Creative Briefs

A House Divided

Swedish furniture maker Ikea put its agency Deutsch out on the curb last week after 11 years of memorable characters and a broad appeal.

Among the highlights of the relationship was a TV commercial from 1991 featuring a baby boomer couple reminiscing in their empty nest. Donny Deutsch has told Adweek the ad worked “not by showing [the characters] doing goofy things, but by showing them in the same way you’d show a 32-year-old yuppie.” Another landmark spot, from 1994, received similar accolades. In the light, humorous ad, a gay couple shops for a dining room table. Reported to be the first mainstream commercial to feature a gay couple, it was praised for avoiding denigrating stereotypes.

More recently, Deutsch employed a redecorating theme. In spots from 1997 and 1999, such places as a New York subway car and a hut on Gilligan’s Island get a makeover.

Exxon, Kellogg in a Cat Fight

It’s grrrreat to put a tiger in your tank. Or maybe not.

Two of America’s corporate giants, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Kellogg Co., are battling over the tigers in their marketing. The issue first hit the courts in 1996, when the Battle Creek, Mich., food company charged Exxon with violating its Tony the Tiger trademark (created in 1952 by Kellogg’s lead agency, Leo Burnett) by using an illustrated tiger to advertise its gas station convenience stores. Exxon has been using a tiger (along with the slogan “Put a tiger in your tank”) to advertise its gasoline since the 1960s in a campaign first developed by Bob Jones of McCann-Erickson, New York. Kellogg’s claim pertains to Exxon’s more recent use of the tiger logo to tout its convenience stores, which sell food.

The original suit was thrown out by a district court judge in 1998, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently let stand a U.S. Circuit Court ruling allowing the case to proceed. The new trial is set for Jan. 16 in Memphis, Tenn.

Kellogg officials would not comment on the details of the suit. Exxon Mobil, whose lead agency is DDB Worldwide, New York, said in a statement that the company is “quite confident that consumers recognize the Exxon Cartoon Tiger and do not confuse it with Tony the Tiger.”

The statement goes on to invite Kellogg to help the Irving, Texas-based oil company with its $9 million Save the Tiger wildlife preservation fund.

Exxon, Kellogg in a Cat Fight Post Production You Be the Judge Games People PlayPeople

“Truth is stranger than fiction” says executive creative director Kathy Delaney about Deutsch’s campaign promoting the New York Post and its newly reduced price of 25 cents. Actual New York clerks, hairstylists, restauranteurs and real estate agents star in the spots, which broke this month and juxtapose the exorbitant prices for the city’s products and services ($225 for a haircut, for example) with the paper, “the last great deal in New York.” Delaney adds that the eager participants were given lines but “the words that came out of their own hearts were much funnier.” As editor Nelson Leonard of Editing Concepts says, “It was kind of like giving them enough rope to hang themselves.” The task in post-production was to edit the comments so they get increasingly absurd. In one spot, a clerk flatly states, “We’re not partial to people who only spend the $1,000.” One way to develop the tone, Leonard says, was to simply “cut to [the clerk] with a straight face.”

The Florida chapter of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers has enlisted five top-flight international creatives to judge a contest to find a print campaign promoting Florida’s commercial production industry. The judges, all of whom have won Gold Lions in print in the last two years, include Marcello Serpa of Almap BBDO in Brazil, jury president of the 2000 International Advertising Festival at Cannes; Anne de Maupeou of CLM/BBDO in France; John McCabe of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand; David Barker of Mountain View in London; and Jurgen Krieger of Tamden Campmany Guasch DDB in Barcelona. Ten Florida shops responded, and one will be named the winner at the Florida AICP show on Nov. 9.

“Put a little play in your day,” urges Doe-Anderson in new TV campaign for The Kentucky Lottery that’s a twist on the old “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game” concept. Debuting this fall, the Louisville agency’s 30-second spots feature real folks telling surreal stories. In one, a garrulous housewife relates how she and her husband Luke—seen grilling on a background barbecue grill—usually play on Saturdays. But old Luke “had one of his feelings,” and the couple came up with a “$12 Scratch-Off Winner.” A second spot showcases three good old boy mechanics winning $8—enough to splurge on super-size fries. The last spot features ubiquitous game-show host Bob Eubanks nagging a hapless driver across every preset of his car radio, flogging Instant Powerball. Eubanks, of course, is hiding in the trunk.

Kerry Casey, former executive creative director at Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis has joined crosstown shop Periscope as a creative director. Casey stepped down as ECD and took a reduced role at Carmichael about a year ago. At Periscope he is one of three creative directors.