What’s New: Portfolio

AGENCY: Hammerquist & Saffel, Seattle
CLIENT: Olin Skis, Vashon, Wash.
MEDIUM: ski-enthusiast magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Hugh Saffel, Fred Hammerquist
DESIGNER: Carol Davidson
ART DIRECTOR: Mike Proctor

Why bother to hire a real spokesman when you can make one up? Olin is getting good mileage out of Smooth Johnson, self-described “Master of the carve.” In truth, Smooth isn’t knowledgeable enough to qualify as an idiot savant, but that doesn’t stop him from spouting opinions on any topic remotely related to skiing. While a brand gets some benefit when we admire its real-life endorser, we’re always happier to admire ourselves. For all its wackiness, Olin’s campaign shrewdly gives us an opportunity to do just that. We get the pleasure of feeling superior to a blustery old know-it-all, even when (as in this case) we’re disposed to share his derisive outlook. Can’t go wrong by ridiculing the luge, can you? Olin’s audience will also appreciate the implicit salute to those who have the gumption to take the scary turns standing up.

AGENCY: Deutsch, New York
CLIENT: Ikea, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
MEDIUM: 15-second TV
ART DIRECTOR: Todd Gallentine
COPYWRITERs: Cheryl Van Ooyen, Mark Mendelis
PRODUCTION CO:. Tool of North America, Santa Monica, Calif.
DIRECTOR: Chris Hooper

It’s fun to buy home furnishings when you want something. It’s a drag when you need something. Ikea’s genius has been to imbue the satisfaction of practical needs with an air of self-indulgent _lan. These spots sustain that spirit with vignettes in which people plainly need Ikea items. In one, a man (unseen by us) directs his date to the bathroom in his apartment, which she’s evidently visiting for the first time. As he chatters hopefully about “you and me here, together, tonight,” we see her dismay as she takes in the array of pharmaceuticals littering his sink: the Deep Fungal Cream, a tube of glop that “Kills Jock Fungus Fast,” pills for “treatment of ringworm.” Lots of luck, fella. The tagline: “Medicine cabinets, and everything else for your bed and bath.” In 15 seconds, the need for a simple bathroom fixture has been transformed into the stuff of Seinfeld episodes. Another spot cuts between young boys standing in front of a house at 6:15 a.m. and the slinky blonde who’s sleeping inside. One boy check his watch. The woman’s alarm clock rings. She arises, walks to her uncurtained window and spectacularly stretches as the slack-jawed boys gaze up at the show. An onscreen super chimes in to offer “Curtains from $15.95.” Unlike a lot of clever campaigns, this one has the virtue of being a good match for the brand, aptly reflecting the utilitarian chic at the core of Ikea’s appeal.