Creative: Best Spots – Visitor’s View

Director Of Margeotes/Fertitta + Partners In New York
I was given a reel of 65 new spots for September–24 of which were picked by Adweek editors as Best Spots–and an allowance of 550 words with the admonishment: “Don’t just nuke everything.” In that spirit, I’ll begin with those ads that provoked the strongest reactions, which ranged from laughing out loud to almost barfing, and I’ll continue until my word count runs dry.
Mastercard: I think this is by far the best plastic-card advertising in many a year. And when an already wonderful idea can so effortlessly embrace a topical event like baseball’s great home-run chase (pictured, top), it becomes so wonderful I can’t bear the jealousy. Damn you. Damn everyone involved.
Southwest Airlines: “Proud sponsor of the NFL.” Terrific. I laughed out loud. But I’m not sure why they’d throw money at this effort and then restrain their pride until the quick and silent logo and super. They’d actually be better as NFL spots. But if you do catch the super, you will love the airline for bringing them to you.
Bellagio Resort: This spot was such an oozing clichƒ, I couldn’t wait for the punch line that would justify everything I’d been groaning at. Anyway, the surprise ending was, there was no surprise ending! Wow. That was for real? Oh well, I suppose the place does look kind of nice, but where is it? No, wait, there is a punch line: It’s in Vegas!
Nike: I thoroughly enjoyed this spot (starring Gabrielle Reece). Faced with the fickle realities of the category, it’s good to see Nike focusing less on the show biz of sports and more on the head biz. “What are you getting ready for?” seems a nifty way to restate that the company understands the obsessive nature of the true athlete. I thought the Tim Duncan spot was a little too mean-spirited, though. The big question is, can any of this make any difference now?
IKEA: What a shame that such a richly crafted and genuinely engaging brand got tossed out to make way for mere advertising. They used to furnish interesting people’s homes with style, wit and disarming empathy. Now, they take on bleak and ugly environments and turn them into absurd, bleak and ugly environments. All that this demonstration demonstrates to me is the huge difference between a brand speaking and a product babbling.
Jeep Cherokee: These guys have set their bar so high, I always look forward to seeing what will get them over it next time. I feel this one only just made it, perhaps because a dialogue situation doesn’t feel as irrefutable and confident as the more graphic ideas to date. That said, it’s a really nice idea deftly handled. Merely good for Jeep. Quite excellent for the category.
Philips Flat TV: It’s not often we get a chance to work with such a radical, relevant and utterly sexy new product. Why, then, was I left wringing my hands with anguish at the banal, irrelevant and utterly boring new advertising for something as fabulous as a flat TV? Oh, I get it! How conceptual! Flat TV. Flat advertising. I take it all back.
Miller Lite: After a somewhat rocky start, I think this stuff quickly got great. Backing into the various end lines keeps me wondering how the hell they’re going to justify each exquisitely bizarre scenario. In this case (pictured): “The things you do for beer.” Quite.