure, opening on the painting may be a means to assuage some petulant junior client who counts frames until his product appears, but in this spot, it works. Better still, the casting works, with each of the actors pulling off their double-meaning banter with strong performances. I can't pretend to be surprised that Giraldi directed it - a few more spots like this and Bob just might have a promising career in this business. My only real complaint about this spot is the uninspired copy and unintegrated product shooting around "vine-ripened tomatoes." The announcer's read sounds so flat it's obvious she doesn't buy it anymore than we do, Campbell's "select spices" notwithstanding. 2 stars

Keister: You think someone's critiquing a Warhol only to find out they're critiquing a bowl of soup: so what? The scenario's not that smart and the idea's seriously flat. The actors just deliver the talking points of the strategy verbatim. I know it's tomato soup; now make it relevant to me. And yes, the soup tastes good, but I've kind of graduated to solid food (Progresso) and this commercial doesn't give me a compelling reason to check out Campbell's tomato soup again. It's the kind of spot that just seems to get lost in the thousands of ads we see every day. 1 star

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