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Creative Briefs

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Déjà Vu: Always and Forever

Retailers Kmart and Wal-Mart have more in common than cheap shampoo and plastic lawn furniture. Both are touting their "always" low prices.

GSD&M, Austin, created the Wal-Mart tag "Always" in the late '80s, says Jeff Bremser, chief creative officer at Bernstein-Rein, Kansas City, another Wal-Mart agency, whose spots with the "Always" tag show a happy face slashing prices. "Before Coca-Cola had [the 'Always' tag line], Wal-Mart had it," he says, "but that didn't stop Coca-Cola."

That hasn't stopped Kmart either. Its BlueLight ads in which people are verbally harassed by their shopping lists end with a "lower prices" shot and the tagline "BlueLight Al ways." The spots, by TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, broke earlier this year. "If there was any compet itiveness, it was really ancillary," says creative director David Lowe. "It was Wal-Mart reiterating something Kmart's always been known for."

New Mets Game Plan: Humor

Longtime Mets fan Stephen Kessler of production company Promiseland couldn't wait for an agency to hire him to direct a Mets spot. Instead, the director went straight to the New York team with an idea inspired by sports radio and scored. He was asked to direct and write the ads.

In collaboration with david andgoliath principal David An gelo, who helped with the writing, Promiseland produced three Mets spots featuring the tag line "With your help, they could be champions."

One spot, which broke last week, features a minister leading an enthusiastic parish as they pray for an error-less game for Rey Ordonez. Another shows Mike Piazza walking around New York as everyone from a doorman to a Pepsi deliveryman provides advice for improving his performance. A little old lady pleads, "You just gotta win, because it's killing my husband." And in a spot with Benny Agbayani and Tsuyoshi Shinjo, an animated sushi chef shouts tips in Japanese.

The spots are intended to show the diversity of Mets fans, as well as to reveal the players' lighter sides, says Dave Howard, svp of business and legal affairs for the Mets.

"I love listening to sports talk, especially New York sports talk and especially New Yorkers talking about the Mets," says Kessler. "When New Yorkers get mad about their team, they just rip into them."



A Wild and Wealthy Guy

Comedian Steve Martin is a satisfied Merrill Lynch customer. Martin did some work for the company earlier this year, and he's now providing voice-overs for new TV and radio ads out of J. Walter Thompson, New York, that illustrate the power of "wealth management." On TV, his words are married to images of characters including Kate, a 40ish woman cycling in Italy, and Jim, a tourist relaxing under blue skies and sunshine. They enjoy life, confident that Merrill Lynch is watching their back. The campaign, which includes print, is backed by a budget of $50-75 million. The tagline remains "Ask Merrill."

Do the Right Thing

In honor of Amnesty International's 40th anniversary, Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners, New York, showcases eight organization members in a new print campaign. Shot by photographer Kai Wiechmann at various New York locations, the ads explain how Amnesty members fight human-rights abuses from their own homes. One features a 13-year-old who "sends an e-mail to the leader of Pakistan, urging him to stop the honor killings of hundreds of young women like her." Copy reads, "Amanda Bueno vs. Pakistan." Print breaks in the summer and fall in magazines including Time, News week, Details and Vanity Fair. Bus-shelter ads, to run in New York, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., carry shorter copy such as, "The world's executioners will have to listen to Chris Yu."

A 'Schleppy' Devil

Would the Seattle Seahawks sell their souls to the devil in exchange for winning the Super Bowl? Not when the devil comes in the form of actor Eugene Levy, of Ameri can Pie fame. Publicis Seattle created a new five-spot TV cam paign, tagged "We like our chances," and cast the actor as "a schleppy sales guy." In one spot, Levy tries to get Michael Sinclair to hand over his soul in the locker room, offering to sweeten the deal with a DVD player. In another, he tells Chad Eaton that while some peo ple call him Lu cifer or Beelze bub, which he dislikes, he'd like to be called Super Bowl champ.

Coming-Out Party

The obnoxious Slim Jim Guy is back, but this time he's breaking out of his usual home, a human stomach, to spread mayhem in the real world. In a new spot from North Castle Partners, Stam ford, Conn., a teen boy downs the beef jerky just before undergoing surgery. Slim Jim Guy then grabs a circular saw and cuts his way out of the kid's abdomen, much to the dismay of the operating room staff. The "Eat me" tagline remains.