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COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR
AGENCY: Borders, Perrin and Norrander, Portland, Ore.
CLIENT: Columbia Sportswear, Portland, Ore.
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Terry Schneider
ART DIRECTOR: Kent Suter
COPYWRITER: John Heinsma
PHOTOGRAPHER: RJ Muna
Few men love shoes. All men love gadgets. The genius of this ad is to confer gadgethood on the shoe and thereby give it a cachet it could never attain on utilitarian grounds. Even if a reader doesn't spend his weekends wading through rivers, who wouldn't want to own shoes that have drain ports? (Indeed, what in this life would not be improved by the addition of drain ports?) The shoes also have "high traction siped soles"--whatever those are--and "waterproof nubuck leather"--whatever that is. These pseudo-technical terms would seem a bit much if the ad as a whole were prone to take itself too seriously. But the rest of the copy is pleasantly jaunty as it positions the Rogue Hydrotrainer as "just the thing for those days when you don't know what you'll be getting into" and as "the shoe that thinks it's a boat."

FLOOD DECK FINISH
AGENCY: Meldrum & Fewsmith, Cleveland
CLIENT: The Flood Co., Hudson, Ohio
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Chris Perry
ART DIRECTOR: Sue Prue
COPYWRITER: Rick Riley
Deckless readers might naively suppose a deck to be a source of carefree pleasure for its owner. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As we learn from ads on the subject, decks are a source of unending anxiety. The wood is an unfaithful servant, ever alert for a chance to betray its master. This ad plays the good-cop, bad-cop game that befits such a category, with the headline fomenting nervousness and the copy offering a solution. Will this approach
dazzle the award-show judges with its originality? No. Will it sell an ocean of the product? Yes. Adopting the urgent tone of ads that tout necessities for newborn children, the text of another Flood ad speaks of protecting your deck "during its critical first year." It may sound nuts to you, but it will hit home with the target audience.

MICHAEL PAGE EXECUTIVE RECRUITMENT
AGENCY: Chadwick Communications, New York
CLIENT: Michael Page International, New York
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR/COPYWRITER: Chad Chadwick
ART DIRECTORS: Chris Eng, Randell Pearson
COPYWRITER: Doug Kim
PHOTOGRAPHER: Geof Kern
This Casual Friday thing is getting out of hand. Actually, the photo's cheerful incongruity grabs your attention. Shunning the prim formality of typical ads for executive-recruitment firms, it also gives Michael Page a distinct identity. But will readers wish to identify with an astronaut strolling through the financial district? The difficulty, of course, is that there's something ridiculous about the photo. And financial executives are even less eager than nonfinancial nonexecutives to look ridiculous. At gut level, the ad is going to leave a lot of people cold. In other respects, the ad works well to create a rapport with its readers. It captures a prime anxiety of many would-be job switchers (in its first sentence) even while hinting (in its second) at how this firm could be a strong advocate for them. In short, it suggests Michael Page could market you better than you could market yourself. For executives who feel they've received a life sentence in their current posts, that message will encourage a discreet phone call to Michael Page.

FX BASEBALL
AGENCY: WongDoody, Seattle
CLIENT: Fox Sports, Los Angeles
MEDIUM: 30-second TV
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Tracy Wong
ART DIRECTOR: Michael Ivan: Boychuk
COPYWRITER: Dean Saling
AGENCY PRODUCER: Joyce Schmidtbauer
PRODUCTION CO.: OberLenz Films, Seattle
DIRECTOR: Tony Ober
When male bonding is a natural consequence of shared excitement about a game, it's fun. When male bonding is the self-conscious point of the whole exercise, it's tedious. Though they have some amusing details, these spots feel labored as they put the bonding horse before the sports cart. Focusing on guys who are watching the network's Saturday night games, each spot mocks the gimmickry of baseball's marketing ploys--a promising topic. Parodies include Cheese Night (one fan shows up with a giant baseball made of cheese) and Cap Night (the lads watch the game while clad in nothing but their baseball caps). Then there's Turn Back the Clock Night, in which some bozo clanks in dressed in armor and then topples over in the La-Z-Boy. You can see why it must have looked good on paper, but it doesn't quite click on the screen. When one character (in Cap Night) accuses the others of being boring, the viewer is inclined to agree. Part of the problem is that the game has been so thoroughly subordinated to the shtick--as if viewers aren't trusted to be all that interested in baseball. The mention of specific games seems like an afterthought. These spots could as easily be touting broadcasts of roller derby or extreme bass fishing.