creative: bestspots of February

Acura
Palm springs
Agency: Rubin Postaer & Associates,
Santa Monica, Calif. Dir., creative
services/CD: Larry Postaer CD/AD: Mark Erwin CD/CW: Wendi Knox Exec. prod.: Gary Paticoff Prod. co.: Mars Media Dir.: Peggy Sirota Editor: Steve Prestemon, Swietlik Editorial Singer: Nicola Conte
With a great jazz score and beautiful photography, this filmic ad follows a couple driving to Palm Springs, Calif. People shots mix with beauty shots: She holds her head out of the passenger side window; the vehicle’s hood glistens in the afternoon sun. She sticks her hands out of the sun roof; the car travels winding desert roads. The pair finally reach their spalike destination and start to relax. She lounges on a divan; he jumps in the swimming pool. Super: “Do nothing. Sooner.” The ad introduces the 260-horsepower Acura CL Type S class.
Adidas
one on one
Agency/Prod. co.: In-house CD/CW/ Dir.: Andrews Jenkins CD: Kadie Casey AD: Hein Haugland CW: Devin Moore Prod.: Brad Goldthwaite Editor: Chris Jones, Downstream Editorial Music/Sound design: Lance Limbocker, Downstream Music
A kid challenges Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to a game of one on one, and Bryant accepts. “I don’t believe in cutting people slack,” the NBA star says. “You should work for everything you get.” Undeterred, the kid talks some smack. “I got speed I got shot I got stamina and integrity I got game he’s never seen before I got crossovers he’s never seen before I’m going to shake him up bad.” Not hardly. With each boast, the grainy visual shows Bryant whooping this kid upside the head. He blocks every shot, scores on every attempt, even dunks with impunity.
Avis
Pain in the Gas
Agency: McCann-Erickson, N.Y. GCD: Steve Ohler CD/AD: Chris Quillen CW: George Dewey Agency prod.: Linda Kramer Prod. co.: MacGuffin Films Dir.: Chris Bean Editor: Nathan Thompson, Post 13 Music: Eric Kaye, Eric Kaye Music
On a raining-cats-and-dogs evening, a man pulls into a gas station. His windshield wipers stroke furiously at the torrential downpour, and he waves to the clerk inside to get some service. The clerk, who is watching TV and eating junk food, can’t believe he has to actually work. Taking his sweet time, he puts on his foul-weather gear–yellow slicker, boots and hat–and opens his umbrella. Outside, he runs over to the “Full” service sign, then flips it to “Self.” VO: “Ever get the feeling some people just stopped trying? At Avis, we take a novel approach to service: We give it.”
Bell Atlantic
Surfer
Agency: The Lord Group, N.Y. CDs: Jim Ritterhoff, Tony Kobylinski ACD/AD: Penny Redfern Sr. CW: Patrick Sullivan Dir. of broadcast: Carin Zakes Asst. prod.: Maddy Kadish Prod. co.: Boxer Films Dir.: Jim Zoolalian Editor: Avi Oren, Cosmo Street Sound design: Tom Goldblatt, East Side
On a cold, gray day, two wet-suitwearing surfer dudes sit on their boards. The water is calm and a nearby buoy clangs mournfully. “Tell me again why we didn’t call your buddy in Maui,” says one. “Lost his number, man,” says the other. Suddenly, up pops James Earl Jones in full scuba gear. “Need a number?” he asks. “Just dial 411 for local and national directory assistance. You don’t even need an area code.” “Whoa,” say the two kahunas, who probably wish Jaws had found them first.
Best Western
grand canyon
Agency: BBDO West, S.F. Chief creative: Ken Mandelbaum ACD/CW: Jim Lesser AD: Sakol Mongkolkasetarin CW: Mike Barti Agency prod.: Tammy Smith-White Prod. co.: Satellite Films Dir.: Peter Care Editor: Bob Frisk, Phoenix Editorial
A blind man gets out of a car and starts walking, with the help of a friend. “It’s cold out here,” he says. “But it feels great.” “So what do you think?” asks his friend. “Is this beautiful?” “Shhh,” says the blind man, and he listens to the wind whistle through the Grand Canyon. Super: “Because everyone should experience it once.” VO: “For every reason to travel, there’s a Best Western to stay in, including six near the Grand Canyon.” Best Spots is always wary of ads that showcase people with disabilities, but this one is nicely done. The blind actor is great; he conveys exactly the right feel for the role.
Cartoon Network
cartoon campaign 2000
Agency: In-house CD: Michael Ouweleen AD: Kin E. Remington CW/Dir: Dave Berg Sergeant at arms: Stuart Hill Prod.: Lynn Slowinski Prod. coordinator: David Warren DP: Dave Sharples Avid editor: Mike Iller Audio post production: Greg Gause Logo design: Matthew Crouch
“It seems like only yesterday when a single event brought people together,” says Bob Dole. “As the world held its breath during the moon landing, and probably shed tears during the first steps, lives were changed forever because Bugs Bunny dared to reach for the stars.” Visual: Bugs walking on the moon. Juxtaposing Bugs Bunny footage, Dole mentions the rabbit’s military
service and support for the arts. “Bugs has shown us all how to be honorable and inspired people. I dream of a president like Bugs Bunny.” Vote for the Wascaly Wabbit in 2000.
Conseco
child prodigy
Agency: Fallon McElligott, N.Y. CDs: Jamie Barrett, Kevin Roddy CD/AD: Matt Vescovo CW: William Gelner Agency prod.: Melissa Miller Prod. co.: Partizan Dir.: Traktor
Editor: Gavin Cutler, MacKenzie Cutler Sound design: Marc Healy, MacKenzie Cutler Special effects: Sight Effects
With a ball-serving machine firing away behind him, a tennis dad tries to teach his young daughter the game. “OK, sweetie, on your toes,” he says. “Swing through the ball. Eye on the ball, honey.” The little girl couldn’t care less, and she won’t play. VO: “How do you plan on financing your retirement?”

Finish Line
Musical Inspiration
Agency: Cliff Freeman and Associates, N.Y. CD: Eric Silver AD: Guy Shelmerdine CW: Grant Holland Agency prod.: Nick Felder Prod. co.: HKM Dir.: Mike Mills Editor: Gavin Cutler, MacKenzie Cutler
While a man jogs, a second fellow, holding a boom box, comes up alongside. Man No. 2 turns on the radio and plays “Eye of the Tiger.” Man No. 1 looks on in amazement, then knocks No. 2 down. But our fallen hero gets back up. Super: “Maybe we love runners too much.”
FOX Interactive
Auditions
Agency: WongDoody, L.A. CD: Tracy Wong ADs: Eric Goldstein, Lu Romero CW: Tor Myhren Agency prod.: Brian O’Rourke Prod. co.: Shelter Films Dir.: Tim Abshire Editor: Willaim Bullen, Bedlam Sound designer: Chris Winston, Audio Banks
Auditioning people for a part in a videogame, a director says, “OK, pretend you’re John McClane, the hero from Die Hard.” But the motley crew of actors can’t even take a bullet. The game: Die Hard, Trilogy 2.

Janus
Manhole
Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding, S.F. GCD/ CW: Jeff Iorillo GCD/AD: Tom Rosenfield Sr. prod.: Robert Gondell Prod. co.: Imaginary Forces Dir.: Karin Fong Editors: Jeff Consiglio, Clyde Deamer, Imaginary Forces Music: Michael Boyd, Michael Boyd Music
Visual: Camera pans downward into a sewer. VO: “Janus is down here, checking up on a potential investment They look great on paper. But Janus gets beneath the surface. Janus goes down and counts cable They do have the most. They’re ready to grow. Fast. Just what Janus was digging for. So what’s up with your money? Get there.”
MasterCard
fairy tale
Agency: McCann-Erickson, N.Y. CD: Joyce King Thomas AD: Audrey Huffenreuter CW: Amanda Frankel Agency prods.: Julie Andariese, Joseph Cole Prod. co.: HSI Dir.: Hype Williams Editor: Frank Snyder, Ohio Edit Music: Paul Riggio, Big Foote
It’s another clever take from this long-running campaign–the story of a modern-day Cinderella. Final super: “Finishing chores in time (to meet Prince Charming): Priceless.”

Microsoft
Opening Day
Agency: McCann-Erickson, N.Y. CD: Jonathan Cranin AD: Mark Johnson CW: Dion Hughes Agency prod.: Robert Parker Prod. co.: Hungry Man Dir.: Bryan Buckley Editor: Gordon Carey, FilmCore Music: Danny Hulsizer, Elias & Associates
VO: “This is the MSN Project, day one. The four of us are moving into an empty house. Everything we need, we’ll get from the Internet with MSN.” This spot puts Mike, Karen, Jackson and Georgia into an empty house with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a computer. Can’t wait for day two–when Georgia and Karen visit the Truckers Who Flirt chat room.
MTV 2Gether
jersey rockers
Agency/Prod. co.: In-house CD: Christina Norman CW: Jon Wurster Line prod.: Amy Campbell Dir.: Michael Bellino
Editor: Chip Smith, Blue Rock Editing
Rifling through a magazine rack, two Beavis and Butthead types trash a “boys band” called 2Gether. One kid spits at a photo of the lead singer. But later that night both teenagers go back to the rack. This time, they’ve changed their tune. “I like them,” says one kid. “I love them,” says the other. The spot promotes an MTV movie about a fictional teen-sensation band.

Nordstrom
Feng Shui
Agency: Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis CD: David Lubars Creative group head: Peter McHugh AD: Steve Driggs CW: Greg Hahn Agency prod.: Rob Van de Weteringe Buys Prod. co.: Omaha Pictures Dir.: Paul Gay Editor: Alaster Jordan, OBE Partnership
A woman opens her apartment door and walks through a cramped living room, tiny kitchen, minuscule bedroom and humongous closet. Super: “Reinvent feng shui.” Tagline: “Reinvent yourself.” Nordstrom seems to be doing just that with this branding campaign.
OnStar
Batcave
Agency: Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich. Chief creative: Bill Ludwig AD: Jim Millis CW: Nancy Wellinger Agency prod.: Mary Ellen Krawcyzk Prod. co.: Millennium Pictures Dir.: Andrew Davis Editor: Jim Haygood, Superior Assembly Music: Danny Elfman
Batman gets briefed by his butler. “I’ve stepped up safety in the Batmobile, sir,” says Alfred. “Should a villain steal it, someone will track it. If your air bag goes off, an adviser will assist you. If you’re stranded, satellites will help locate you.” Batman need only press the OnStar button on the dashboard.

PhoneFree.com
Blow torch
Agency: Hampel/Stefanides, N.Y. CDs: Larry Hampel, Dean Stefanides AD: Tom Kane CW: Judith Roth Agency prod.: Jean Muchmore Prod. co.: Lovinger Mahoney Adelson Dir.: Jeff Lovinger Editor:
David Smalheiser, Three Fingered Louie
Composer: Fritz Doddy, Elias & Associates
Visual: People burning their long-distance phone bills. VO: “Send your phone company a message. Join us at PhoneFree.com and calling long distance will be totally free.” Super: “Call PC to PC anytime, anywhere for free.”
U.S. Postal Service
robot
Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding, N.Y. GCD/ CW: Tom Rost GCD/AD: Saskia Mossel
Sr. AD: Peter Iannarelli CW: Ian Caplan Agency prod.: Heidi David Asst. prod.: Melissa Morra Prod. co.: Train Wreck Dir.: Mark Dippƒ Editor: David Gioella, Northern Lights Special effects: Western Images Sound: Skywalker Sound Music: Steve Miller Band
A woman needs to exchange a toy robot. VO: “Your customer can print right from your Web site. Now the stuff they buy online practically returns itself.” The USPS e-return is so easy, Zogatron takes care of everything itself.

The Walt Disney Co.
magic kingdom attitude
Agency: In-house ECD: Susan Butterworth CD/AD/CW: Dexter Fedor CW: Matt Walsh Prod.: Cherie Appleby Prod. co.: @radical.media Dir.: Robert Leacock
Editor: Lisa Cheek, Mad River Post Music: Mark Keller, Jeff Cohen, Keller & Cohen
“You hear all those girls going crazy for him?” asks Enrique Iglesias. “Next to him, what chance do I have?” “He’s always ready to party,” says Christina Aguilera. “It’s part of his whole Magic Kingdom attitude.” Tagline: “Why do we love the Mouse?”

februaryIt’s not often that a commercial
featuring a disabled character isn’t handicapped by its own saccharine-soaked sentimentality. But Best Western’s “Grand Canyon” skillfully avoids the most benign clichƒs with a spot that is personal, touching and even manages to reinforce the brand strategy. A blind man is led to a ledge overlooking the Grand Canyon because “everyone should experience it once,” says the ad. He stops and listens to the sounds of the wind whistling through the majestic vista. According to BBDO West chief creative officer Ken Mandelbaum, the new Best Western campaign, carrying the tagline “For every reason to travel,” was born out of consumer research.
It showed most guests stay at the hotel chain because it allows them to pursue other interests, whether it’s visiting the Grand Canyon or cliff-
diving in Hawaii, as shown in another execution. The agency did extensive casting in New York and Los Angeles to find the actor, Christopher Roberts, to convey the right attitude for the spot. “We wanted it to feel positive and inspirational, not melancholy,” Mandelbaum says. What the cast and crew actually felt during the production, however, was sick.
They beat an incoming storm that would have delayed production for
days, but they couldn’t beat the flu that began with director Peter Care.
Mandelbaum laughs, “He was patient zero.” –Eleftheria Parpi