Creative Briefs

Close-up LocationThe Land Down Under

Death Rock may sound like a genre of goth music, but it’s actually a striking section of Streaky Bay in southern Australia that’s popular with surfers. Undaunted by the formidable name, TBWA\Chiat\Day picked the site to film its current Xterra spot.

The ad, which broke last week, shows surfers waking up in an SUV at sunrise, ready to hit the waves. The super: “Motel.”

But viewers don’t get to see Death Rock. In the end, not even the Xterra could handle the terrain separating Death Rock and the road. “As tempting as it was to get the truck down there any way we could,” says art director Chris Lynch, the team ended up doing as most surfers would: sighing and moving on. Fortunately, the bay was so impressive, the team easily found a similar but more accessible locale, says art director Chris Lynch. It was, again, appropriately named: Smooth Rock.

A previous spot casting the Xterra as a “chairlift” for sand-dune boarders was shot on the Bellemont dunes near Ceduna, also in southern Australia. “It is the middle of nowhere,” says Lynch, but “as you leave the dirt road and come up over the dunes, you’re blown away.” He hopes viewers have a similar reaction.

Withdrawal Symptoms

NEW YORK—It took some convincing on the part of Crispin Porter + Bogusky for Compass Bank to agree to its first TV work since the Miami shop won the account a year ago.

The two spots, which broke last week, tout the refunds the bank gives customers who pay fees at non-Compass ATMs. The work is more lighthearted than traditional bank ad s, says associate creative director and copywriter Scott Linnen.

One spot opens on a man who appears to be using an ATM as he says, “Gettin’ some bread. Give Daddy the bacon. …” A reverse camera angle re veals that he’s withdrawing food from his fridge—and incurring a $2.50 fee. “Why pay for what’s already yours?” the super asks.

“A lot of sweating blood” finally won over the client, says Lin nen. The Birmingham, Ala.-based bank had lost money on the ATM-refund program since introducing it—without ads—four years ago and was considering dropping it. The CP+B team was certain it would take off if more people knew about it. The concept began in print, then moved to radio and TV.

At the one-day shoot in Toronto in July, director John Curran of Anonymous made time for ad-libbing. For a spot showing a woman trying to withdraw a tube top from her closet, one act ress improvised, “Are we in hell?” “It didn’t play in Bir ming ham,” says Linnen. The current ads are playing just fine: Compass is recouping its losses and will keep the program.

Withdrawal Symptoms Only 100 Shopping Days Left Friendly Competition

Only 100 Shopping Days Left

The Martin Agency broke its first campaign for United Parcel Service on Labor Day weekend with what might be the earliest Christmas spots ever. Each of the three 30-second spots features veteran actor Cork Hubbert as a solid Wharton Business School type—only he’s an elf. Deadpan, Hubbert reasons his way through the complexities of global warehousing and inventory management and logistics, adding, “We’ve had instances where the naughty got toys and the nice got coal, but it’s not gonna happen on my watch.” Campaign strategy for the Atlanta delivery service focuses on promoting its supply-chain and distribution services, but not its delivery strengths. “We don’t want to replace Santa,” says Cliff Sorah, creative director at the Richmond, Va., shop. “UPS is the procurement and the logistics arm, but Santa does the delivery.” St. Nick does get a cameo in the spots, directed by Stacy Wall through Hungry Man, Los An geles.

For the elf’s speech, creatives lifted every corporate buzzword they could find. As we see classic assembly-line choreography, the elf says, “We started modernizing sled operations in 1978,” and talks of Santa’s workshop as the “most logistically complex business in the world.”

“The last thing we want to do is commercialize Christmas more than it already is, but the things we’re talking about make sense to our target,” says Sorah. “This is what a real business is going through right now.”

Friendly Competition

Wieden + Kennedy’s brief for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown was very specific, says creative director Amy Nicholson. Since the sports channel considers the camaraderie of the hosts to be one of the most appealing aspects of the show, ESPN wanted its commercials to reflect that.

“We did three completely different campaigns,” Nicholson says, all based on the commentators’ friendship. The client chose the most literal interpretation of the brief. Nick Cas sa vetes (She’s So Lovely) directed the spots, which show the program’s hosts hanging out together. In one, Chris Berman loudly claims that the Packers and Broncos never did any good until after the respective retirements of Sterling Sharp and Tom Jackson, both of whom are cooking burgers a few feet away. On the sly, Sharp chucks a patty in the dirt and promptly serves it to Berman. Other scenarios involve a bet about who can kick a 30-yard field goal and a game of H-O-R-S-E. Nicholson wouldn’t reveal the other two concepts that were pitched, hoping they will be used for future campaigns.