Creative: Best Spots – December

In the latest chapter of the quirky Miller High Life campaign, a fellow brings in the holidays by pouring the “champagne of bottled beer” over a “beer-amid” (see photo, page 30). In that oh-so-distinctive voice, the VO guy lampoons the French and their bubbly, asking, “If Francois knows so much about champagne, how come he never figured out how to put it in cans?” It’s another gem from Wieden & Kennedy in Portland, Ore., one of 25 spots (and counting) in the
campaign’s two-year run, all directed by filmmaker Errol Morris. The agency is trying to rebrand a brew that fell off the map in the late 1970s, owing to a “large-scale decline of manhood,” jokes copywriter Jeff Kling. But these “manly” ads are not as testosterone-driven as they may appear. They target “all beer drinkers,” Kling says, “every drinking-age man and woman within driving or walking distance of a convenience store. We’re tapping into the do-it-yourself values–the way our fathers used to be in a more sensible time–that ring true with all kinds of people.” So far, the client is “skeptically pleased,” says Kling, noting that the brand’s sales are trending up. “Miller High Life has a rich history and character,” he adds, dating back to the 1870s. Just 20 years ago, the brand was a top seller, giving Budweiser
a run for its hops. But for Kling, there’s something else at work. “I have
a personal connection to [High Life],” he says. “It’s the beer I grew up with, and we just want that brewery to do well.”
AltaVista.com
Top Santa
Agencies: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and Olive Jar, Boston CD: Fred McDonald, Olive Jar AD: Rob Palmer, Wieden CW: Jim Riswold, Wieden Agency prod.: Mark Rhodes, Olive Jar Prod. co.: Olive Jar West Dir.:
Mark Hannah Editor: Ethan Marek Music: Jesus Presley, Encore
Mimicking the animation of the 1960s Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, this spot features a channel-surfing Santa and his elves. At first, all Fat Boy can find is weather reports (“Fog and snow. Snow and fog,” says a weather elf.) Finally, Santa discovers a news show, and the anchor reports the big story: “With Santa’s eight tiny reindeer all on strike, who will guide his sleigh tonight?” St. Nick types in that very question at Alta Vista.com. The answer flies right by Santa, who attaches his sleigh to a squadron of F16s, courtesy of shopping.com. Tagline: “Smart is beautiful.”
Compaq
Brand New merchandise
Agency: DDB, New York Co-chief
creative officers: Steven Landsberg, David Nathanson AD: John Morton
CW: Liz Rosenthal Agency prods.:
Deborah Sullivan, Ed Zazzera Prod. co.: Gigantic Entertainment Dir.: Kevin
Kerslake Editor: Paul Norling Music: Sting
In the back seat of a limousine, Sting and his people get a marketing lesson from two entrepreneurs. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Sting,” says one. “We’re fans of Dune,” says the other. They begin their spiel: “We’re here to show you how to drive traffic to sting.compaq.com by tapping into the equity of your Stingness. How? Quality merchandise.” They proceed to show the rock star a Sting alarm clock, a Sting Jell-O mold, a message-in-a-
bottle notepad and a Brand New Day tour toaster, which burns his likeness into a slice of bread. Appropriately perplexed, the former Police-man looks like he’d rather be with Roxanne.
The Good Guys
christmas baby
Agency: Citron Haligman Bedecarre,
San Francisco CD: Matt Haligman
AD: Kevin Raich CW: Dave Khoury Agency prod.: Julian Katz Prod. co.: Headquarters Dir.: Joe Public Editor:
Bob Spector, Bob ‘n’ Sheila’s Edit World Music: Ear to Ear
Little Amy wants a giant teddy bear for Christmas. She even puts her request in writing to Santa Claus. Traveling to the local toy store, her parents find the biggest one–a life-size stuffed animal with a big red bow. When Christmas morning finally arrives, Mommy wakes the little one and carries the girl downstairs. Daddy is waiting in the living room next to the Christmas tree, standing beside a giant present wrapped just for Amy. The kid is psyched, but her glee turns to horror as her father opens the gift. It’s an entertainment system! Super: “Passionate about electronics? So are we.” VO: “Good Guys: It doesn’t get any better.”
Jack in the Box
truck
Agency: Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co., Santa Monica, Calif. CD/CW/Dir.: Dick Sittig ADs: Barney Goldberg,
David Glassman CW: Robert Goldenberg Agency prod.: Nancy Koch Prod. co.: @radical.media Editor: Brendan
O’Carroll, Oasis Music: Parliament Funk
A delivery truck is tooling along, its cargo bay rocking back and forth, when a state trooper pulls it over. The truck driver–a Jack in the Box employee–opens the cargo door: There’s a New Year’s Eve party going on in the back. “They’re millennium balls,” says the driver to the unimpressed cop. “You know, for antennas.” Sure enough, the little round guys are whooping it up, dancing to disco, even swinging on the chandeliers. The promotion? Free millennium balls when you buy a Sourdough Jack combo. Never has so little–a freaking ping-pong ball–meant so much–a mega-marketing gimmick–to a company.
Luden’s
Dressing room
Agency: DDB, New York Co-chief
creative officers: Steven Landsberg, David Nathanson AD: Billy Faraut
CW: Dan Cohen Agency prods.:
Steve Amato, Carol Stevens
Prod. co.: @radical.media Dir.:
Barton Landsman Editor: Michael
Douglas, MacKenzie Cutler Music:
Elias & Associates
In a department-store dressing room, three women try on clothes. In one of the changing stalls, a distinctive, raspy, male-sounding voice rings out: “Can any of you ladies help me? My zipper is stuck.” Is it Harvey Fierstein? The other women look around nervously, then dash out of the dressing room, half-naked. “Hello. Hello,” says the voice. But it’s not Harvey–it’s a hot babe with a sore throat. VO: “Irritated throat? Try Luden’s herbal [cough drops]. Now in echinacea.” Super: “Every flavor feels good.”
Mercedes-Benz
Timeline
Agency: Merkley Newman Harty,
New York ECDs: Marty Orzio, Andy Hirsch, Randy Saitta AD: Andy Hirsch Agency prod.: Adina Sales Prod. co.: Dowad Films Dir.: Bruce Dowad
Editor: Enrique Aguirre, King Cut
Flame artist: Kirk Baldwin Music:
Steve Goodman, John Prine
This interesting spot travels 101 years in 60 seconds, from the first sparks of a car company to the latest Mercedes-Benz model. It’s all accomplished with a silver 20th-century time line against a black backdrop. As the camera pans inexorably forward, various elements shoot off the line: still photographs of the founders and the earliest cars, moving pictures of auto races and workmen on an assembly line through the years, plus corporate logos and symbols. It’s mesmerizing to watch–the viewer tries to figure out the years as they go by–and the cars themselves are magnificent. Super: “See you in the 21st century.”
Miller High Life
Champagne of Beers
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. CDs: Susan Hoffman, Dan Wieden AD: Jeff Williams CW: Jeff Kling Agency prod.: Tieneke Pavesic Prod. co.: @radical.media Dir.: Errol Morris Editor: Angus Wall, Rock Paper Scissors Music: Allen Ett, Needle Drop
Visual: A man pours beer over a champagne pyramid. VO: “You’re liable to hear the French say they know a thing or two about champagne. Well, if Francois knows so much about champagne, how come he never figured out how to put it in cans?” Francois may know squat about canned bubbly, but he understands fireworks. You see the Eiffel Tower at the Y2K witching hour?

New York Lottery
Mint
Agency: Grey, N.Y. ECD: Richard Mahan Sr. CW: Conley LaBarr ADs: Steve Rosenthal, J.C. Parker Exec. prod.: Margaux Ravis Agency prod.: Karen Skurka Prod. co.: Charlex Dir.: Alex Weil Editor: Chris Byrnes, Charlex Music: Fred Stark, John Lissauer
This Busby Berkeley-inspired musical spot, set in a highly stylized mint, pitches the New York Lottery’s Millennium Millions. The Adweek lottery pool put $85 into this game, which drew numbers on Dec. 31. How’d we do? Please note that Best Spots is still writing these goofy blurbs.
Nike
Signs
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. CDs: Hal Curtis, Chuck McBride AD: Javier Castillo CW: Jonathan Cude Agency prod.: Tieneke Pavesic Prod. co.: Propaganda Films Dirs.: Tom Kuntz, Mike Maguire Editor: Sam Selis, Joint Music: Howling Music
Three New York Jets–Wayne Chrebet, Curtis Martin and Steve Atwater–tiptoe through the corridors of Giants Stadium. They’re up to something. When the trio reaches a door marked “Danger: High Voltage,” they enter and pull a switch. At the top of the arena, the Giants Stadium sign transforms into Jets Stadium. Super: “Welcome to the Meadowlands.”

Pennsylvania Lottery
Ring
Agency: Tierney & Partners, Philadelphia CD: Rochelle Klein ACD: Sig Gross AD: Don Simon CW: Gerald DiRusso Agency prod.: Carolyn Perlow Prod. co.: Cornerstone Dir.: Steve Fong Editor: Burke Moody, Seventh Art Music: Michael Aharon, Maja Music
As a De Beers parody, this spot goes all out–using similar music and the infamous silhouettes. A man gives his sweetheart an envelope, then a ring box. She slowly opens the box, only to find a quarter. Impressed, she uses the coin to scratch her $1 million instant ticket. VO: “This holiday season, surprise someone with a gift of a lottery ticket.” Lotto tix are a great gift idea–as long as you win.

RCA
Adjust
Agency: Lowe Lintas & Partners, N.Y. CDs: Roger Bently, Rob Feakins Group heads: Niko Courtelis, Adam Goldstein ADs: Niko Courtelis, Michele Raso CWs: Doug James, Tom Kraemer Agency prod.: Jack McWalters Prod. co.: @radical.media Dir.: Barton Landsman Editor: Clayton Hemmert, Crew Cuts Music: Elias & Associates
The TV’s green sharpness-control bar escapes the TV, bursts through a window and creates havoc outside. VO: “RCA’s experts understand you want the sharpest picture possible. So we developed the best picture today and unsurpassed high definition for tomorrow.”

Weather.com
hairspray
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif. CD: Jerry Gentile AD: John Payne CW: Gary Pascoe Agency prod.: Cheri Anderson Prod. co.: Villains Dir.: Harry Patramanis Editor: Dan Swietlik, Swietlik Composer/Sound designer: Jason Johnson, Gus Koven, Primal Scream
A fellow uses cans and cans of hairspray, turning his “do” into a steel girder. Now he’s ready for the great–and gusty–outdoors. While everyone gets blown away, this guy’s hair stands tall. “You’ll see it coming” at Weather.com