VENABLES BELL & PARTNERS, SAN FRANCISCO
Two old coots try to bust out from a prison of luxury. Once outside
the walls, one chooses the Audi A8, and the other falls for the
oldest trick in the book: a Mercedes. Not LOL-hilarious but funny.
And Audi's the only luxury car company that's believable when it
claims to transport drivers beyond the confines of old-school
luxury (unlike, say, those laughably bad holiday spots from Acura
ANOMALY, NEW YORK
The most enjoyable spot of the Anheuser-Busch lot was "Wild West"
for brand Budweiser. A bad hombre is scaring the bejeebus out of
the locals at a frontier saloon because it has run out of
Budweiser. The Clydesdale-powered stage coach arrives just in time.
(In their only appearance in the game, the horses are just horses.)
Of course, we know Budweiser will somehow save the day, but how?
Our stone-faced nemesis doesn't simply smile, he breaks into song
-- Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." Seems more fitting for a Coke spot,
but ties nicely to the "Great Times Are Waiting" tagline.
KIRSHENBAUM, BOND, SENECAL & PARTNERS, NEW YORK
David Bowie's "Changes" introduces us to a cast of soot-spewing
people and the engine-knocking, outdated diesels (a semi, a Volvo
and a Mercedes among them) they drive. A shiny blue BMW sporting
the "clean, quiet, powerful" Advanced Diesel system heroically cuts
through the smoke. In "Defying Logic," BMW makes the case that
every X3 in the world is built right here in America (in
Spartanburg, S.C., to be exact) -- and that it broke ground on a
new U.S. factory in the midst of a recession. Unlike all those
"American" car companies heading south of the border.
GOODBY, SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS, SAN FRANCISCO
A truck spot that manages to showcase towing capabilities and
handling without using either of those words. Also manages to be
funny by portraying the truck as a latter-day Lassie repeatedly
rescuing the hapless Timmy from wells, whales and volcanoes.
WIEDEN & KENNEDY
Coke -- good ol' happy-factory Coke -- seems oddly preoccupied with
war this year. In one spot, two border guards glower at one another
before finding common ground -- if only for a moment -- by sharing
a Coke. In another spot, this one an animated hybrid of "Lord of
the Rings" and "World of Warcraft," a horde of orcs (or ogres or
goblins) lay siege to a castle and bring forth a fire-breathing
dragon. But their warlike plans are laid to waste when the dragon,
after drinking a bottle of happiness, starts shooting fireworks
instead of flames. Cute, but neither ad carries the emotional
weight exhibited by Coke spots in recent years.
GREY, NEW YORK
The baby is back. Well, a baby is back. He looks different from
previous babies. But he's still amusingly smug and, at moments,
funny -- like when he shushes his Italian tailor. (See, E-Trade is
so easy, a baby can teach a tailor to use it.) But with the gag
getting up there in age, the jokes are going to have to be stronger
than this. Also, guys, a message: LOLcats, you're doing it wrong.
It pains me to say this, but the spot revealing the new GoDaddy.co
domain and the new GoDaddy.co "girl," by building on the company's
previously sleazy advertising -- and somehow making fans of the
spots and the commercials the butt of the joke -- worked. But it's
saying something when the inclusion of Joan Rivers adds class to
DAVID & GOLIATH, LOS ANGELES
Here's a bit of truth in advertising -- about the advertising at
any rate. The "Epic Ride" spot for Kia
's Optima is epic.
Fans of blockbuster Super Bowl spots with high production value
will dig this one. And if you absolutely have to show a car driving
down winding roads, you might as well have it journey across the
universe and time as well. That's what happens here as everyone in
the universe -- evil henchmen, Poseidon, extraterrestrials and
Mayans included -- tries to get his hands on an Optima.
MERKLEY & PARTNERS, NEW YORK
It's the sort of beautiful spot only Mercedes can get away with.
Gorgeous models -- past, present and future -- escape their current
confines to journey across the world to welcome the newest lineup.
Adding a touch of humor to the spot, one of the escapees turns out
to belong to P. Diddy.
BUTLER, SHINE, STERN, SAUSALITO, CALIF.
Sooner or later, a Super Bowl advertiser was going to make an
anal-sex joke. I just figured it would be a beer marketer. "Cram It
in the Boot" is the faux game show designed to illustrate the Mini
Countryman's rear capacity. Tasteless, but cheeky. It also put me
in mind of Eddie Murphy's "Boogie in Your Butt."