Ties, putters and DVDs. Seems compared to Mother's Day, fathers get the short shrift when it comes to gift-giving. Slapstick buffoonery or price-driven sale montages seemed to dominate the pitches to remember Dad's Day. The month's best of the lot paid tribute to perhaps one of the most unusual TV dads developed in recent years: Tony Soprano. A spot for HBO Video pitches the latest DVD release of The Sopranos, The Complete Fifth Season, with a montage of Tony's finest parental moments—screaming, finger-pointing, head-slapping, table-banging exchanges between father and son—to the nostalgic cheer of "Best Friend."
There were some spots that managed to deliver compelling music, a sliver of a funny moment or a classic sales pitch with an attempted twist. But somehow the pieces didn't add up to enough. Sumo wrestling roasted chickens in a Pepsi spot—funny to watch, but not very appetizing. Especially when the tag is "Pepsi. Food. Good." Not so good. Powerful percussion in a Mitsubishi spot that ends with cars bowing to each other, a lot of lead up to a not-so-bow-worthy moment. The Paul Oakenfold track in a Hummer spot that opens on a desert scene instantly grabbed us, only to quickly turn that interest into groans when the scene turns into an affected dance number on chairs that ends with flying car parts creating a Hummer around the hoofers. A new campaign for Capital One gave us hope that the Vikings series may have finally taken a turn for the better. Garth, Ivan and Marty find themselves without work and try to make it in the modern world without all the plundering and pillaging. However, the joke never quite pays off. Even a much-anticipated remake, Coca-Cola Zero's "Chilltop," was a letdown. We didn't feel the bonding, nor the chill.
Nike, as the brand often does, gave us one of the most powerful commercials. It features Lance Armstrong's 1996 press conference during which the professional cyclist announced his struggle with cancer, medical leave and his vow, "I intend to beat this disease." All the power of "Just do it" summed up in the most inspiring true story in the modern sports world. And you don't have to be an athlete to appreciate it. It's about life.
With not nearly the same kind of emotional oomph, ESPN's "Running Away" gives some motivational arguments for athletic activity. "Without sports," the spot asks, "how would we escape?" We watch a woman jogging with the entire cast of characters from her life trailing behind her, including her book-club friend and doctor.
Pushing an entirely different product for escapism, M&M's offered a swirling kaleidoscope of candy backed by the gentle guitar strumming of Iron & Wine's "Such Great Heights" (from the movie Garden State). It's candy for the eyes and ears too!
But yummy candy moments don't always lead to bliss. Last month's oddest candy spot, "Fiesta," came from Starburst for its Baja California flavor. It feels like a fiesta in my mouth, says one young man to another as he pops a piece in his mouth. Cut to inside his mouth, where a mariachi band is perched on his teeth, singing, only to get crushed and washed away by saliva. Ridiculously funny.
Another well-done exaggerated storyline last month came from Miller Lite's "Downpour." It's raining beer—does it get any better for a beer drinker? Oh yeah, didn't we see a beer tree in an ad recently? Next month it'll be coming out of faucets.