AGENCY : Borders Perrin & Norrander, Portland, Ore.
CLIENT: Columbia Sportswear, Portland, Ore.
MEDIUM: outdoor-enthusiast magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Terry Schneider
ART DIRECTOR: Kent Suter
COPYWRITER: John Heinsma
PHOTOGRAPHERs: RJ Muna (scenic imagery); Steve Bonini (Gert Boyle inset); Michael Jones (product)
If the outdoors is as unpleasant as it looks in many ads for heavy-duty gear, it’s a wonder anyone ever goes there. Yes, readers get the point that the client’s wares are tough. The whole outdoorsy enterprise looks joyless, though-a pursuit for people desperate to prove themselves. Columbia’s ads don’t stint on description of daunting conditions. But neither do they forget that we go outdoors to have fun, not to subject our clothing to torture tests. If we climb mountains, it’s because we like to climb. It just happens that mountains tend to have lousy weather. “Arctic winds, driving rain, numbing cold. It’s enough to make one long for the comfort of the womb.” But with its fleece liner, wicking mesh and so on, this parka “ensures you stay toasty no matter what” so you can enjoy your short walk in the Hindu Kush instead of just enduring it.
AGENCY: Gearon Hoffman, Boston
CLIENT: Duofold unit of DuPont, Wilmington, Del.
MEDIUM: outdoor-enthusiast magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Sharon Krinsky
ART DIRECTOR: Jaymie Cantivero
COPYWRITER: Mark Hohenschau
PHOTOGRAPHER: Jim Haberl
Frankly, I’m more impressed by the person who climbed up the icy wall, turned around, focused a camera and snapped the picture. Let me know what kind of underwear he’s wearing. The ad is vulgar, of course, but is it effectively vulgar? The headline is funny, and it meshes well with the vivid photo. On the other hand, body copy sounds plodding in its effort to develop the testicular theme. “If this looks like fun, we have a couple of recommendations to make. First, get professional help. If that fails, then we strongly advise wearing Duofold thermal wear,” which provides “exceptional fit, versatility and performance. Where it counts.” Oddly enough, the campaign’s motto-“Take it outside”-subverts the macho tone. After all, it’s what the bartender tells the loudmouths who’ve had more beer than they can handle and want to prove their manhood by taking drunken swings at one another. When you’re told to “take it outside,” chances are excellent that nearly everyone within hearing thinks you’re a jerk.
GEOFFREY BEENE TAILORED CLOTHING
AGENCY: Triton Advertising, New York
CLIENT: Geoffrey Beene Tailored Clothing division of Lanier Clothes, Atlanta
MEDIUM: apparel-trade press
ART DIRECTOR: Barry Epstein
COPYWRITERs: Bill Hofstetter, Rodney Rosal
ILLUSTRATOR: J.B. Handelsman
Which would you rather read-an ad or a cartoon? If you answered “an ad,” skip the rest of this paragraph and check yourself into a rehab program. For the rest of us, the cartoon format is an almost irresistible draw. There’s a catch, though: We expect cartoons to be funny. To some extent, the visual style can foster an illusion that the caption is funny-even if it isn’t. When we see a cartoon drawing, we’re predisposed to be amused. Still, this campaign relies too heavily on such assistance. Retailers may need to be reminded (as they are by this ad) that their own preferences count for nothing compared to those of their customers. But the text doesn’t manage to give a funny twist to that sensible point. Other ads in the series make similar stabs at industry jargon and never quite get a laugh. In the absence of a punch line, readers are apt to feel the cartoony look of the campaign has lured them in under false pretenses.
AGENCY: Burrell Communications, Chicago
CLIENT: McDonald’s, Oak Brook, Ill.
MEDIUM: 30-second TV
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Alma Hopkins
ART DIRECTOR: Van King
COPYWRITER: Brenda Blonski
PRODUCER: Shirlee Portee
PRODUCTION CO:. C&C Films, New York
DIRECTOR: Steve Conner
As in many an action movie, a suave hero is pursued across a rooftop by bad guys in weird outfits. Our man rappels down the side of a skyscraper, but bad guys on motorcycles take up the chase. At this point, the spot’s perspective shifts to show us the audience watching the movie in a theater. One spectator whispers to his date: “After the movie, we’ll go to McDonald’s.” Perking up his ears, the movie hero scans the audience and asks: “Did somebody say McDonald’s?” As moviegoers break into animated discussion of Big Macs and fries, the hero and his one-time pursuers stroll down the block together toward a McDonald’s. If you’re a McDonald’s franchisee, this may be a delightful plot twist. But for the rest of the human race, it’s a comedown when a chase scene gives way to a sales pitch for burgers. Think about it: People pay money to see action movies. Nobody pays money to see fast-food spots. While the interplay between the movie hero and his audience is modestly amusing, one still comes away feeling that something fun has turned into something less fun.
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