If anything can make kids turn off the TV set, it's a back-to-school commercial. What topic could be more offensive to them as summer vacation winds down? In promoting its Five Star line of notebooks and other scholarly paraphernalia, Mead finesses this difficulty in an ingenious way: It pretends to be introducing line extensions in which Five Star notebooks and whatnot are used as running shoes, drums, bike helmets and catcher's mitts. As you'd guess, these crackpot ideas have telegenically awful results. Finally, an offscreen voice of reason interrupts the voiceover to cry, "Maybe you should stick to school supplies!" We get to see plenty of the company's merchandise, but without those unsightly classroom scenes about which kids would rather not even think. Having adopted this off-the-wall approach, the spot evidently feels free to skip the bogus anti-authoritarianism that's been the reigning cliché of youth marketing since the dawn of the MTV age. Thus, we're spared the usual jibes about boring school, clueless teachers, dictatorial principals, etc. This must be as much a relief for the kids (who are otherwise inundated with such tedious "humor") as it is for the usual targets.
Agency: Wyse Advertising, Cleveland
Client: Mead Corp., Dayton, Ohio
Creative Director: Sharyn F. Hinman
Art Director: Steve Lageson
Copywriter: Lane Strauss
Agency Producer: Michael Chaney
Production Company: Green Dot Films, Santa Monica, Calif.
Director: Mark Reber