Creative Briefs

What’s It Worth to You?

Antiques Roadshow, the PBS show in which people line up to get professional appraisals of their collectibles, provided the inspiration for recent spots from two New York agencies.

BBDO parodied the show with a year-end holiday spot for Celebrations, a gift pack of candy from M&M/Mars. At the “Bad Gifts Roadshow,” a “pickle turtle mug” is valued at about $2.50. The spot then offers Celebrations as an alternative to tacky gifts.

In current spots from Grey for the New York Lottery, two ticket holders are told that their sparkling gold Bonus 7 card might be worth as much as $21,000.

BBDO and Mars declined comment; Grey creative director Rob Baiocco acknowledges the similarities but says the lottery spot focuses on the product for 30 seconds instead of tacking it on at the end.

Role Reversal at the ONDCP

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Out of the mouths of babes comes some tough talk about parenting in the latest advertising from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In a 30-second TV spot from J. Walter Thompson, Chicago, kids tell parents what to do. “You will have to make me tell you where I am, and whom I’m with,” says one kid. “Don’t like it, tough,” says another. “You gotta be the grownup.”

JWT’s decision to go for an emotional pitch was based on research that suggested parents need better monitoring skills to keep their kids away from drugs, according to executive creative director dennis Ryan. “These ads talk directly to parents using strong language, but they have a surprising twist at the end,” Ryan says. “Emotion is so rare and hard to get right. Irony and smart-ass is the much more common stock in the trade right now.”

Sean Clarkin, director of creative development at the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, which works with ONDCP, says the $20 million-plus campaign, which broke last week, is designed to teach adults a thing or two. “This is a deliberate ploy to get parents to sit up and take notice,” he says. “These angelic-looking kids come up with this tough spiel and you pay attention.”

Role Reversal at the ONDCP Singular Sensation 4A’s Rewards Creativity

Singular Sensation

How do you marry advertising and publishing? Ask Karen Salmansohn. The former J. Walter Thompson and Young & Rubicam copywriter was sick of people wondering why she wasn’t married. Her answer? Even God Is Single: So Stop Giving Me a Hard Time, a new book published by Workman Press and accompanied by an unusual marketing hook—a slick white book package that holds a perfume set called Unavailable. The fragrance, a promotional tie-in, is sold separately at Barney’s and Bendel’s. Salmansohn says her seven years in advertising helped her develop a savvy for titles and packaging. When she left to write books, she parlayed her copywriting skills into a humor franchise. One of her previous books, How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers, sold 350,000 copies. She did the talk shows, privately joking that she was “a relationship expert who couldn’t have a relationship.” She then penned two self-help books, including How to Succeed in Business Without a Penis, which was recently featured in the ABC series Once and Again. “Sometimes I think of my humor books as one long print ad,” says Salmansohn, who has worked as an image consultant for several companies, including MTV, Nickelodeon and Avon. Ever the marketer, Salmansohn’s upcoming projects include I Don’t Have to Have Children, I Date Them and the Mr. Right When You Need Him Doll, which says such lines as “You look thin. Did you lose weight?” and “It’s not your fault, it’s mine.” “I have a bizarre talent,” Salmansohn admits. “I’m like Rain Man when it comes to titles.”

—Sue Shapiro

The American Association of Advertising Agencies honored member shops with its O’Toole Awards, announced at the organization’s annual management conference in Naples, Fla., last Friday. As part of an initiative by BBDO North America chairman and outgoing 4A’s chairman Phil Dusenberry, cash prizes of $25,000 were given this year to each winner, except the PSA winners, which earned $10,000 each. In the general excellence category, shops were chosen for consistent creative excellence during the previous year and competed in divisions according to billings. The winners were: Fallon, Minneapolis (more than $300 million); Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis ($30–300 million); and Mad Dogs & Englishmen, New York (less than $30 million). Ornelas & Associates in Dallas won in the multicultural category for a body of work targeting ethnically diverse consumer markets. In the PSA category, Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, took top honors in the broadcast division, and DeVito/Verdi, New York, won for print.