When a bank promises to treat you better than other banks, do you take the claim seriously? Doubtful. Ads of that ilk are the white noise of commercial culture. But what if a bank (or any other business) says it’ll treat you better than your kids and spouse do? Now they’re talking! This ad is onto something in catering to the vast market of people who feel like oppressed proletarians on the home front. Your kids aren’t deferential toward you? We’ll be deferential, says First Bank. Small type offers a sampling of the peremptory demands you might make of the bank: ” ‘Deposit this.’ ‘Transfer this.’ ‘Cash this.’ ‘Give me your best rate on a CD.’ ” In all-too-sharp contrast to life at home, you’ll find your demands are heeded. As the final line of copy says, “Your wish is our command.” There’s another advantage to this comparative approach: It lets the client promise to pamper its customers (which they like) without seeming downright servile (which Americans generally don’t like).
Agency: Rodgers Townsend, St. Louis
Client: First Bank, St. Louis
Exec. Creative Director: Tom Hudder
Art Director: Tim Varner
Copywriter: Mike Dillon
Production Artist: Evan Willnow
Photography: Michael Eastman
If people expected ads for cosmetics and fragrances to make sense, they’d be puzzled by the clocks here. They might also wonder what the headline is getting at. (Has Stila defined its audience as stewardesses on international flights?) The brief body copy wouldn’t do much to clarify matters with its promise that Stila’s “complete coveragefoundation goes the distance and gives the look of perfect skin in any time zone.” Fortunately for Stila, plenty of women read such ads the way non-speakers of Italian listen to a Puccini opera, savoring the sound of the lyrics without knowing or caring precisely what the words denote. As long as the visual and rhetorical cues seem sufficiently chic, readers won’t demand that they cohere into a rational message. And, indeed, this ad manages in its lighthearted way to create a mood of jet-set sophistication. As withprior executions in this campaign, the illustrational style spares readers the indignity of comparing their own skin (perhaps less than perfect?) with the flawless face of a photographic model.
Agency: The Press Cabinet,Los Angeles
Client: Stila unit of Estee Lauder, New York
Creative Director/Art Director: Price Arana
Art Director: Flavia Cureteu
Copywriters: Kim Waite, Teresa Buyikian
Illustrator: Caitlin Dinkins
This ad reminds us (were any reminder needed) that men are the downscale gender. It’s hard to think of any female-oriented products that deliberately adopt a lower-class image. But the ploy is common in products aimed at men—beer, blue jeans, pickup trucks, etc. Few lads now aspire to be ill-clad lumberjacks. Nonetheless, Lucky Lager rightly figures a downscale aura is no disadvantage if it gives the brand an air of masculine authenticity. (And you’ve got to love the implicit mnemonic of “logger” and “lager.”) Nothing here will lead us to believe Lucky is especially tasty. That doesn’t matter, though, if a guy can brandish the brand as an emblem of his unpretentiousness. Each ad in the series includes the line, “Some things never change.” True enough, but will this observation help Lucky’s cause? It won’t appeal to consumers who crave novelty, of course. As for traditionalists, their strongest conviction is not that all old things are good but that good old things are all falling by the wayside. So they could easily assume either that Lucky isn’t really unchanged or that it wasn’t particularly good in the first place.
Agency: Axmith McIntyre Wicht, Toronto
Client: Lucky Lager, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Creative Director/Copywriter: Brian Howlett
Art Directors: Ron Smrczek, Mark Scott
Maybe it’s all those commercials we’ve seen that extol traditional recipes and foods cooked just the way grandma did. Or maybe our brains are hardwired to be wary of foods we’ve never tried. Whatever the reason, innovation isn’t a trait the average consumer demands of his food. So, is Quizno’s wise to tout its toasted submarine sandwiches (radical idea!) with spots that laud dramatic departures from prior human behavior? In one of the new commercials, a prehistoric man confounds his pals by showing up in pants while they’re clad in the usual twigs and leaves. “I fear change, and I will keep my bushes,” says one of these backward fellows. It’s quite funny, and all the more so for combining modern absurdism and prehistoric schtick. In a category rife with faux wackiness, this campaign is genuinely bizarre. As such, it will strike a rapport with the many people who like to see themselves as free spirits even though they’re no such thing. These consumers may not be attracted to the novelty of toasted subs, but the spots will predispose them to forgive Quizno’s for its untraditional approach.
Agency: Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York
Client: Quizno’s Corp., Denver
Exec. Creative Director: Arthur Bijur
Copywriter: Richard Bullock
Art Director: Taras Wayner
Agency Producer: Matt Bijarchi
Production Company: BaseCamp, Hollywood
Director: Wayne Halloway