What’s New : Portfolio

Pyramid Draught Pale Ale
AGENCY: Cole & Weber, Seattle
CLIENT: Pyramid Breweries, Seattle
MEDIUM: consumer, trade press
ART DIRECTOR: Aleta Taylor
COPYWRITER: Nicole Michels
PHOTOGRAPHER: Randy Allbritton

If you praise this ale, is that a case of drink and tell? Body copy elaborates on the headline: “As you slowly savor a creamy DPA, you begin comparing it aloud to similarly smooth experiences. Memorable kisses. Leather seats. Silk sheets. More kisses. By now the stranger on the bar stool next to you is probably looking quite uncomfortable.” Very good. Just when you might begin to think this whole beer-as-kiss business is getting out of hand, the ad steps back from it and laughs. But it avoids the sort of irony that leaves a reader puzzled about whether anything in the ad is worth taking seriously. Even as Pyramid acknowledges that others might be less rapturous on the subject of beer, it leaves you in no doubt that the brewer is madly in love with the stuff-which gives reason to suppose its beer is good. (As, in fact, it is.)

Logitech’s Mouseman+
AGENCY: Young & Rubicam, San Francisco
CLIENT: Logitech, Fremont, Calif.
MEDIUM: computer-user and consumer press
COPYWRITERs: Perrin Lam, Fred Wickham
PHOTOGRAPHER: Michelle Clement
DIGITAL MANIPULATION: Carol Michaud of I Magic

Coming from a product that promises to make things easier for us, the ad itself is a chore to decipher. Why is the message delivered by a face that seems to have materialized out of the corner of a painting at an art gallery? For that matter, if the headline’s operative metaphor is old-mouse-as-old-car, why is the action set in an art gallery in the first place? It just doesn’t click-let alone double-click. Body copy sustains the automotive theme, but only for readers who have the patience to read sentences in which the words are stacked atop each other, one at a time. However stylish such a type treatment may look, it makes it tedious to follow a line of reasoning. The pity of it all is that the ad does have a fun idea at its core. People who envision themselves zipping around the Internet are good candidates for a mouse whose “innovative wheel button” allows them to take “shortcuts through cyberspace.” And the old-car schtick is a clever way of disparaging the clunky mice they’ve already got. The ad just doesn’t get good mileage from this concept.

Digiorno Pasta
AGENCY: Leo Burnett, Chicago
CLIENT: Kraft Foods, Glenview, Ill.
MEDIUM: consumer press group
COPYWRITER: Jonathan Moore

Which came first-the chicken or the lemon? Like lots of ads for pastas, this one toils to give the brand a European air. But it avoids the trappings of Old World village folksiness, which would send the wrong signals for a newfangled product that consumers must learn to seek in the refrigerated section of the supermarket. The visual style is more citified, suggesting convenience of the sort an urbane Euro-bourgeois would want. Thus, consumers will take in the idea that they can buy this ready-made stuff without marking themselves as gastronomic rubes. The phrase “the eating world” sounds like a literal translation of a foreign-language idiomatic expression. But that’s not such a bad thing, as it augments the impression that there’s something other-than-American about the brand.

AGENCY: Matthaeus Halverson Ayriss, Bellevue, Wash.
CLIENT: Ore-Ida Foods, Boise, Idaho
MEDIUM: 30-second TV
PRODUCER: Dianna Turner

“It’s your night to cook,” Astronaut 1 tells Astronaut 2 as the dinner hour approaches aboard the space shuttle. When Astro 2 proffers one plastic tube containing chicken and another containing steak, Astro 3 complains: “We had chicken last night.” What’s a shuttlecook to do? Astro 1 gets Astro 2’s attention, then releases a box of Ore-Ida Twice-Baked Potatoes from a place of concealment under a control panel. Naturally, they float around weightlessly. Astro 2 starts to ask how Astro 1 managed to smuggle such a delicacy aboard, but he’s shushed by Astro 1, who gestures meaningfully toward the camera that monitors their every move for Mission Control. A voiceover positions Twice-Baked Potatoes as a way “to make your everyday meals a little more special.” At the end, Astro 2 holds aloft a flaming red stick as Astro 3 complains that they had cherries jubilee last night. Nicely written, paced and acted, this would be a first-rate commercial for some product. I’m just not sure it’s a first-rate commercial for this product. If it were selling a simple, unprocessed food, the contrast with chicken-in-a-tube would be wholly in the client’s favor. But in this case, we’re apt to end up feeling that a microwaveable prebaked potato is pretty much akin to astronaut food. In effect, the spot makes the tepid claim that Ore-Ida’s product tastes better than some certifiably awful alternatives.

What’s New submissions should be in the form of proofs, slides or (for TV spots) videotape. Please list creative director, art director, copywriter, agency producer, production company (and its location), director and illustrator or photographer. Describe the media schedule, including break date for the ad. Preference will be given to the newest work. Materials cannot be returned. Send submissions to:
What’s New Portfolio, Adweek, 1515 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036.