Creative: Best Spots – Visitor’s View With John Hage

advertising is a business. We all know that. But every so often it’s nice to step back and examine spots from a purely gut level without laboring over strategies, target audiences or some inane research results. These are the June ads–for better or for worse–that got my attention.
Fox Sports: A lot of commercials lead one way only to give you a surprise ending, sort of like a bait and switch. These spots for Fox don’t bother with that formula. They show you what they’re going to do, and the big surprise is, they do it. In one ad, we open on a man and a big horse (pictured, left). We see another guy with a catcher’s mitt and mask walk up and stoop behind the horse. The horse gets slapped on the butt and kicks the bejeezus out of the second guy’s head. It’s an ad for Fox’s “catcher cam,” which shows what it feels like to get beaned by a foul tip. The end title is “Don’t try it at home.” I really liked these spots. Very simple. Very, very weird. And violent to boot.
Heineken: For about 25 seconds, we see wayward golf balls breaking things (pictured, right). It starts with the balls smashing windows and ends with the collapse of a large office building. We close on the title: “And you wonder why Heineken also comes in cans?” This isn’t a huge
concept, but I thought it was terrific. I laughed out loud.
Fruit of the Loom: This spot opens with a woman saying, “They say fruit is good for the body.” From there, we cut to various shots of underwear-clad torsos frolicking in the great outdoors. (What about deer ticks?) We discover the “fruit” she is talking about is actually Fruit of the Loom underwear. Next, we’re treated to underwear break-dancing. I laughed out loud at this one, too. Only I don’t think that was the goal.
General Tires: We open on a bowl of alphabet soup as a spooky-sounding child sings his ABCs underneath. We slowly pull out and see that his soup is actually a tire as the voiceover states: “Figuring out the codes on a sports-utility-vehicle tire can be a difficult task for anybody.” Then the soup coagulates into a chrome wheel as the announcer says that General Tires makes all that simple. Tires, soup and the children-of-the-corn singing. I guess I’m missing some relevance.
Virgin Cola: Virgin CEO Richard Branson introduces the world to the concept behind his new cola campaign–a soap box for people to voice their opinions. The connection to cola? According to Branson, the big colas have spent more than half-a-billion dollars and have said nothing, so his campaign will say something. The spot is stark, honest and seems right for the brand. I think it’s smart advertising. I also think, considering who they’re up against, Virgin Cola is going to need it.
John Hage is senior vice president and creative director at BBDO West in Los Angeles. His accounts include LA Cellular, Round-Up, Starbucks Coffee and Best Western International Hotels.