Creative Briefs

DEJA VUBack-to-School Blues

Just as kids begin to dream of summer vacation, two new ads are looking ahead to the first day of school.

In a Chevrolet spot from Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., a father reassures his reluctant daughter by following the school bus in his Malibu. In a McDonald’s spot from DDB Chicago, a mother cries as she drops off her daughter. The girl tells her friend she’ll have to take Mom to McDonald’s later to cheer her up.

Bill Ludwig, executive creative director at Campbell-Ewald, sees the Chevy spot as more realistic and DDB’s ad as a parody. Don Hoffman, executive account director at DDB, attributes the similarities to the clients’ common target. “Parents and kids resonate,” he says.

Reeve Crafts Red Cross PSA

NEW YORK—Rain is beating down on the set of a new PSA commercial for the American Red Cross. Director Christopher Reeve and his team from Tag Pictures hope it doesn’t stop.

The spot, from The Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, asks people, “Have you saved a life today?” All answer yes, some citing simple acts like donating blood. In the final scene, being filmed today, a woman replies, “No. But today someone saved mine.” The team figures the image of people entering a shelter will have more impact in the rain.

Inside, Reeve watches the preparations on a monitor and gives directions via loudspeaker. The Kaplan Thaler team chose Reeve for his actor’s sensibility and impressive crew, including director of photography Fred Elmes, whose credits include Reeve’s In the Gloaming as well as The Ice Storm and Blue Velvet.

Reeve graciously solves the few conflicts that arise when the client and creatives want to cool the actress’ emotional delivery. “You never want to get into a situation where you lock horns,” Reeve explains afterward. “I did a couple of shots in a way I wouldn’t have done them. We’ll take a look.”

Unfortunately, the rain isn’t as steady as Reeve. Still, a few last-minute takes in the soft light of dusk please the entire team. Reeve wraps, noting, “Funny how sometimes you get the shot when you have one foot out the door.”

Reeve Crafts Red Cross PSA Thanking More Than the AcademyThe Long Ride People

Thanking More Than the Academy

None of the Academy Award winners this year spent precious acceptance-speech time on their work in advertising. Still, at least one filmmaker credits ads as part of the reason he’s holding an Oscar today. “Commercials were my real education,” says Michael Dudok de Wit, creator of Father and Daughter, tapped as best animated short film. A native of Holland, Dudok de Wit animated ads for such clients as Volkswagen, Nestle Smarties and Owen’s Corning. He has concentrated on film projects in recent years, but is still represented by Acme Filmworks for U.S. commercials. The recognition for the film, a beautiful and poignant work that looks at the life of a girl abandoned by her father, is the result of four years of lonely work and sacrifice. Still a marketer, Dudok de Wit notes that the nomination was “the best advertising I could think of” as he tries to get the film on TV and in theaters. Other notable ad folks included, of course, Ridley Scott, director of the best picture, Gladiator, and spots such as Macintosh’s “1984”; and Ed Lachman, director of photography for Erin Brockovich and ads such as the Grand Prix-winning 1996 Diesel Jeans campaign.

The Long Ride

A 35-foot minivan illustrates a mother’s magnanimity in a spot for Hallmark’s Mother’s Day promotion from Leo Burnett in Chicago. This year the company will give $1 million to the winner of a drawing taken from numbers printed on the back of its Mother’s Day cards. “Our idea was to show what a mom might do if she won the money,” says Tim Pontarelli, who, along with fellow creative director David Harner, has dreamed up and directed Hallmark’s promotional spots for the last few years. Shelly Ward Enterprises in Agna Dulce, Calif., assembled the monstrous van from the frames of 6 minivans. “Turns are a little tricky,” says Pontarelli. In the spot, the mom chauffeurs a slew of girls from their soccer game, then jets them to Italy for post-game pizza.


FCBi, the digital and direct marketing division of FCB, New York, promoted creative directors Sue Crane and Lucille Guardala both to svp, group creative director. … Pittard Sullivan promoted Nancy Mazzei to the new post of creative director of print in its New York office. … Eric Mower and Associates, Albany, N.Y., promoted George Moran III to creative supervisor, managing and supervising creative teams and broadcast production. … DJ Pierce joined DDB New York as senior art director from J. Walter Thompson in New York. … Earle Palmer Brown, New York, added Anthony Marchesani as senior art director. He comes from Young & Rubicam, New York. … Robert Slagle joined USA Weekend magazine’s marketing and creative services group as creative director. Previously he worked at SMR Creative Services, New York.