Creative Briefs

Two-Part Harmony

Separate commercials for Wendy’s and Ameritrade could be two verses of the same song—or mantra.

In the Wendy’s spot, from Bates, New York, which broke a year ago, meditation students hear their inner voices saying things like “Love everyone.” When pitchman Dave’s voice says he wants a bacon mushroom melt, his classmates quickly hear the same call. “My voice is saying that too,” says one.

Last January, OgilvyOne in Chi cago broke an Ameritrade ad with the same vibe. When a student envisions his “beautiful happy place,” he is “trading stocks for eight bucks.” The rest of the class follows: “I’m off the beach. I’m trading stocks.”

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Mindful of the stink she made by crossing the picket line to film an Estée Lauder TV spot from Bates Advertising, actress Elizabeth Hurley has issued an apology to the Screen Actors Guild. In the days before her film Bedazzled opened nationwide last week, the British star reiterated that she was clueless about the strike and is steamed at the agency and the client.

In a statement released by SAG, Hurley writes, “I just didn’t know about the strike. Clearly Bates should have told me and I feel violated by them and I am furious that they did not have the decency to let me know of the strike.”

A representative for Bates declined to comment.

Angry strikers have frequently cited Hurley as an egregious example of a successful film star crossing the picket line to make extra money from commercials. It has been reported that the word “scab” has been scrawled on a number of outdoor ads for her new film.

Despite a promise that “it will not happen again” and a $25,000 donation to the union’s strike relief fund, it appears Hurley is not off the hook. In a somewhat ominous response, a SAG representative noted that Hurley’s statement will be sent “to the [union] trial board hearing Elizabeth’s case.”

Whose Line Is It Anyway? Big Production Rave Reviews The Price Is Rights Fertilizing the AdIron Clad

Commercial production has not taken an overwhelming hit during the actors’ strike, according to the Joint Policy Committee, which is representing the advertising industry in the labor dispute. The committee reports that 1,948 commercials were produced last month. That is down 27 percent from September 1999, but Ira Shepard, counsel to the JPC, explained in a statement from the committee, “When our estimates of unreported production of new commercials made in Canada and abroad are factored in, it is clear that the industry is producing commercials at virtually the same rate as in nonstrike years.”

Wired readers voted’s “When I Grow Up” from Mullen, Wenham, Mass., as their favorite tech TV spot. Runners-up for the distinction included ads from Ameritrade, Cnet, EDS and Pacific Bell. Also at the magazine’s Readers Rave Awards this month in San Francisco, online music-swapping service Napster took honors as the best guerrilla marketer, and commercial/film director Spike Jonze was named top cultural innovator.

An upcoming print campaign from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, for Amnesty International shows human rights violations apparently happening in the U.S. Fine print explains the event “didn’t really happen in Atlanta. Or Denver. Or Houston. But what if it did?” The tactic is meant to make abuses seem less abstract and imply that they also happen at home, says Karen Schneider, director of communications at Amnesty International USA. The pro-bono effort breaks next month will run through March in space donated by magazines such as Vanity Fair, Detour, Talk and Wired., one of the few dot-coms left that are willing (and able) to shell out big bucks for a Super Bowl ad, rolls out a Darwinish campaign from Weiss Stagliano & Partners this month. The spot, titled “Swim,” is the first in a campaign that will include an ad in January’s big game. To the tune of Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries,” a sperm cell beats out the extensive competition to fertilize an egg. “The attitude that got you here, can get you anywhere,” reads the super, which then fades into the tagline: “Onward. Upward.” The spot is the first by the New York shop for the client since winning the estimated $40-50 million account in August after a review. Three more spots are in production.

Given the task of making cast iron appealing in a print campaign for Kohler Cast Iron, The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., juxtaposes the curves of sinks with those of nude bodies. In one ad, a pregnant belly completes the circle of a sink. The ads pose questions such as “Can beauty result from something just below the surface?” while smaller copy explains the benefits of cast iron. The tagline, “Beauty from within,” appears on all ads, which broke nationally in newspapers and interiors magazines last week. The budget was undisclosed. Martin has had Kohler as a client since 1998.