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Creative Focus: Best Spots - September

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Best Spots are selected by Adweek editors from commercials breaking on broadcast and cable television. Call Nancy Sobel at (212) 536-6453 to submit reels or to order this month's collection.
The Best Spots section is compiled by Mark Lang.


AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION
Kids pick on Gerald and tape "Kick me" signs to his back. But Gerald's been investing once a week, every week, starting at age 8. At 35, Gerald has the dweebiest yacht in the harbor, and the un-dweebiest babe.
Title: Dweeby Gerald
Agency: McCann-Erickson, San Francisco
Creative director: Dave Tutin
Art director: Kevin McCarthy
Copywriter: John Mattingly
Agency producer Jim Bernasconi
Production co.: RSA
Director: Alan Van Rijn
Editor: T.G. Herrington, Mojo

AMERICAN EXPRESS
Jerry Seinfeld decides to change his ways-which means deciding ways to spend his change. He drops coins into a fountain, a toy jockey and a rocket ride. But after blowing the cash, he needs his AmEx card to buy a 20-cent stamp.
Title: Stamp
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York
Creative head Rick Boyko
CDs David Apicella, Ted Barton
Art directors Chris Mitton, Dave Laden
Copywriters: Chris Mitton, Dave Laden, David Apicella
Executive producer: Gary Streiner
Production co.: Propaganda Films
Director: David Kellogg
Editor: Chris Franklin, Big Sky

BUD LIGHT
At a bar, four guys laugh about how they fooled their wives by using strategically placed stuffed torsos to fix a car, sink and furnace. Unfortunately, Eddie blows the gig-his extremities were placed under a lawn mower.
Title: Handyman
Agency: DDB Needham, Chicago
Chief creative officer: Bob Scarpelli
Group CD/director: Dave Merhar
Creative director: Mike Oberman
ACD/art director: Mark Gross
ACD/copywriter: Bill Cimino
Senior producer: Bryan Sweeney
Production co.: Celluloid Studios
Editors: John Murray, Glenn Martin, Nomad

ESPN SPORTSCENTER
Heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield proctors the network's day-care center. He reads from the Rumble in the Jungle book, teaches kids how to go to the body and provides nutritious meals (raw eggs in a glass). And the best joke is easily missed: A bathing beauty walks by carrying a "nap time" sign.
Title: Kids Center
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
CDs: Vince Engel, Jerry Cronin
Art director: Rick McQuiston
Copywriters: Candice Neary, Jerry Cronin
Agency producer: Dan Duffy
Production co.: radical media
Directors: Rick Le Moine, Steve Miller

ESPN SPORTSCENTER
Watching tape of a Ken Griffey Jr. home run, anchor Kenny Mayne works on his catchphrases. The evolution: "It's never iffy if it's Griffey" to "It must be a homer Simpson because the pitcher just went 'Duh'" to "I am the most popular player in all the land!" to "Yahtzee!," Mayne's signature home-run call. Touch 'em all, Kenny.
Title: Yahtzee
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
CDs: Vince Engel, Jerry Cronin
Art director: Rick McQuiston
Copywriter: Jerry Cronin
Agency producer: Dan Duffy
Production co.: radical media
Directors: Rick Le Moine, Steve Miller

E*TRADE
This clever ad opens with a shot of a mansion. "Your investments helped pay for this dream house," says the VO. "Unfortunately, it belongs to your broker." We learn that, for $14.95 a trade, anyone can invest online. "If someone's going to make money off your money, it ought to be you." Hear, hear.
Title: Mansion
Agency: Gotham, New York
Chief CD: Lynn Giordano
Art director: Bruce Kramer
Copywriter: Michael Jordan
Agency producer: Wendy Brovetto
Production co. Bedford Falls
Director: Mark Piznarski
Editor: Jim Rubino

GLAZED PRETZELS
As her hidebound boss demands coffee, Lois the secretary wields a pair of scissors. She cuts his tie and suspenders, then draws a cup of joe on his forehead with her lipstick. "Indulge yourself and get away from it" is the tagline. How much glaze is on these pretzels?
Title: Boss
Agency Cliff Freeman and Partners, N.Y.
ECD/art director: David Angelo
ECD/copywriter: Arthur Bijur
Agency producer: Maresa Wickham
Production co. Tool of North America
Director: Erich Joiner
Editor: Charlie Cusumano, Mad River Post

ISUZU
"Go farther," implores a Field of Dreams-like voice. Our hero takes the command to heart, climbing mountains and crossing deserts. "Go farther." The Rodeo is on a raft now; the dude's poling across a lake. "Too far." Can you say, "Niagara Falls, slowly I turn . . ."?
Title: Whisper
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
CDs: Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein
Art director: Greg Bell
Copywriter: Ron Saltmarsh
Agency producer: Cindy Epps
Production co. Steifel & Co.
Director: Craig Henderson
Editor Jim Hutchins, Nomad

JOHNSONVILLE FOODS
A football eerily turns into a bratwurst in a bun, then back to a football, brat, football, brat. Finally, a voice: "Coincidence? We don't think so." It's a cool way to remind people that tailgating at the big game is an incomplete pass without brats on the barbie.
Title: Grill On
Agency Clarity Coverdale Fury, Minneapolis
CD/art director: Jac Coverdale
Copywriter: Kelly Trewartha
Agency producer: Jenee Schmidt
Editor: Charlie Schwartz
Music: Echo Boys

KRAFT MIRACLE WHIP
A dog decides to make its master a sandwich. Cold cuts and fixins fly out of the fridge, and the mutt dices peppers, onions and tomatoes ˆ la Benihana. But say it ain't so: The Miracle Whip jar is empty. Fido drops the sandwich into the cat's dish. To hell with no-fat mustards.
Title: Bad Sign
Agency: J. Walter Thompson, Chicago
Group CD: Mark Silveira
Art director: Craig Schwartz
Copywriter: Jeff Martin
Agency producer: Lisa Muzik
Production co. Coppos Films
Director: Craig Gillespie
Editor: Bill Marmor, Crew Cuts

LITTLE CAESARS
The VO: "Once every millennium something happens so profound, it changes everything." Indeed, Little Caesars has enlarged the size of its pizzas. Good news: Now, Uncle Ed can come to dinner. Bad news: Ed gives new meaning to the words "banjo scene from Deliverance."
Title: Uncle Ed
Agency: Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York
ECDs/art directors/copywriters: Cliff Freeman, Arthur Bijur, David Angelo
Agency producer: Maresa Wickham
Production co.: Crossroads Films
Director: Mark Story
Editor: Charlie Cusumano, Mad River Post

MERCEDES BENZ M-CLASS
Yes, we've seen this idea before: describing the smoothness of a vehicle's ride by showing absurd events in the back seat. Here, a woman polishes her nails, a dog balances a ball and junior says, "Here's your scalding-hot cup of tea, Grandma." It may not be a bris scene, but we laughed.
Title: Smooth Ride
Agency: Lowe & Partners/SMS, N.Y.
Chief creative officer: Lee Garfinkel
EVPs/CGHs/art directors: Randy Saitta, Andy Hirsch
EVP/CGH/copywriter: Marty Orzio
SVP/producer Rachel Novak
Production co. Propaganda Films
Director: Simon West
Editor T.G. Herrington, Mojo

NIKE
On the comeback trail, Broadway Joe is looking to run some drills with "the fastest guys in the game." He makes a few phone calls; no one can come out and play. So Joe laces up his Zoom Air shoes and hits the backyard with the local kids. He wails on them, throwing rocket pass after rocket pass. "Still got a few bullets left in the old gun," says the veteran QB.
Title: Namath-Day 4
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
CDs: Vince Engel, Jerry Cronin
Art director: Michael Simons
Copywriter: Jamie Barrett
Agency producer: Colleen Wellman
Production co. radical media
Director: Alan White

NISSAN ALTIMA
At a Nissan plant in Tennessee, Johnny Cash sings the Laverne & Shirley theme song while workers and robots on the assembly line mesh ergonomically. Words can't express how great it is to see and hear JC on vocals again.
Title: Assembly Line
Agency: TBWA Chiat/Day, Venice, Calif.
CDs: Lee Clow, Rob Siltanen
Art director: Craig Tanimoto
Copywriter: Eric Grunbaum
Agency producer: Kelly Waltos Salmon
Assistant producer: Cheryllynn Carter
Production co.: A Band Apart
Director: Charles Wittenmeier
Editor: Angus Wall, Rock, Paper, Scissors

OCEAN SPRAY
"That was some first date," a woman says. But she means the date sucked. She clutches a red-grapefruit juice, a drink that's "refreshingly honest." Is the time right for Adweek personal ads?
Title: Date
Agency: Arnold Comm., Boston
Chief creative officer: Ron Lawner
CDs: Alan Marcus, Jay Williams
Art director: Margaret McGovern
Copywriter: David Lowe
Agency producer: Paul Shannon
Assistant producer: Chris Jennings
Production co.: Johns+Gorman Films
Director: Jeff Gorman
Editor: Robin Burchill, Consulate Editorial

RED WING SHOES
After a stormy night in "Kenyon County," a road-crew worker arrives home at 5:30 a.m. The exhausted fellow starts to take off his work boots, but the overhead light flickers and dies. A power failure may put the guy back on the road, but this spot succeeds because it has a power all its own.
Title: Thunder
Agency: Initio, Minneapolis
Creative director: Paul Chapin
Art director: Dave Damman
Copywriter: Ed Prentiss
Agency producer: Kris Wong
Production co.: Red Motel Pictures
Director: Jeth Weinrich

SATURN
Meet crank-maker Maria Yanna, one of the reasons Saturns are "peppy." It takes unusual people to make unusual cars, we're told. Would you buy a car built by a wacko? It's a risky campaign.
Title: Maria Yanna
Agency: Hal Riney & Partners, S.F.
Creative director: Dave O'Hare
Agency producer: Damian Stevens
Production co.: Wild Scientific
Director: David Wild
Editors: Lou Angelo, Bob DeMaio

SPRINT
The people in this ad take the promotional themeline, "Speak freely," literally. "It's not the dress that makes you look big, it's your hips," says one. "Sure she thinks you're cute, you're rich," says another. It's phone service as sodium pentothal.
Title: Speak Freely
Agency: J. Walter Thompson, New York and San Francisco
CDs: Richard Fisher, Bryan Birch
Art directors: David Sciascia,
Nancy Fava, Lisa Reinfeld
Copywriters: Linda Clasen, Winifred Donoghue
Agency producer: Jeremy Besser
Production co. Bednarz Films
Director: Jeff Bednarz

TWIX
An immigrant arrives in New York in the early 1900s. He finds out his new country is the land of opportunity, the land of freedom and the land of . . . sharing. Uh oh. The dude's on the first boat out-he'll share his Twix with no one.
Title: America
Agency: DMB&B, St. Louis
Chief creative officer: Charlie Claggett
Executive CD: Ric Anello
Group CD: Carole Christie
CD: Ron Crooks
Art director: Diane Pittman
ACD/copywriter: Gordon Robertson
Agency producer: Gail Campbell
Production co.: Backyard Productions
Director: Rob Pritts

VISA CHEQUE CARD
Two woman are seen together in 47 B.C., 1231, 1823 and 1997. Of course, past-life posterperson Shirley MacLaine is one. The joke is familiar-when Shirley asks if she can pay with a check, the woman asks for ID-but this spot, unlike others in the campaign (that would be you, Bob Dole), is a clever use of celebrity.
Title: Shirley MacLaine
Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief creative officer: Ted Sann
Executive CD Charlie Miesmer
Senior CD Jimmy Siegel
ACD/GCD/copywriter: Peter Smith
Agency producer: David Frankel
Production co.: Headquarters
Director: David Cornell
Editor: Karen Kortessis, Crew Cuts

VISA PLATINUM
With the Platinum card, you could rent a villa in St. Barts. You could wile the long, tropical days sharing gourmet meals with Nastassia Kinski. Not likely to happen as our daydreaming stud finds out, but you could rent the film Cat People, in which Nastassia turns into a panther after having sex with her brother.
Title: You Could
Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief creative officer: Ted Sann
Executive CD: Charlie Miesmer
CD/art director: Rick Hanson
Sr. CD/copywriter: Jimmy Siegel
Agency producer: David Frankel
Production co. Headquarters
Director: David Cornell
Editor Kristy Jacobs, Crew Cuts