Creative Briefs

DÉJÀ VUDouble Take

We once had a slew of John Cleeses. Now it’s a bunch of Howie Longs.

The cloning effect used in a new Radio Shack spot recalls a 1991 Magnavox ad from Backer Spielvogel Bates (now Bates USA). In the earlier spot, Cleese is introducing a personal CD player when the camera pulls back to show him on a TV screen. Another Cleese, standing nearby, continues the presentation. The camera continues to zoom out, showing Cleese on a number of Magnavox screens—a larger TV, a camcorder and a notebook computer.

For something not completely different, there’s the Radio Shack ad—which uses the same technique to show Long on various Compaq computer screens with different color accessories.

Barry King, vp of creative for Radio Shack’s in-house ad shop, Circle R Group in Fort Worth, Texas, says he never saw the Magnavox ad, and that his spot provided a clever way to explain the color options.

Quick, to the Grillmobile!

Talk about multitasking: The two lovable losers driving a grill on wheels for the Maryland Lottery are actually employees from the client’s ad agency, Eisner Communications.

Copywriter Jeff Alphin had invented the contraption on his own to combine his favorite pastimes: driving and grilling. When creative director Steve Etzine heard about it, he blurted out, “That is a commercial.”

It turned out to be a good fit for the lottery’s new branding message—that it’s as much fun to play as to win. The grillmobile, in its own way, embodies that idea, says Etzine. As Alphin explains in the spot, “We may not win any races, but we won’t cross the finish line hungry.” It’s a notion that’s echoed in the tagline: “The race is as fun as the prize. Let yourself play.”

With the idea in place, the spots “sort of wrote themselves,” says Etzine. Other executions feature a car-chasing dog and a “Pumpkin Chunkin’ ” contest. With the latter being an actual event in Maryland, the shop wanted Christopher Guest to direct. When he was unavailable, David Wild of Wild Scientific stepped in. “He made it better,” says Etzine. “Guest can be a bit cruel.”

The chunkers and grillers do come off as humorous charmers. “Chicks dig it,” Alphin says. Adds Saar: “Exhaust is an insulting word. We call it aroma.”

Quick, to the Grillmobile! Playing KetchupOffice Space Remembrance People

Playing Ketchup

New work for Heinz’s green ketchup from Leo Burnett in Chicago touts not only the product’s color, but also an “EZ Squirt” cap that makes it “easier to draw … on food,” according to a voiceover. Two TV spots that broke last week show adults discovering ketchup designs drawn on their cars and walls. The copywriter was Daniel Mabe, the art director Chad Ackley and the creative directors Dave Reger and Mike Stranznickas.

A sentimental up date of the B.T.O. tune “Takin’ Care of Business” backs Office Depot’s latest TV spot from Gold Coast, Miami. The 30-second ad features an older man announcing to the employees of his small business that he’s turning the company over to his daughter. “I’m leaving you in good hands,” he says. The young woman promptly goes shopping to remodel the place with Office Depot products. At one point she gently dusts a childhood photo taken with her father as Daddy looks on fondly. Gold Coast’s president, Stuart Dornfield, was creative director; Ricardo Porven was associate creative director.

Services will be held this month for two veterans of the industry. Steve Sandoz, a creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, died last month after a 10-year battle with cancer. Sandoz, 48, was most recently creative director for W+K Interactive, overseeing work including Nike’s Whatever, Bracketville and Shox campaigns. During his 13-year tenure at the agency, Sandoz worked on accounts including Coca-Cola, Miller Brewing and Microsoft, and helped launch Wieden’s European offices in Amsterdam and London. His numerous awards include Clios, One Show pencils and Gold Lions. A service will be held Jan. 20 at Wieden’s Portland, Ore., headquarters. … Director Allan Van Rijn, 52, died suddenly in his sleep Dec. 19. A former head of production at J. Walter Thompson in Amsterdam, Van Rijn began directing in 1983 and had been with RSA USA in Los Angeles for the past four years. His credits include “Spikes” for Lexus, as well as ads for Reebok, Nike/Foot Locker, Taco Bell and “Got milk?” A memorial service will be held Jan. 15 at RSA.

Thom Baginski has returned to DDB in New York as a creative director. He left in 1999 to pursue a career as a comedy writer, but did participate in the agency’s winning pitch for Hasbro Boys’ Toys last year. … M. Neill McCutcheon joins Doremus in New York as associate creative director, handling accounts such as Rabo Bank, Guardian Life Insurance and ChemConnect.