1. Nextel "The Deal"
Office workers fly around like insects to close the big deal.
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, N.Y. ECD: Gerry Graf CD/AD: Joel Rodriguez CWs: John Patroulis, Scott Kaplan Director: Stylewar/Smuggler VFX: The Mill/N.Y. Music: Andrew Sherman/Fluid
KD: This is a visually engaging way to tell the story that Nextel gives you the intelligence to get things done-as a group. The effects, sound design and music are amazing. Imaginative and refreshing in a category that generally isn't. Turning the "as a group" strategy into a literal buzzing hive of humans is out there and really well done. (4 stars)
DA: When I first saw this on TV it definitely grabbed my attention. It genuinely stresses that the success of business solely depends on how well people work together. One flaw: the execution overwhelms the product message, making its benefit totally unclear. I actually had to watch it several times to truly understand its relevance. In this day and age, a simple, clear message will create the strongest buzz. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.) (2 stars)
2. Dr Pepper "Anything for Love"
A whipped guy snaps when his girlfriend reaches for his soda.
Agency: Young & Rubicam/N.Y. ECD: Ann Hayden CDs: Rachel Howald, Ahmer Kalam CW: John Battle AD: Maria Scileppi Director: Stacy Wall/Epoch Films Music: Meat Loaf
KD: Any spot that uses Meat Loaf as the soundtrack is OK with me. This spot is hilarious. A refreshingly real, human, funny spot in the soft drink category. Imagine that. Great casting on the guy, too. However, the ending is way over the top and might have been funnier if it was played more subtly. If the guy had just taken the Dr Pepper from his girlfriend's hand, that would have done it for me. (3 stars)
DA: Here's a brand that has so much promise, yet continues to fall short in distinguishing itself from everyone else. This spot has a good storyline with a great piece of music but it fails because it tries too hard to force-feed the product throughout. So the ending is way too predictable (doubly predictable, if you know the lyrics). If they had waited till the end to reveal the product, they might have had something. But then again, maybe it was just a bad suggestion from a focus group in Kansas City. (2 stars)
3. FedEx "Sweeps"
British chimney sweeps take their business global.
Agency: BBDO/N.Y. CCO: David Lubars ECD: Eric Silver CW: Ari Weiss AD: Aaron Adler Director: Hank Perlman/Hungry Man Editor: Gavin Cutler/MacKenzie Cutler Editorial VFX: The Mill/N.Y.
KD: I can't get past thoughts of black lung and cancer long enough to even track with what this spot is trying to say. It seems quite mean spirited and gratuitous to me. It feels like they thought the gag of black chimney smoke coming out of people's mouths is funny and then they just retrofitted the FedEx piece into it. No stars
DA: The folks working on this account must be having a field day coming up with edgy creative. In this execution, they took a tired premise (small business with global potential) and spun it in a distinctive and memorable way. Hats off to the creative team for prevailing, as well as the client for being brave enough to know that sometimes you gotta put it out there (soot and all) if you want your message to stand out. Who knew black lung could be so funny? (3 stars)
4. Reebok "RBK Streets"
An interactive website (see www.rbk.com) that lets you explore the hood while playing games and earning street cred.
Agency: Zugara, L.A.
KD: I really had fun on this site. The whole site is interactive, rich and engaging. A lot of websites have very generic sections-the games are the fun stuff, but then the rest of the site is kind of boring. This brings the excitement of the games into the whole site. Nice. (3 stars)
DA: One look at this site and I can tell I'm not the target audience. That said, it totally delivers on all aspects of the hip-hop culture and tells me that the makers of this site really understand who they're talking to. It also doesn't feel like the typically overdesigned, self-indulgent microsites we're used to seeing. It's simple, rich in content and easy to navigate. But perhaps the best thing about it is that it doesn't feel like a shoe company trying to sell shoes. Instead, they immerse you in a culture that's relevant, engaging and respectful. (3 stars)