Last month's debut of Apple's "Detroit," the fiery-hued, graphics-adorned spot starring Eminem singing his 8 Mile hit "Lose Yourself," ignited the classic debate about what makes an ad original. Leo Burnett once said, "The secret of all effective originality in advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships." I doubt he was referring to ones that had appeared in previous ads. Don't know what he would say about the Lugz-Apple controversy. Wherever the idea came from, Apple's spot feels bigger and more powerful—it features a well-known rapper, a hit tune and the iconic white iPod earbuds and cord. Plus, it adds dimension to the "Silhouette" series that advertises the ever-evolving iPod, which now offers video, too.
It's rare that the Best Spots editors see any single spot that truly feels unique. Most recast ideas already seen elsewhere, but if done properly and with their own (rather than someone else's) creative flair, they work. And this month was no exception. Comcast adopts archival $10,000 Pyramid footage to make its "Comcastic!" message known; Gatorade recuts classic sports moments to present a new view; Budweiser borrows from the classic tale of the Headless Horseman for a humorous Halloween-themed spot for Bud Light; Halls appropriates the Three Little Pigs; the California Milk Processor Board takes a page from recent headlines to create comical spoofs of the baseball steroid scandal; and Tower Records cobbles popular tunes for a music-inspired prayer.
Several other picks also felt oddly familiar. Designer discount site Bluefly branded itself with an interesting twist to the "closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear" syndrome. A woman, standing naked in front of a closet that any woman in her right mind would envy, finds nothing suitable and instead walks into a party nude. (Butt crack certainly catches the eye.) And Dentyne's "Drugstore Romance" for new Fire Mints features playful foreplay at a checkout counter. A man and woman meet when they both reach to grab a package of mints. Exchanged glances turn suggestive when she puts a scented candle on the counter and he plops down a bottle of massage oil. Each turns up the heat, and a camera dropped on the counter sets off the passion with a lunge and a kiss. The performances are good, and the chain reaction a fun way to promote a "new way to heat things up."
My top pick this month, however, came from the Washington State Department of Health. I'm a sucker for animation, and this campaign, animated by Chel White, is as eerie as it is engaging. But the stop-motion magic isn't the only reason to take notice. Many antismoking spots take the "gross" approach, but in "Park," two dolls near a romantic moment. Just before they kiss, the girl shoves a maggot-ridden rat carcass in her mouth. The shocked boy walks away, and a park sign notes, "Kissing a smoker is just as gross." Effectively original.