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Creative Briefs

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Déjà VuLow-Rider Redux

Low-riders can't listen to just any music. Butler, Shine & Stern played off that idea for a San Francisco Jazz Festival spot last year. It showed up again in a recent Budweiser ad from DDB Chicago.

In the jazz-fest spot from the Sausalito, Calif., shop, three wanna be toughs are riding through urban streets in a convertible, listening to jazz. When they see a pedestrian, the passenger punches up a rap station on their vintage radio to protect their rep. After they pass by, they return to jazz. The ad won a gold Lion.

In the Budweiser spot, the driver of a convertible is again concerned about his rep. When his girlfriend punches up "I Will Always Love You" on his vintage radio, he protests, telling her to get a CD from the back seat. After she leans back and disappears from view, three toughs pull up alongside the car, to the mortification of the driver.

Butler, Shine & Stern declined to comment on the similarities. DDB could not be reached.

Protester Channels Bernbach

NEW YORK—The annual student award will be presented at The One Show next month as planned, despite the efforts of one determined protester posing as Bill Bernbach, the creative legend and founder of Doyle Dane Bernbach who died in 1982.

Upon arriving at their Hawaii hotel for the March judging sessions, each of the 19 One Show judges received a personalized and often humorous letter questioning the legitimacy of the contest's brief. It was signed Bill Bernbach.

The brief, inspired by the events of Sept. 11, directed entrants to "persuade people that the United States is a benevolent ... diverse, tolerant and generous country." In one missive, the anony mous correspondent countered, "In the frothy spirit of patriotism, we have allowed ourselves to promote propa ganda." Judges were asked to boycott the contest, or at least discuss its appropriateness.

They did discuss it, says John Butler, president of the One Club and co-founder of Butler Shine & Stern, Sausalito, Calif. He says he explained the reasoning behind the brief, and told the judges, "The beautiful thing about America is that you don't have to do this if you don't want to." No one backed out.

"It's a really good assignment," he asserts. "[Ad professionals] make leaps of faith every day. You may not like Pepsi, but if you're getting paid to sell Pepsi, you have to get around that." The irony, says Butler, is that the letter campaign is a perfect example of the freedoms the brief set out to praise. Says Butler, "Why don't we just give this thing a bronze?"

Protester Channels Bernbach Documentary Spawns Campaign O'Toole Honors 4 Shops Burt Is Back

Documentary Spawns Campaign

Little did director Stacy Peralta expect that when Vans sneakers financed his documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, it would lead to a campaign for the shoes. Premiering next week, the film is a frenetic look at the rise of the skateboard scene in early-'70s California. It won an Independent Spirit Award as well as the Documentary Audi ence and Directing Awards at Sundance. Vans gave Peralta around half a million dollars to make the film, he says, then gave him "total creative freedom." When client execs saw a theatrical trailer, they asked him to cut a TV spot in the same style. Vans also wanted Peralta, repped by Nonfiction Spots, Santa Monica, Calif., to shoot two commercials featuring current Vans professional skaters Geoff Rowley, Bastian Salabanzi and Evan Hernandez. The three-spot campaign is scheduled to break June 1 on NBC, MTV and Fox Sports Net. For Peralta, who was a two-time world champion skater at 19, the rough-hewn commercials speak perfectly to the audience. "The overproduction in commercials separates viewers from the product," he says. "I wanted to make it look like a kid filmed it."

BBDO in New York took top honors in its division at the O'Toole Awards presentation last week at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' conference in Laguna Niguel, Calif. BBDO won in the category for agencies with billings of more than $300 million. In the $30-$300 million category, Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis, garnered its second con secutive win; Gabriel deGrood Bendt, Min neapolis, won in the under-$30 million category. The multicul tural award went to Burrell Communications Group, Chicago. The O'Toole Awards honors agencies for a body of work, rather than for single efforts.

Burt Reynolds makes a commercial comeback in five new spots for Maaco Auto Painting & Bodyworks stores from Avalanche Creative Services, New York. Rey nolds had largely avoided spokes man status since 1994, when his relationship with Quaker State Motor Oil and the Florida Citrus Commission soured after heavy tabloid coverage of his divorce from Loni Anderson. Avalanche founder Ava Seavey was delighted that he agreed to the Maaco spots—especially since her team wasn't entirely sure it could get Reynolds when the agency presented him as its top choice for celebrity endorser. The ads, which break this week, poke fun at the outlaw, car-racing image of the star of Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run. In one, he pulls up to a retirement home in a black Trans-Am and urges the seniors to race their wheelchairs. "Uh-oh, better get Maaco," the long-running tagline, is integrated into each of the spots.