Executive Creative Director
Strawberry Frog, New York
1. Miller High Life "Girl on the Moon"
The longtime icon for the Champagne of Beers speaks up.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland CD: Susan Hoffman CWs: Kathy Heppinstall, Brian Ford, Charlotte Moore AD: Storm Tharp Director/Editor: Jun Diaz
KM: Every once in a while I create a mood video that wins a pitch, only to have it come back later and bite me in the ass when the client wants to run it as an actual commercial. And why wouldn't they? It's everything they could possibly want to see and hear, crammed into 60 seconds of pure emotion and unbridled self-importance. I'm going to assume that's what happened here, and just give these guys a free pass. Of course, it was done at Wieden, so there's always a good chance that I'm just missing something, and this is a great spot. (1)
MH: Ultimately, this left me disappointed. And not because it's not visually interesting. In fact, it's beautifully done, even though it relies entirely upon still shots. We recently finished a spot for Sesame Street that was all stills, so I appreciate the inherent difficulty in the approach. But I guess what the girl on the moon had to say left me a little cold. And not in a good, beer-refreshing kind of way. Yeah, I understand you've seen a lot of stuff. So have tons of brands that have been around for a while. You're going to have to give me more than that.(2)
2. Sprite "Paint"
A graffiti artist takes her thirst for expression to the street.
Agency: In-house CDs: Kevin Mackall, Lisa Preston CWs: Kadime Anckle, Antonio McDonald Director: Antonio McDonald Editor: Scarlet Perez Sound Designers: Paul Goldman, David Perlick-Molinari/EarGoo
KM: When creatives bring me scripts, I like to ask them to just describe the idea in one simple sentence. It's a great way to cut right though all the advertising crap and find out real quick if there's the heart of a good idea in there somewhere. In this case, I imagine the team would have to say, "This is a spot about a graffiti artist who spray paints a giant Sprite bottle on a canvas, in front of a crowd of excited onlookers!" Not enough. No stars
MH: Now, I'm hopelessly white. But even I can tell this spot ain't keepin' it real: The fake crowd assembling to watch; the lame handslap greeting by the extras. It all adds up to a spot that is trying way too hard. And failing. I will say I like the use of the paint respirator by the graffiti artist, though. It shows Sprite wants you to sniff responsibly. (1)
3. Brahma Beer "Shopping Cart"
A tall Brazilian goes to any lengths to shoot some hoops.
Agency: McGarryBowen/N.Y. ECDs: Randy Van Kleeck, Lyle Owerko Director: Johan Renck/RSA USA Editor: Adam Schwartz/Company X
KM: I really want to like this spot, I do. It's a simple storyline ad with a funny little twist at the end. And I like the gritty, realistic look. Been to Brazil, and that's how it looks, yup. Plus, I've already written two bad reviews, so I'm now in danger of sounding like a real asshole. Don't want that. I'll give this one an A for effort. But in the end, if you're going to write a storyline spot, the story has to grab me from the start-and by the time it's over make me want the product. This one fell short on both counts. I also think the Rod Stewart track was a bad call. I know, I sound like an asshole. Sorry. (2)
MH: Though I'm not entirely sure why, I like this spot. Maybe it's the casting-the guy just seems like one of those people you'd want to follow around all day just to see what he'd do. I also liked the stupid simplicity of it all-fitting for a beer spot. I have a feeling it was sold in as a :60, though. Watching him toil up the steps a bit longer with the cart might have made it a bit stronger. (2)
4. Absolut "Metropolis"
Japanese fashionistas reinterpret the brand.
Agency: Great Works CD: Ted Persson Graphic Designers: Fredrik Karlsson, Jens Eriksson CW: Kristoffer Triumf AD: Max Larsson von Reybekiel Production Manager: Johan Magnusson Flash Designers: Fredrik Karlsson, Oskar Sundberg, Jocke Wissing
KM: OK, this one I really like. To be honest, I've been getting a bit tired of the Absolut campaign, but the idea of creating these interactive human ads and then giving you a chance to get to know the people is great. When you're a liquor brand, you're only as cool as the people who drink you, and these people are definitely cool. They never pander to the brand, either, which is great. Really fresh. Like the music. Easy to navigate. Fun. What's not to like? (4)
MH: I think this is very cool, and the idea-inviting 11 street artists in Tokyo to interpret the Absolut brand through fashion and art-seems true to the Absolut heritage. Though a bit cumbersome at times, the site is visually arresting, and I enjoyed seeing both the ads (shot by Nadav Kander) and each artist's video. My favorite part? One of the artist's responses to the question of how has the Absolut brand inspired his design: "I don't think it inspired me much." A rare site indeed. (3)