UPFRONT;ABE: 4-4 AND 7 INNINGS TO GO;BANK WARMTH COEN STYLE;
While "Fargo" basks in the critics' praise, the directing duo of Joel and Ethan Coen have another work in release-a clever bank campaign for New York's Dime bank.
Created by New York agency Christy MacDougall Mitchell, the campaign shows how the Dime can help out with sticky financial scenarios, intrinsic to its target, New Yorkers, with the tag, "We're with you." "A lot of people have the idea that a bank is a cold, impersonal place," says writer Eric Goldstein, explaining that they wrote the commercials with the Coens' offbeat style in mind.
One commercial for Dime investment services makes light of the cost of raising a child today. In it, a baby sits over an electronic banner that flashes, with increasing speed, expenses that grow from the simple, diapers and tooth fairy to cavities and allowances. Once the prices flash too fast to read, up comes, "Did we forget to mention college?" as the toddler waddles away, wearing an NYU insignia on the back of her shirt.
Other credits to CD/writer Mal MacDougall, art director Erin Alvo, writer Leynette Cariapa and producer Sherri Silver. Jerry Fried at Red Car/New York edited.
The way Wieden & Kennedy CD/copywriter Jerry Cronin tells it, choosing spokesmen and a way to restore Americans' faith in baseball were obvious: "Abe Lincoln is Mr. America; Nick Turturro [from "NYPD Blue"] is Mr. Baseball," Cronin says, matter of factly, "and they travel around the country in a Lincoln convertible promoting baseball."
That's the rationale, anyway, behind this "trippy" campaign, as Cronin describes it, promoting the strike-tarnished sport on ESPN. Shot by RSA/USA director David Dobkin, the commercials, which will amount to nearly 50 spots, open with silent-movie era cards that boom "It's baseball and you're an American," backed by crowd rousers like the "Star Spangled Banner" or "God Bless America."
In one spot, the former president is lamenting to Turturro about not getting involved more in baseball's beginnings. "We might have prevented that designated hitting rule and those ridiculous uniforms the White Sox wore in the '70s."
"It's OK, big guy," Turturro consoles from the driver's seat. "Let it out."
Also credit art director Dean Noble, co-CD Larry Frey and producer Cherie Appleby. Alan Ett Music, Los Angeles, supplied the tunes, and Doug Walker from Filmcore San Francisco edited.
"A painter, a poet and a philosopher walk into a bar. It's not a joke, it's Act Two."
So goes an ad from yet another campaign intended to make opera accessible to the masses who stay away in droves-this time from Citron Haligman Bedecarre for the San Francisco Opera-but this series boasts the added benefit of being styled after Toulouse-Lautrec (illustrations by Minneapolis' Kari Alberg), a big poster boy with smooth operators.
"We wanted to be funny, without being disrespectful to the opera," explains AD DeeAnn Budney, who worked with writer Steve Morris and CD Matt Haligman. Another "La Boheme" headline: "Performed in the universal language of love. Italian with English subtitles."
Strict Swiss liquor laws prohibit almost everything but illustrations, art director/designer Irina Kogan of Amster Yard, New York, explains of this Swiss Martini ad. So a Pop Art approach 'seemed the obvious thing to do,' she says.