Mendes’ Splashy Ad Debut

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners’ latest eBay ad, American Beauty director Sam Mendes’ commercial debut, begins inauspiciously: A man with a cast on his arm logs on to a computer and asks his wife, “How do I get started?” Then the theatrics start: A bookshelf opens to reveal a blue-tinted stage, with backup dancers contorting and women dancing on pedestals. The wife sings “Do You Know the Way to Use eBay?” to the tune of “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” “You’ve got the world of film, through Sam, the world of theater, through the dancers and choreographers, and the world of advertising through us,” says partner and cd Jamie Barrett, who served as co-copywriter. “It was cool to see these three worlds collide.” The San Francisco shop pursued Mendes, also a theatrical director who staged the Tony-winning Cabaret, in an effort to take eBay’s signature song-and-dance ads to the “highest level of production,” Barrett says. Mendes, working out of Moxie Pictures, brought in the dancers, who are leads in Broadway musicals including Contact and Movin’ Out, and his own eagle eye, which took note of details down to the sequins on a dancer’s dress. “He’s a crazy perfectionist,” Barrett says. “He just notices everything.” The ad broke last Thursday. A cinema spot using the song “On Broadway” and a TV commercial to the tune of “That’s Amore” are in production.

Maytag Man dies at 71

Former Maytag Repairman Gordon Jump died last week from pulmonary fibrosis at age 71. Jump, also famous for his role as the station manager on WKRP in Cincinnati, played the lonely repairman for 14 years. He was the second actor in the role in the character’s 36-year history. Jump retired from the job in July. His successor, veteran character actor Hardy Rawls, will make his debut in 2004.

Rugby meets art in 180 campaign

For a campaign celebrating the rugby World Cup, 180 in Amsterdam wanted to convey that the sport is both beautiful and brutal. Creatives took the New Zealand rugby team, the All Blacks, covered the players in black paint and sent them running into tackle bags covered with canvas. The shoot went messily but smoothly, with the help of All Blacks’ Kees Meeuws, who comes from a fine-arts background and served as a liaison between creatives and the rough-and-tumble players. Photographs of the resulting paint splats were enhanced and turned into billboards and bus wraps in Europe. They’ll also be the focus of an art exhibit and coffee-table book. “It’s not an ad that’s telling you something—it’s an art exhibit that becomes a book that becomes advertising,” says ecd Peter McHugh. “It comes at people from a place they don’t recognize as advertising.”

‘Times’ and Again at Athenas

The New York Times won the $100,000 grand prize at the Newspaper Association of America’s Athena Awards in New York last Wednesday for the second year in row. The award recognized its 2002 “Look deeper” campaign from Bozell in New York, which merged with sister IPG shop Lowe in February. The campaign juxtaposed full-page photographs of provocative images—such as a woman in a burka and a Confederate flag—with a corner peeled back to reveal four words (in this ad, “racism,” “heritage,” “protest” and “graphic design”). Former Bozell ecd Tony Granger and cd Jan Jacobs (who are now both at Saatchi & Saatchi in London) credit NYT vp of marketing services Alyse Myers with pushing them to do better work. “She’s difficult, and that’s a good thing,” says Granger. Adds Jacobs: “The beauty of it is, she doesn’t test.” The association handed out 55 awards, including a $25,000 prize in a new retail category, which went to Target and New York agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners for their “Small Space” campaign.

Creative moves

San Diego shop Di Zinno Thompson has named Robert Borges creative director. Borges, 41, had been a senior copywriter at Arnold in Boston. … Crossroads Television in New York has hired Campbell Mithun director of design David Weinstock, 37, as creative director.