Creative Briefs

Zen and the Art of Advertising
The producers of Dancer in the Dark, an unconventional musical starring Bj…rk and Catherine Deneuve and winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s film festival in Cannes, have signed on to make commercials. Zentropa, a Danish film company founded by Dancer director Lars von Trier and producer Peter Aalbaeck Jensen, has partnered with to form Zentropa Commercials.
In future, clients will hire Zentropa rather than individuals in the film collective.
The studio, which occupies 40,000 square meters of an old army barracks outside of Copenhagen, includes 42 production companies specializing in various aspects of filmmaking.
“They are young kids coming from all sorts of disciplines,” says Jon Kamen, proprietor of “What they have in common is that they all have souls.” And talent. Von Trier’s last big splash at Cannes was in 1996, with the Grand Prix winner, Breaking the Waves.
–Eleftheria Parpis

Radio Award Wieners
The Radio-Mercury Awards’ $100,000 Grand Prize went to DDB Chicago’s “Heroes/Footlong Hot Dog Inventor” spot for Anheuser-Busch, which sings praises to the person who gave men what they really want–“a longer wiener.” Writer John Immesoete says the target audience has a “great appreciation for junk food. That guy must have been a huge hero of theirs.” This is the second year in a row Anheuser-Busch has taken the top prize; in 1999, it won with a Louie the lizard spot by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. The Radio Advertising Board, sponsor of the awards luncheon in New York last week, gave out 12 cash prizes and 13 trophies.

Emotional Rescue
With intense close-ups and warm, emotional colors, Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s new outdoor and poster campaign for St. Augustine Health Care, a Florida Medicaid facility, aims to communicate dignity. Photographs of mothers and children are paired with powerful messages: “This is why you never give up This is why the things you do really matter.” “When we looked at the communications the competition was creating for this audience, we saw only cartoons and Dick and Jane books,” says the Miami agency’s chairman, Chuck Porter. “These women may be disadvantaged, but they’re not dumb and they’re not children.” The campaign breaks in July.

Stale Mate
At a meeting in New York last week, federal mediators failed to find common ground in the conflict between the SAG and AFTRA unions and the Joint Policy Committee representing the advertising industry, according to John McGuinn, JPC negotiator. The only progress made, he says, was to “clear the air of ambiguity. The mediators spent a whole day and concluded now is not the time where a deal could be reached.” The mediators adjourned by explaining that the negotiators would be subject to recall whenever appropriate. Despite his belief that the strike is no closer to resolution, McGuinn says he’s optimistic. “Something will happen.” But for now, no one knows what or when, he says.

The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va., won the $50,000 Best of Show Obie award last week for its work. The winning campaign includes a bus wrap with the words “Don’t Jump” written on the top. “I was standing on the ledge contemplating my career and it just came to me,” jokes Jamie Mahoney, vice president, senior art director of The Martin Agency. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America handed out 11 Obies and 37 merit awards at a ceremony in New York.
Cannes Cans
Soft drinks have gone down smoothly in the history of the French ad fest. From the top, Young & Rubicam, New York, won a Grand Prix for “Executive Lunch,” featuring a song-and-dance ode to Dr Pepper. In McCann-Erickson’s gold Lion-winning “Mean Joe Green,” a boy offers the lineman a Coke. Pepsi picked up a Grand Prix for BBDO New York’s “Archaeology,” featuring a futuristic dig after Coke has been forgotten. Ray Charles catches the joker who switched his Diet Pepsi for a Diet Coke in the gold Lion-winning spot by BBDO New York. Whether any sodas nab Lions in 2000 will be decided this week.