Creative: What’s New – Portfolio

What’s New – Portfolio

EMBARCADERO CENTER

Agency: Odiorne Wilde Narraway + Partners, San Francisco
Creative Directors: Michael Wilde, Jeff Odiorne
Art Director: Dave Sakamoto
Copywriter: Tony Stern
Agency Producer: Sharon Kuerschner
Photography: Deborah Jones


Unless your house just burned down, you don’t need any of the stuff Embarcadero Center sells. What you do need is an excuse to shop. That’s what this campaign provides as it proposes dual uses for items one can find in the shopping center’s stores. If these items are so versatile, maybe you need them after all! In addition to the bowls (equally useful for “Leafy Salads” or “Haircuts”), the ads feature wraparound sunglasses (“UV Protection” or “Witness Protection”) and black-and-white-striped high heels (“Fashion Statement” or “Killing Spiders”). With its slyly knowing tone, the campaign addresses a reader more as co-conspirator than customer. That’ll help shopping enthusiasts feel Embarcadero Center is their kind of place. The series also seems calculated to arm women with snappy comebacks when men mock their supposed weakness for recreational shopping.

STILA LIP GLAZE

Agency: The Press Cabinet, Los Angeles
Creative Director: Price Arana
Art Directors: Flavia Cureteu, Robert Karns
Copywriters: Kim Waite, Kierna Terrisse
Illustration: Caitlan Dinkins

Cosmetics marketers have a special advantage: Trained by decades of nonsensical messages in this category, the consumer doesn’t expect their ads to make sense. That means a cosmetics ad can be wildly fanciful without dashing readers’ expectations for a comprehensible message. Unfortunately, few advertisers take advantage of that liberating fact. Their ads often don’t make sense, but they aren’t imaginative, either. Stila’s campaign of ingenues and palm trees doesn’t make obvious, literal sense-where exactly is the headline’s “here”?-but the manner of the ads is pleasantly surreal. There’s no pretense that this stuff will change your life. And that’s fine, since many young women are pleased with their lives as is. They’ll respond to an ad that doesn’t imply they’re duds without the transformative help of the advertiser’s glop. For these women, the campaign’s collection of illustrated characters will also seem less unreal than the usual picture-perfect models-i.e., the sort who would look gorgeous without a dab of lip glaze.

BUELL MOTORCYCLES

Agency: Laughlin/Constable, Milwaukee
Client: Buell Motorcycle division of Harley-Davidson, Milwaukee
Creative Director: Steve Laughlin
Assoc. Creative Director/Art Director: John Kirchen
Assoc. Creative Director/Copywriter: Alex Mohler
Photography: Peter Carter

Walk into any decent art museum and you’ll find many of the best works have religious themes. Pity poor advertising, then. It can’t easily use religious imagery without offending the pious and the impious alike. With this stained-glass window, Buell finds a clever way to grab attention without ruffling anyone’s sensibilities. And the visual device of S-curve idolatry ties in with the characterization of Buell cycles as “Devoted to the road.” (Other encomia in the small type at bottom include “Curve-flicking” and “Twisty-taming.”) In a category given to adolescent bravado, the ad is remarkably grown-up. Which leads us to the question: Is that a good idea? The absence of macho posturing will come across as a refreshing change to readers in general. One can’t help wondering, though, whether the category’s core audience will be left cold by an ad as testosterone-free as this one. Good agencies have a commendable desire to avoid clichés. But what if consumers like those clichés? Compared to advertising’s standard depiction of the motorcycle as indomitable hell on wheels, a machine that’s “devoted” to anything may seem wimpy.

PREVACID HEARTBURN REMEDY

Agency: Bates USA, New York
Client: TAP Pharmaceutical Products, Lake Forest, Ill.
Exec. Creative Director: Robert Froehlich
Assoc. Creative Director/Art Director: Mark Webb
Assoc. Creative Director/Copywriter: Billy Ryan
Directors: Luis Cook, Steve Harding-Hill
Production Company: Aardman Animations, Bristol, England

If you’re nostalgic for the vintage aspirin commercials with hammers pounding in people’s heads, this spot might suit your taste. It’s got an animated stomach that slumps disconsolately on a flophouse bed, belches flames, runs on a treadmill, etc. While this is going on, we hear a rendition of “Heartburn Hotel” (to the tune of “Heartbreak Hotel”). “Welcome to a hot spot where pain and discomfort dwell. It’s down at the end of Acid Street, the Heartburn Hotel.” That’s as lyrical as the lyrics get, with later phrases sounding like the Physicians’ Desk Reference set to music. After a voiceover gives the ask-your-doctor spiel, Prevacid is seen turning off the “tiny pumps that produce acid in your stomach.” The spot ends with the stomach checking out of Heartburn Hotel. A person in perfect health might have the strength to follow all this (as when a mention of changes in diet is illustrated by a vanishing slice of pizza). A person with a chronic malady likely would not. The spot shows how far production technique has advanced since the hammer-in-the-head era. But the limitations of those days imposed a useful simplicity. The fact that you can dramatize the complete life and times of an acidic stomach doesn’t mean you should.