Creative: Best Spots For December

Charlotte Hornets
Visual: Long shot of an empty Charlotte Coliseum, where the Hornets’ mascot sweeps the basketball court.
Music: a mysterious instrument (a tuba? a kazoo?) plays “Deck the Halls.”
Supers No. 1-3: “Look at the bright side It’s December And we’re still tied with Chicago.”
Verdict: This spot is simple, funny, smart.
Prediction: Without Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls would be lucky to beat St. Thomas Aquinas High School of New Britain, Conn. (Best Spots is a proud alum. Go Saints!)
Agency: The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va. CD/art director/music: John Boone CD/copywriter: David
Oakley Agency prods.: Peter Coughter, Julie Laffins Prod. co.: Bridge
Dir.: Chuck Bludsworth
Producer: Susan Cody Editor: Bryan Stevens

Cracker Jack
Babysitting the kids, Grandpa bribes them with Cracker Jack. However, the youngsters find the prize and think that everything must have a gift hidden inside. So they hit the kitchen like three Tasmanian devils, searching for prizes in a bag of flour, a cherry pie, canned tomatoes, even a roast turkey. Final VO: “Cracker Jack is the greatest snack ever made.” Yes, the candy-coated popcorn and a prize are good, but the greatest snack ever made is a Fluffernutter.
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, S.F. CDs: Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein Art director: Paul Hirsch Copywriter: Josh Denberg Agency producer: Elizabeth O’Toole Prod. co.: Headquarters Dir.: Joe Public Editor: Tom Muldoon, Nomad Music: Elias

Daily Soup
“Park Pench”
The blind date is set: noon in the park. A woman arrives at the appointed hour and seats herself between a good-looking hunk and a soup-slurping nerd. She prefers stud boy, but he prefers stud boys, too. So she turns to soupy, who says, “Mulligatawny.” She answers: “Hi. I’m Sally Ann Shapiro.” Well, soupy isn’t the blind date either; he gets picked up by two hot women. So our heroine is left in the lurch–until a man runs up and steals her purse. A bad day sitting on a park bench–where’s Aqualung when you need him?
Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding, N.Y. Exec. CD: Ted Littleford Sr. CD/art dir.: John Colquhoun Sr. CD/copywriter: Don Austen Sr. prod.: Laura Benjamin Prod. co.: The Artists A&R Group Dir.: Bill Hudson Editor: Scott Hudson Music: Duotone

“screen door”
As she sets a picnic table, a woman opens and closes the screen door between the kitchen and the patio. First, the plates and silverware arrive, and the super reads: “With, she can instantly sends photos to friends around the world.” In the kitchen, she finds the napkins and brings them out, closing the door behind her. Wait, though, she left something inside the house–like her brain. The woman crashes through the screen door, which she had shut seconds earlier. “If she can, why can’t you?” asks the graphic.
Agency: Lowe & Partners/ SMS, N.Y. Chief creative officer: Lee Garfinkel Exec. CD: Gary Goldsmith Sr. CW: John Brockenbrough Art dir.: Jim Carroll Producer: Liz Hodge Prod. co.: Chelsea
Pictures Director: Nicholas Barker Ed.: Tom Scherman, Consulate Music: Marshall Grupp Sound Design Graphics: Charlex

fox sports
“Wake up, honey,” says the hubby at 2:23 a.m. “Up, up, up, up,” he says to the kids, warm and cozy in their bunk beds. Then he rouses the 5-month-old baby. Everyone gathers in the kitchen to sing a sleepy rendition of “Happy Birthday” to mommy. “Get everything out of the way,” warns the super, the infant screaming in the background. Why? Because there’s a full day of Super Bowl pregame coverage on Fox, starting at 11 a.m. What the hell is Terry Bradshaw going to say for seven hours?
Agency: Cliff Freeman and Partners, N.Y. CD: Eric Silver Art dir.: Wayne Best Copywriter: Adam Chasnow Agency producer: Liz Graves Prod. co.: Farmland Studios Director: Jeff Gorman Editor: Gavin Cutler, MacKenzie Cutler
“dad’s house”
A little boy asks his mother: “How does Santa know to come to our house and to Dad’s tonight?” “Santa knows everything,” says Mom. The story unfolds: The parents are divorced, and the little guy will be shuttled back and forth over the holidays. But the tyke has a plan–using a mushy Hallmark card to reconcile his folks. Nicely written and beautifully shot, this spot seems real enough. But it even could be more so. Hey, kid: There isn’t any Santa Claus and a greeting card ain’t going to bring mommy and daddy back together again.
Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago CD: Tim Pontarelli Art dir.: Jill Fix Copywriter: Patti Gregoline Agency producer: Bob Harley Prod. co.: Gartner Dir.: James Gartner Ed.: Marty Bernstein, Spots BME Music: Elias
“picture frame”
Using framed photos as a reference point, this ad keeps the “priceless” campaign on track. One happy baby lullaby CD: $14. Cashmere cardigan for wife: $129. Portable stereo for in-laws: $160. Priceless? Online Christmas shopping–in your undies.
Agency: McCann-Erickson, N.Y. Deputy CDs: Jonathan Cranin, Joyce King-Thomas Sr. CD: Chris Van Oosterhout Art dir.: Mahmud Husain Copywriter: Marc Sachs Agency producer: Greg Lotus Prod. co.: Tool of North America Director: Chris Hooper Editor: Owen Plotkin, Editing Concepts Music: Elias

mervyn’s california
“penguins can sing”
This hilarious ad is the best use of penguins since Budweiser. Our avian friends sing “O Super Sale” to the music of “O Christmas Tree.” And it may be the best use of animal carolers since, uh Alvin and the Chipmunks?
Agency: HMS Partners, Minneapolis CD/art dir.: Gregg Byers CW: Ross Phernetton Agency prod.: Monica McIntosh Prod. co.: Dublin Productions Dir.: Jerry Pope Editor: Christopher Willoughby, Two Headed Monster Visual effects/audio post: Post Logic Studios

next day blinds
“fashion show”
VO: “An unlikely marriage of fashion and engineering is this year’s most-talked-about collection It’s a mƒlange of wood, aluminum, pleated and vertical blinds.”
Visual: Models on a runway, wearing window treatments–blinds in multiple colors. This over-the-top spot even has a “designer”–a window-installer guy–who accepts kudos and a model’s kiss at the end. Next Day’s tagline: “Fashion for your windows.” It’s smashing stuff in an often deadly category.
Agency: EMM Creative, Bethesda, Md. Creative director/director: Art Ehrens Art director/fashion designer: Pascal Lemaire Copywriters: Brian Sack, Tom Smeltzer Agency producers: Tracey Seifert, Sara Isacson Production co.: Ehrens Motion & Music Director/cinematographer: Chip Nusbaum Cinematographer: Denis Boni Editor: Jeanne Dushell Music: Don Smallwood

In glorious black and white, this ad offers kids, on playgrounds and in gymnasiums, firing up basketballs–and missing every shot. Each miss elicits an interesting reaction–anger, laughter, passiveness. The joy of the competition and the frustration of playing the game provide a nice counterpoint.
As the tagline says: “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore. Creative director/art director: Hal Curtis Creative director/copywriter: Chuck McBride Agency producer: Henry Lu Production co.: Director: Ralf Schmerberg Editor: Paul Norling
Humming “O Christmas Tree,” a phalanx of guys go out in pursuit of presents in this spot, which nicely juxtaposes voiceover with titles. For example (VO in quotes; supers in parentheses):
“They’re men on a mission.” (They’re guys shopping.)
“They’ve waited until just the right moment.”
(It’s the last minute.)
“Their destination’s the gift headquarters.”
“Their objective–get the goods.”
(From diamonds to drill bits.)
Mission accomplished.
(It made Best Spots.)
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather,
Chicago Exec. CD: Tom Hall Deputy exec. CD: Marlena Peleo-Lazar Group CD/art director: Jeff Long Group CD/copywriter: Andy Madorsky Sr. producer: Don McNeill Production co.: Villains Director: Eric Yealland Editor: Mike Coletta, Skyview Studios Music: Pfeifer Music

state fund
“It’s tough being a guardian angel. It’s not for everybody,” says Lenny, looking more like the Good Humor man than a heaven-sent oracle. Lenny’s complaining because his charge likes to paint at weird angles, eats unhealthy food and jogs into potholes. “You try to help them along; they never listen. I thought this was going to be a great job. I was wrong.” Clarence he’s not, but Lenny helps pull off this funny insurance ad.
Agency: Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young, S.F. CD: John Coll Art directors/copywriters: Robert Solis, Naomi L. Maloney Agency prod.: Tanya LeSieur Production co.: Shelter Films Director: Jonathan David Editor: Jean Kawahara, Bob & Sheila’s Edit World Sound design: Ad Music

taco bell
In an apartment complex (ˆ la Rear Window), the chihuahua sings “Chances Are” to a beautiful woman–or so she thinks.
Actually, the pooch is serenading a fat guy eating Mexican pizza. Just when you thought it was safe to watch television and not see the chihuahua ever again–he’s back. Yes, the little dog was getting overexposed of late, but this ad is a winner.
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif. Creative directors: Chuck Bennett, Clay Williams Art director: Darren Johnson Copywriter: Chris Ribeiro Agency producers: Cheryl Childers, Lora Schulson, Damian Stevens Assistant producer: Karen Scott Production co.: Partizan Films Directors: Traktor Editor: Lee Cowan, Lost Planet Composer: Thad Spencer Digital effects/compositing: Sight Effects

tide with bleach
“mom at 40”
“It was the day after my 40th birthday when my daughter was born,” says the happy mother. “I was breathless about this miracle that had come into my life.” Of course, the little girl might well be the cutest kid ever born. She just loves to find trouble, and her clean, white dresses don’t stand a chance. “Some moms my age have kids studying geometry. We’re still working on ‘The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.'” Offering a different spin on motherhood and washing clothes, this spot is smart and real.
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, New York Creative director: Tod Seisser Art director: Enza Mullen Copywriter: Leslie Goldman Agency producer: Dani Stoller Production co.: Atherton & Associates Director: Ed Nammour Editorial: Mad River Post
“nfl game day”
The voiceover (in NFL Films mode): “Eleven blue-clad warriors stand on the brink of battle and ask themselves, ‘Where’s the other team?'” The other team is still in the locker room eating Tostitos chips and salsa, singing “Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon.” The lead crooner: New York Jets head coach Bill Parcells. A big football fan (Go Giants!), Best Spots dislikes the Jets with the burning intensity of a hundred-million suns. Hopefully, the Denver Broncos defeated the Jets this past Sunday. If not, and Gang Green is one win away from a Super Bowl ring uh oh.
Agency: BBDO, New York Chief creative officer: Ted Sann Sr. exec. CD: Charlie Miesmer Sr. CD/copywriter: Jimmy Siegel Art director: Tim Ward Copywriter: Steve Dolbinski Agency producer: J.D. Williams Production co.: Reactor Films Director: Steve Chase Editor: Igor Kovalik, Inside/Outside

wallpaper council
After a night out, a couple goes to his place to spend a night in. Barely taking their coats off, they start making out–not a hi-grandma-it’s-nice-to-see-you-again kiss, but an are-those-your-tonsils-or-my-tonsils kind of liplock. While they’re going at it, the woman notices the “eclectic” wallpaper in the guy’s apartment. The wallpaper’s so cool, she can think of nothing else. Of course, being a guy, our kissing fool can think of nothing else, either.
Call the fire department and hose the dude down.
Agency: Pagano, Schenck & Kay, Boston Creative director/art director: Woody Kay Copywriter: Tim Cawley Agency producer: Dorothy Urlich Production co.: Young & Co. Director: Jim Lotter Editor/ sound design: Steve Hamilton, Spin Cycle Post