1. Sprint "Taxi Driver"
You control the cab in an interactive execution that shows only the back seat of a taxi. Pressing different keys causes different actions to happen, all with different endings for the taxi's passenger.
Agency: Organic GCD: Christian Haas ACD: Roger Wong, Ben Citron Designer: Maria Tyomkina Developers: Aaron Clinger, John Belew Video Director: Tom Gatsoulis
CF: This is the latest iteration of "Subservient Chicken." I'm waiting for the next evolution of "Subservient Chicken." I did have fun-it's well done but it just suffers from the "been done." (2)
CH: Other than some cool technology-I did play with most of the commands-and a slick look, there seems to be nothing but slapstick, blowup dolls, and booger humor to this "Subservient Chicken" wannabe. The segue between the interactive gag and the main site is as jolting as this poor schmuck's cab ride. The line says there's a better choice for entertainment, and I'm afraid I have to agree. (1)
2. Bellsouth "Kung Fu Clowns"
Clowns battle in the street with bananas and comedy props, before the spot cuts to parents looking for a clown for their son's party in the phone book.
Agency: WestWayne CDs: Bobby Pearce, Dave Damman CW: Scott Biear AD: John Kendall Director: Rocky Morton/MJZ Editor: Gavin Cutler/MacKenzie Cutler
CF: Why am I even giving this one star? I guess the picture holds my interest for a while even though I can't imagine liking anything with a McDonald's clown in it (that's admittedly a personal prejudice). I don't understand the point, there are no original moments, the mix on the guy's line at the end is garbled and, ultimately, the concept is something about the "Smarter decision, the real Yellow Pages"? Huh? (1)
CH: I have to admit, best kung fu clown-fight sequence I've ever seen. But how many clich?s can you cram into 30 seconds? With everything from Westerns, badly dubbed martial arts flicks and The Matrix, to the classic banana peel gag, this one tries to get 'em all. Ultimately, I didn't know if it was telling me that these Yellow Pages would protect me from clowns like these or find me a crazed kung fu comic for Billy's party to keep him and his little thug friends in line. (2)
3. American Express "Adam Stern"
American Express promotes a spending vs. saving plan by presenting the story of Adam Stern, a born spender. He is ultimately busted by his own kid, who tells Stern's wife that he bought a boat.
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather/N.Y. ECD: David Apicella GCDs: Joe Johnson, Josh Tavlin CW: Andrea Scotting AD: Doreen Fox Director: Jim Jenkins/Hungry Man Editor: Dave Koza/MacKenzie Cutler
CF: The kid is sort of cute if predictable, the idea of a frugal born money man is old hat, some of the mix is really bad and the writing is just OK and who is that other kid at the end and what does that last scene mean? And worst of all is Ellen DeGeneres' throwaway, too-loud voiceover. I could hear her counting the money with every syllable. (1)
CH: This spot doesn't seem to know if it wants to be Rushmore or The Wonder Years. Though the vignette with the rope climbing is kind of dark/funny, the other ones just fall flat, especially the last one. If I were the dad, I'd make that kid eat every last one of those peas for busting me about the boat. This spot gets held back with too much cuteness. If you want to go cynical, go for it. Which isn't American Express, in my opinion, anyway. (1)
4. Cars-and-Boxes "Babes on Cars"
Scantily clad women pose with Matchbox cars.
Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg CDs: Jan Rexhausen, Doerte Spengler-Ahrens CW: Simone Nobili AD: Jens Petter Waernes Designer: Erik Dagnell Photographer: Stephan Abry
CF: My favorites are Alla in black leather and especially the girl squatting (I love that word) over the car on the website. Why not four stars? I give Eve and her apple four stars-she did it first. Why three stars? C'mon there's never going to be a time when this idea done this well is not going to work. (3)
CH: Gratuitous T&A. Exploitation of women. Shameless theft from a classic American genre. Perfect for the product and target audience. Using the hot rod/muscle car babes approach to sell Matchbox cars is fresh and surprising. Beautifully executed, from the photography to the art direction. You do have to look long and hard to spot the Matchbox car, but somehow I don't think that'll be a problem for most male viewers. Another good example of "Wish I'd done that" coming from Europe. (3)
STREET REVIEW: Eric Cheung
Sprint "Taxi Driver"
This game is mildly amusing at best. The opportunity to act like a crazed New York cabbie is a novelty that wears off after about 20 seconds. The sense of excitement should have come from seeing the reactions of the passenger as you toss and turn him, but his expressions lack any real animation and most of the hidden extras are unexciting-with the exception of the dance he does when you hit the M key. That's the perhaps the most entertaining tidbit of the entire experience. There are better ways to be entertained for a minute on the internet. (2)
Mr. Cheung is a consultant engineer who spends more time surfing the web and goofing off on a computer than anyone really should.