Creative: Best Spots – Visitors’ View – Gavin Milner and Alec Beckett

On March 6, 1998, Theodore John Solomon joined the extended Ground Zero family. He was born to copywriter Adam Solomon and his wife, Anne.

What does this have to do with our critique of these 76 commercials?

Theodore John has a quality that makes us desperately jealous. Or more accurately, he has a lack of qualities that makes us desperately jealous. He sees the world as it is. Pure and unpolluted by skepticism, cynicism or any other thousand isms we’ve accumulated.

Because of that, Ted wouldn’t recognize a great ad. He would recognize a great piece of communication. One that expressed the essence–or soul–of a brand.

So we’ve tried to be Ted and see it all as he would.

Once we did that, there were three spots that jumped out.

Let’s start with the Nike spot (pictured, left) in which Roy Jones Jr. talks about the 1988 Olympics, where the judges robbed him of his gold medal. It’s moving. It’s simple. It’s right.

Then there’s the spot for St. Thomas Health Service–actual footage of a man in the hospital finding out that he is going to have to undergo a potentially fatal operation. It’s powerful on many levels: first, from the perspective of one human being watching another human being suffer. Anyone would recognize the huge leap of faith the hospital, the agency and the family were taking by airing this campaign.

And finally, the spot with a man in a squirrel suit quibbling with his wife as two Dial-a-Mattress employees deliver his mattress in time for hibernation (pictured, right). Beyond the fact that it features a giant stuffed animal, which Ted would surely appreciate, it’s a great example of taking an idea as far as it can go.

Now for those of you who feel we might have been trite or simplistic in our criticism, that was not our intent.

To those of you who buy into our reasoning but still feel that we missed the boat on a few spots, you may be right. In fact, there were other spots that we as advertising people could appreciate for reasons such as how well they were shot. Or acted. Or cut. Or for just looking at a problem differently.

But then who cares what advertising people think? Advertising people aren’t real people. Ted is a real person. In fact, Ted is the realest person. And it’s when we’ve done good work that means something to Ted that we’ve done something bigger than just a good ad.

P.S. Maybe here’s where we should mention that our latest spots didn’t make it onto the Best of the Month reel.

Gavin Milner, art director: Born June 28, 1965. Kingston, Jamaica. Wrote Adweek critique March 9, 1998. Santa Monica, Calif. Alec Beckett, copywriter.