Creative Briefs

DÉJÀ VUA Tale of Two Cities

Small-town rivalry is common all across America. Now it’s cropping up in sports ads.

Spots for Visa and Nike are both set in quaint small towns eerily populated with sports players, fans, mascots and cheerleaders. Visa’s recent ad from BBDO, featuring, begins: “There’s a little town where people work just once a week.” The earlier Nike ad from Wieden + Kennedy introduced Bracketville to promote last spring’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament with the words: “There’s a place in America where the sun shines a little brighter in the month of March.”

In both, the idyllic scenes end with aerial views, showing on a Visa card and Bracketville’s grid of streets as a playoff bracket.

Agency staffers were tight-lipped. A representative for BBDO in New York declined comment. At Wieden in Portland, Ore., creatives Ian Cohen and Matt Peterson would only acknowledge the similarities.

Hear Me Roar

For the second straight year, Bob Minihan, chief creative officer of Holland Mark Advertising, trekked off on an African safari to photograph lions for use in advertising for Dreyfus Corp. But this time the lions bit back.

A small team from the Boston agency recently returned from an 11-day trip to the Harnas game reserve in the southwestern African nation of Namibia, on the edge of the continent’s vast Kalahari desert. Minihan, photographer Harry DeZitter and agency staffers Michael Weed, Peter Joyce and Ali Asplund roamed the vast plains in search of big cats to use in the Dreyfus campaign.

At one point, an overly playful lion bit clear through a heavy tire on the crew’s camera truck, forcing the group to return to the nearest town, four hours away, for a replacement, Minihan says.

But the trip was a success. The images will begin appearing in the first quarter as Holland Mark’s “Lion Rules” campaign enters its second year. The work leverages the familiar Dreyfus icon and links investment strategies to the laws of the jungle. The tagline remains “You, your advisor, and Dreyfus.”

The agency is building a stronger print component for 2001, Minihan says, so TV spots filmed on his previous tour of Africa will be recycled.

Hear Me Roar Pop Culture Duck Wrestling Rebranding MLKSticking With BenzAICP Retains Officers

Pop Culture

John Hegarty was apprehensive before his recent photo shoot with Iggy Pop. “I thought I’d better have 10 interesting things I could say about his music” in case the session headed south, says the chairman of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which photographed the punk legend for Reebok’s “Classics” campaign. But it went smoothly. “He was charming,” says Hegarty, who had Pop wear the Classic Flow shoe, recalling his preference for Reebok high tops in the ’80s. Pop posed shirtless—”Iggy is very much about his body,” admits Hegarty—and with a microphone cord wrapped around him that represents those who tried to hold him back. The ads break next month in consumer magazines.

Aflac’s spokesduck appears in the crowd at a wrestling event featuring King Kong Bundy in the latest 30-second TV spot for the insurance company from the Kaplan Thaler Group, New York. The thunderous smackdowns remind one spectator of the importance of supplemental insurance. As in past spots, the duck gets ticked off when the guy can’t remember the company name, and begins shouting “Aflac!” He then is doused with soda and gets his foot stuck in gooey stuff on the arena floor.

Rebranding MLK

Donald Bermudez, creative director at Esprit Creative in Atlanta, faced a dilemma in creating a new branding image for the Martin Luther King Jr. International Holiday on Jan. 15. “Everything we had was black-and-white,” he says. “We wanted to illustrate the warmth of the man.” The new design—a pastel illustration, 15th holiday anniversary logo and the tagline “A day on … not a day off”—is being used for all promotions for the Atlanta-based King Center. The photo Bermudez worked from was a Dan Budnick shot of the civil rights leader. “His gaze was so intense, but not angry,” says Ber mudez. The ads broke last month in Atlanta.

Sticking With Benz

A playful R&B tune called “Stuck on You” sets the tone for the latest TV spot for Mercedes-Benz USA from Merkley Newman Harty, New York. As the E-class makes tracks through snow and rain, a voiceover says, “Whatever the weather, these babies stick.” Snyder Music in New York produced the music.

Alex Blum, partner at Headquarters, was re-elected chairman of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. Alfred Califano, partner at OneSuch Films, was again voted vice chairman. Matt Miller remains president.