Guest Critic

Way, way, way back in my youth, I worked on a campaign called “The Night Belongs to Michelob.” For those of you who are too young to remember it, the commercials were basically nighttime music videos with some beer thrown in for good measure. It was a good film/music/editing experience at the time. More importantly, it also meant that I got to hang around with ’80s rock luminaries.

What struck me most, aside from their ability to party incredibly hard and still function the next day, was how supportive and appreciative they were of each other. I can’t imagine Eric Clapton was a huge fan of “Su-Sussudio,” but I never heard him dog Phil Collins about it.

With that sense of appreciation and bonhommie in mind, here are my “glass-is-half-full” observations on the ads of September:

The Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage campaign, in which an otherwise normal suburban family has Earth’s sun for a dad, is subtly funny and well-written. While only one spot made the “best of” list, the campaign benefits from multiple executions, and the more you see, the better it gets—especially the running gag about sun-dad burning stuff in the kitchen.

The McDonald’s chicken sandwich commercial features either Mindy Sterling (the actress who played Frau Farbissina in Austin Powers), or a dead-on Frau look-alike. She plays one of two women whose office behavior resembles that of chickens, which ends up making a co-worker hungry for—you guessed it—chicken. Weird and quirky for Mickey D’s? I’ll take more of that, please.

Wrigley’s continues to get better, especially with its work on Orbit. Man, they’ve come a long way from “Kiss a little longer/won’t stick to most dental work/Extra flavor lasts an extra long time.” Good on them.

Sprint’s campaign is finding its legs. Some spots are better than others, and the one that made the best list (“Clones”) didn’t crack me up the way “Sticking it to the Man” and “Dolls” did, but it’s nice to see something promising in an often-stinky category.

And Pedigree does its usual nice job of depicting dogs in a realistic and flattering way in its “Jumbone” spot. (“Jumbone,” for those of you who weren’t aware, is a meat-product-filled, bone-shaped chew toy: sort of a McRib sandwich for dogs.)

Maybe it’s because we have a new Bernese Mountain puppy named Lola at home, and I’m now a dog expert, but Pedigree commercials always look like they were made by dog lovers instead of MBA holders.

If my glass were half-empty this month, you might have heard me yawn at Charles Schwab, or observe that Dockers’ “Trolley” bore a striking resemblance to a “Nice Pants” subway execution of theirs from a few years back. And you might have heard me scratching my head as I watched Miller High Life’s “Girl in the Moon” and wondered who they’re trying to sell beer to with a wistful female voiceover and photos of Y.A. Tittle from 1959. But I’m not going there, brother. Not this month. Not when my glass is half-full.