Co-Chief Creative Officer
Creative Group Head
The Richards Group, Dallas
1. Nextel "Wedding"
A couple exchanges nuptial vows over Nextel's walkie-talkie phones.
Agency: TBWA\Chiat\Day\N.Y. CCO: Lee Clow CD: John Hunt GCD/CW: Richard Overall GCD/AD: Simon McQuoid Agency Producer: Ozzie Spenningsby Director: Joe Pytka
KM: Joe Pytka is the star of these spots. They're beautifully shot and hard not to watch. Using the phones in ordinary situations like a wedding to get across the idea that "these little suckers just work and get the job done" is a nice, memorable device. What bugs me about the whole thing, though, is I'm left feeling like they've just condensed a pretty important life moment into a nice little cold exchange. In a world where e-mail and cellular phones are fast replacing good old face-to-face, this commercial cuts a little too creepily close to the truth for me. Nextel "Done" seems to be trumpeting the final nail in the coffin. (2)
CS: If you have Nextel service/phones you'll get things done faster because the communication is instant, as opposed to using regular mobile phones. I know - I've been to weddings where the bride and groom call each other on ordinary cell phones to exchange vows and the ceremony takes forever. If efficiency is the ultimate benefit, I guess I get it. Unfortunately the spot reinforces the dork-factor and the intrusive, irritating-factor of the walkie-talkie approach to communicating more than it persuades me to buy into the efficiency claim. Nicely shot, Joe. (2)
2. Southwest Airlines
Like seniors on graduation day, office Dilberts revel over Southwest Airlines' fun fares.
Agency: GSD&M GCD: Steve Miller, Brent Ladd CW: Trent Patterson AD: Bryan Pudder Agency Producer: Jessica Berry Director: Brian Aldrich/Coppos Films
KM: I really wanted to like this spot. Like most of the Southwest spots, it's simple, it's shot well and it's a universal truth - who wouldn't want to relive the freedom of the last day of school? I'm just not laughing like I did with the Southwest spot where the woman in the airport puts her hands up the porter's backside, NFL style. Maybe it's just me. First, there's that summer school thing that some of us losers were forced to endure. Secondly, I have two young children, so vacations these days are anything but freedom. Am I revealing too much here? People with less baggage will probably love it. (2)
CS: Why on earth explain the joke with a voiceover? This could have been very fun with a great track and one simple line of copy. Exaggerated metaphors shouldn't need the VO to tell you why the metaphor is relevant. But obviously somebody felt the need to "make sure people get it." Southwest's "Want to get away?" spots would have suffered greatly if the VO said, "Remember when you've done something that made you really feel really embarrassed? And you just wanted to run away? Well now you can with our low fares ..." (2)
3. JetBlue Airways
JetBlue staffers dryly explain their airline's no-frills services.
Agency: The Ad Store CD: Paul Cappelli CWs: Brian Flatow, Amy Curtis-McIntyre AD: Victor Anselmi Agency Producer: Daniel Miller Director: Paul Cappelli/U Direct
KM: When these spots first came out, I didn't like them. My first impression was that the folks at JetBlue were a bunch of simpletons. But then a little light was cast into the darkness. A friend of mine reminded me, "Of course you don't get them, you fly first class!" Ah! Now I see, said the blind man. All of my frequent flyer upgrades were standing between me and a brilliant idea. So with my coach hat on - not Coach hat - I reassessed these clever commercials. Lo and behold, I laughed, I cried, I flogged myself for my bourgeois blinders, and I really liked them. To someone faced daily with spotty service at best, these clever commercials remind people there is an airline that hasn't overlooked the fact that the little things do matter. Duh! (3)
CS: Been done. Been done a lot. Been done a lot better. Should not have been done for an airline as good as JetBlue. (1)
4. Subway "Husband"
Subway allows a woman to go crazy with dessert, and her husband with his pom-poms.
Agency: Fallon/Minneapolis ECD: David Lubars GCD/CW: Greg Hahn GCD/AD: Dave Damman Agency Producers: Brian Dilorenzo, Joe Grundhoefer Director: Jesse Peretz/X-Ray Films
KM: I'd like to give credit to whoever sold this spot to the client. I'll pay for your plane ticket out West to present for me any day. It's wickedly dark, and for that my hat is off to you. My problem with it, however, is that the product gets lost in the coming-out party. Cliff Freeman, the master of sinister funny, always kept pizza at the center of the Little Caesars classics. No matter how dark the humor got, it never lost sight of the product. Here, I kind of feel like the product is just a mere catalyst to move the commercial along to a creepy, albeit funny, end. (2)
CS: Anything that puts a nail in Jared's coffin is fine by me. Even if you don't believe that hoagie consumption is an effective diet regimen, you still get the point. It has people talking about Subway as a place with a personality and a sense of humor. Love the camcorder guy. Hate the car crash. The husband didn't need to dance so over-the-top to be funny. Just being out there in the uniform would have been funny enough. It's like people couldn't agree if they wanted it to be a silly-wacky spot or a smart-funny spot. (2)