Avrett, Free & Ginsberg, New York
United Distillers, Stamford, Conn.
ASSOC. CREATIVE DIRECTOR/COPYWRITER
Feeling guilty about how little time you spend with your kids? Sit down with a bottle of Gordon’s and your view of things will soon brighten. Whether it’s a myth or not, “quality time” is one of those phrases that raise people’s hackles. Its undertone of self-justification makes it a natural for redeployment in the service of frank self-indulgence. In a category whose ads often seem either too stuffy or too hip, this one amiably cuts through the clutter by being mildly amusing. And believe me, there’s no surplus of mild amusement in this world. One also appreciates the fact that Gordon’s doesn’t take on airs. Type under the bottle and brand name hails it as the world’s “most popular” gin, not as the world’s best. Further, it’s described as a “simple pleasure,” not a grand luxury. All of this helps the client’s gin come across as a tonic for the spirit.
Mullen, Wenham, Mass.
UDV North America, Fort Lee, N.J.
Matthew Rolston (model), Craig Cutler (product)
Or how about a nice, cold Campari & Sunscreen? The visual catches your eye, all right, but isn’t it a bit grotesque? One imagines the model being strapped to a helicopter-borne stretcher and airlifted to the nearest burn center. Once you get past that distraction, though, the ad gives the brand an air of flamboyant fun. If someone is in the market for a drink that’s out of the ordinary, Campari looks like a strong candidate. The emphasis on orange juice is intended to assure Americans that the bitter aperitif can be adapted to suit our national sweet tooth. The fact that orange peels are photogenic is a bonus. One quibble: If part of the idea is to make the product seem less intimidating, the weird photo may have the opposite effect, making it seem more dauntingly exotic.
SONY D-WAVE ZUMA DIGITAL PHONE
Matthews/Mark, San Diego, Calif.
Sony Personal Mobile Communications of America, San Diego
For those of you whose cultural literacy isn’t all it might be, the fellows in the photo are Alice Cooper and Pat Boone. They’ve been united, at long last, to make the point that Sony’s diminutive Zuma digital phone is “powerful enough to bring people together who are worlds apart. (Even if they sing to a different drummer.)” The notion that “talk” can resolve the differences between people is one of the great fallacies of our time. As often as not, it clarifies their reasons for detesting each other. In less extreme circumstances, people with wildly dissimilar tastes lack the shared vocabulary of ideas that makes for lively conversation. Thus, the ad’s premise doesn’t quite ring true. Still, in the phone-equipment category we need to be thankful for small pleasures, and it is fun to see Cooper and Boone together. And that, in turn, leaves us with good vibes about Sony’s new phone.
PAPA GINO’S PIZZA RESTAURANTS
Clarke Goward, Boston
Papa Gino’s, Dedham, Mass.
Picture Park, Boston
He: “I just wanted to say that, um, I had a great time.” She: “Me too.” It’s a first date, and after giving us this bit of spoken dialogue, the spot lets us in on each character’s unspoken thoughts. His: “I can’t figure it out. First date, and I’ve never felt more in sync with another person. She’s smart, she’s beautiful, she understands me. Could she be the one?” Her downcast eyes suggest she’s shyly thinking similar thoughts. But her eyes are looking down at the table for another reason: “I can’t figure it out. Is that his slice or mine?” At the end, we see the guy happily eating that last slice as the woman of his dreams looks on, crestfallen. You see, men are the real romantics! What’s engaging about the spot is that it pokes fun at Mr. Lovestruck without seeming mean-spirited. Indeed, it manages to be at once sweet and unsappy, finding a tone that will resonate with the target audience. The vignette also puts the client’s product at the center of our attention without making us feel we’ve been subjected to a hard sell, and that’s all to the good as well.
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