Creative Briefs

DÉJÀ VUDouble Feature

Moviegoers get a dose of the unexpected in TV spots that broke last month from two New York shops.

In a Subway spot from Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet terer/Euro RSCG, a shadow puppet, voiced by Gilbert Gottfried, interrupts a movie with a reel featuring Subway sandwiches.

A Sprite spot with a Grinch tie-in from Lowe Lintas & Partners shows twentysomethings with conspicuous Sprite cups watching a fictional movie trailer. A Grinch-like hand suddenly stops the projector, plays a trailer for the film, and then makes shadow puppets of his own.

Lowe Lintas executives declined to comment, but Rich Roth, MVBMS group creative director, says the theater theme was incidental. “We wanted to use a Western to describe the sandwich,” he says, adding that his team put the shadow puppet at the movies “rather than have him pop out in the old West.”

Abuse Survivors Speak Out

In-kind donations from retired Young & Rubicam creative director Stewart Birbrower have lifted From Darkness to Light, a nonprofit child abuse prevention program in Charleston, S.C., from obscurity to prominence.

Birbrower, who once worked on American Express’ “Don’t leave home without it” campaign, joined the foundation’s board of directors following a chance meeting with its executive director, Anne Lee. He recruited companies such as Matrix Media, Crew Cuts and Click 3X, which yielded radio PSAs, billboards and four 30-second TV spots. They will run through 2001 in Charleston and Shreveport, La., and will likely be picked up by abuse programs in other cities, including Los Angeles.

Shot by Birbrower in Charleston and Kiawah Island off South Carolina, the spots feature children and adult survivors of incest and abuse, but target adults. “Most PSAs on the subject have a call to action directed at children,” says Lee. “We target adults because they’re the ones who have to stop this.”

The campaign begins with “Faces,” in which close-ups of adult survivors, Lee among them, relate their experience. Emotions flicker from confusion to resignation to baffled disbelief as the stories merge: “I was 7. … I was 3. … My mother didn’t even know. …” Actor Perry King from NBC’s recently tanked Titans provides an authoritative voiceover.

Abuse Survivors Speak Out Real Value Buy the Buy Into the Light Crosscuts

Real Value

A tacky mug is featured on the fictional Bad Gifts Road Show in a holiday spot from BBDO for Celebrations gift packs from Mars. A portly man in a tight green T-shirt presents his treasure to a rep from the “Tchotch ke Appraisers of America,” who explains, “Five years ago, 20 million of these were produced in Taiwan.” He values it at $2.50, much to the chagrin of the collector, who at first thinks he means $250. The tagline touts the assortment of candy bars as “The perfect little gift.” Other spots from the New York agency take a different tack, animating the gifts themselves. A cheap bottle of French wine, for example, snaps, “You and I both know zat I am one step away from salad dressing.”

Buy the Buy

Charles Schwab & Co. advises women to buy stock in the things they love in new print ads from The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. Three double-page ads zoom in on what some women already own—Ken neth Cole handbags, Canon cameras, Apple computers—and point out: “Your world is full of investment opportunities.” The ads broke last month in Newsweek, The New York Times Maga zine, Working Woman, Vanity Fair, House and Garden and Money.

Into the Light

Doremus, New York, uses pulsating, colorful lines to depict light in its first work for Corning. TV and print ads broke last week, positioning the former cookware manufacturer as the leading maker of glass fiber used in fiber-optic communications. In one TV spot, phrases such as “robot lawyers” and “faxable pizza” freeze the moving lines before a voiceover says, “No one knows what the future of technology will bring. But we do know that Corning will help bring it to you, on a road of pure light.” The tagline: “Discovering beyond imagination.”


A karaoke bar and a bowling alley are the settings for New York shop Merkley Newman Harty’s latest TV work for Bell South, touting the company’s Inter net service. While a tone-deaf thirty something named Tony sings “Hot Child in the City,” a voiceover explains how Bell South helped him build his Web page. “His customized homepage has links to singles chat rooms, current stock quotes, local movie listings and a few household tips,” the voice says. “BellSouth Internet service helps you personalize the Internet so it’s easier, more useful and your own.” The tagline remains “Connect and create something.”