What’s New: Portfolio

T.J. Maxx Stores
Agency Ingalls Advertising, Boston
Client T.J. Maxx, Framingham, Mass.
Medium Magazines, In-Mall Displays
Creative Directors Rob Rich, Steve Bautista
Art Director Kathy Kuhn
Copywriters Bruno Corbo, Bob Fitzgerald
Production Dave Goodwin
Photography Dan Nourie
In addressing teenagers, advertisers are often possessed by the lunatic notion that they should try to sound like teenagers. The result, inevitably, is some of the phoniest advertising on earth. No matter how slavishly they follow the evanescent fads of the mall-rat pack, adults with real jobs cannot feel like pimply 16-year-olds, which in turn means they can’t convincingly replicate teenspeak. Instead of trying to do so, this ad says something true about teen life. Smart idea. And if the headline sounds ruthless, that aptly reflects the state of teenage nature–a war of all against all if ever there was one. Daring to speak a darker truth than grown-ups usually acknowledge in front of kids, the ad will connect strongly with its target audience. There’s no pretense that T.J. Maxx is the hippest store in town. But the savvy headline works with the offbeat visual style to assure kids they won’t embarrass themselves by shopping there and scooping up some bargains. That’s half the battle when someone is jockeying for position in the peer-pressure pecking order.

Agency Fallon Mcelligott, Minneapolis
Client Bmw, Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
Medium Consumer Print
Creative Directors Bruce Bildsten, Tom Lichtenheld
Art Director Steve Sage
Copywriter Tom Rosen
Photography Graham Westmoreland
Bold type sums up the 7 Series BMW: “A powerful retort to the statement, ‘You’re only young once.’ ” Advertising is often accused of promising more than the product can deliver. In this case, though, if the ad gets you to believe a new BMW will be your personal “fountain of youth,” then the car will make you feel young. What’s involved here is a transaction of belief between ad and reader, with the car in the role of a bystander. Despite the ominous sky, the castellated visual looks playful enough to get you into a receptive frame of mind for this sales pitch. And a good thing, too, since the copy is unrestrained in its paean to the car. “It has the rare ability to thrill you. Exhilarate you. Rejuvenate you.” All that effusion reminds me of the Three Stooges routine in which a round of introductions in high society leads from “Enchanted!” to “Entranced!” to “Embalmed!” The ad closes on a stronger note as it returns to the theme of second youth: Driving one of these cars will make “each day feel like an extended recess.”

Hennessy Cognac
Agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York
Client Schieffelin & Somerset, New York
Medium Consumer Print Executive
Creative Director Bill Oberlander
Art Director Eric Houseknecht
Copywriter Lynn Branecky
Photography Clarence Klingebeil
Can this relationship be saved? Granted, it appears to be going swimmingly so far. But will his predilection for poker, BLT’s and English bulldogs prove irreconcilable with her taste for eggs Benedict, cycling and anything red? At least they share an interest in R&B and boxer shorts, as well as a sense of humor. Happily for Hennessy, readers are suckers for lists of this sort, so the campaign’s Venn diagrams will pull them in while placing the brand in a congenial context. Better still, lots of readers will be inspired to play this game themselves, figuring out how (if at all) their own circle of interests overlaps with that of a significant other. So the ad will linger with people, even when they’re done looking at it. If the tagline sounds vaguely pompous in describing Hennessy as “appropriately complex,” that’s not a mortal sin in this category. Given the casualness of daily life, people want a bit of pomp now and then. Then again, you don’t want a drink that’s more complex than you are. In that regard, the enumeration of Hennessy drinkers’ diverse traits gives a prudent dose of flattery to the target audience.

Agency Slaughter Hanson, Birmingham, Ala.
Client Kindercare, Portland, Ore.
Medium Consumer Print Executive
Creative Director Terry Slaughter
Creative Director/Copywriter Gary Brandon
Art Director Paul Crawford
Photography Jock Mcdonald (Kid), Randy Mayor
The most important sentence in this ad comes halfway down the right-hand column, partly in the shadow of that robin’s nest: “We’re not just child care.” And that’s a good place for it, helping KinderCare to position itself as “Your Child’s First Classroom” without looking conspicuously defensive in the process. Artfully typeset in the pencils, the headline gets things off to a positive start: “Is where she goes to preschool more important than where she goes to grad school?” As the copy cites a consensus of “top educators” about early childhood development, you find yourself accepting it as a given that KinderCare is an educational enterprise and not merely a day-care center. The look of the ad is cheerful, modern and orderly–all of these being qualities that parents seek in a preschool. But what about that apple on the girl’s head? It’s hard not to read it as an allusion to William Tell, in which case you wonder whether someone’s going to be shooting an arrow in her direction. That might be educational, too, but it sounds a little risky.
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.