Creative Briefs

Olympic Swoosh

While never an official sponsor in the U.S., Nike has often jumped into the spotlight of the Olympic Games.

One of its earliest Olympic spots paid tribute to Los Angeles, host city in 1984. In the ad from TBWA\Chiat\Day, athletes including Carl Lewis cavorted around the city while Randy Newman sang “I Love L.A.”

In 1996, Wieden + Kennedy explored the darker side of sport. A spot with U.S. basketball player Lisa Leslie argued, “You don’t win silver, you lose gold.” The line reflected her team’s sentiments but was still criticized for marring the Olympic spirit, recalls Chris Zimmerman, then Nike’s North American director of advertising and now GM of its golf division.

Wieden’s new spots with track stars such as Michael Johnson straddle the line. “In the weakness of one, another finds his strength,” says one voiceover; another illuminates “the challenge of trying.” New Olym pic-themed ads break this week.

Shakespeare in Luck

Had director Spike Lee gone with his gut reaction,’s new Hamlet-themed TV spot might have suffered the outrageous fortune of being left on the cutting-room floor.

“Spike thought it was a lame idea,” says Tom Nelson, founder of The Gardner-Nelson Project, about art director Anne LeVine’s concept of having actors tackle the “To be or not to be” soliloquy to promote the Web site for artists. When the cut was ready, though, he “thought it was terrific,” says Nelson, copywriter on the campaign. “The editing revealed the strength of the idea,” Nelson adds, which is about the big decision to make art a vocation.

The finished ad, which broke Sept. 7 during MTV’s Music Video Awards, features dancers, musicians and models as well as actors delivering the existential speech.

Some of the younger performers “beat their brains out trying to impress Spike,” says Nelson. Among them were The Toilet Boys, who claim to be the only band with two members who spit fire. Unfortunately, the fire marshal limited them to one blower at a time. Ay, there’s the rub.

Shakespeare in Luck Hotline

Check This Out

The oldest public library in the country tries to dust off its image with a pro bono campaign from Arnold Communications, Boston. The Boston Public Library’s first community outreach media campaign breaks this month with a series of humorous TV, print, Internet, transit and billboard ads showcasing the BPL’s children’s programs, free Internet access, branch libraries and low fines for overdue books. Four black-and-white documentary-style TV ads include appearances by former J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf and Boston mayor Thomas Menino. One print ad reads: “Thirty years ago, we lent you ‘Curious George’ hoping you’d be done by now,” and reveals the maximum fine for an overdue book: $1.25. “Books are just the beginning” is the tagline. Bob Pye and Bruce Patteson served as creative directors, Ron Lawner chief creative officer, Alan Marcus group creative director, Mark St. Amant copywriter and Martin Walsh art director.

Wish You Were Here

“In Europe and Latin America, agencies don’t know how big the industry is here,” says Massimo Martinotti, incoming president of the Florida chapter of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. “They only think of Florida when they have a couple of palm trees in their storyboards.” To remedy that, Martinotti, who runs his own Miami production company, commissioned a contest challenging Florida agencies to develop a print campaign touting the state’s production and post-production facilities as a creative paradise. The ads will be judged in November by a panel of five recent Gold Lion award winners, and the winners will run in Shoot, Creativity, Anuncios, Spot and other trade magazines. “This must be a very powerful campaign,” warns Martinotti. “Our targets are all the creatives in the world.” The submission deadline is Oct. 13th.

Good Will Hunting

For good-hearted creatives who are tired of meddling clients, there’s Give a Damn Films. The New York shop recruits volunteer creatives, directors and producers to make ads and promotional films for worthy causes. The one condition is “clients can’t nitpick our work,” says Jeremy Warshaw, a commercial director and founder of The Observatory. He and Meg Rogers-Baugnon, svp and senior creative director of McCann-Erickson, began volunteering together on nonprofit projects several years ago. They recently organized Give a Damn under the assumption that top-notch creatives would like to use their talents to help other people and diversify to their reels. Clients cover only the costs they can afford. They include the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Pampers (on behalf of Give Kids the World) and gun-control group Pax.