Creative Briefs

Then And Now: A New Chapter for Crazy Eddie

The ’70s hits keep on coming, this time in the form of Crazy Eddie. The electronics retailer is back, and so is its manic pitchman’s shrill cry, “Crazy Eddie’s prices are insaaane.”

Eddie Antar’s family business filed for Chapter 11 and Antar served seven years in prison on a racketeering charge, but he’s now director of marketing and strategic services at the new privately held Crazy Eddie. Two other veterans of the original spots return as well: director of advertising Larry Weiss and creative director Jerry Carroll, reprising his role as the fist-pounding pitchman.

Starting in 1975, the spots ran for nearly 14 years. Eddie has so much brand awareness in the tri state area, says Weiss, “it’s almost a no-brainer” to bring him back. The three shot 14 ads in what Weiss describes as a Mad magazine atmos phere, “writing on the fly and making fun of what’s going on in people’s everyday lives.” One spot spoofs Wall Street’s recent weirdness with a stock ticker that reads, “These commercials are better this time around, aren’t they?”

Madden’s Models in Motion
NEW YORK—The oddly shaped women from the Steve Madden print ads are alive.

Hampel/Stefanides had wanted to bring the tiny-waisted, leggy young hipsters with the oversize heads to life for some time, says art director Tom Kane. But how to do it economically? “A lot of production companies had called us, but they realized it would be costly to do it frame by frame,” he says.

Then Kane saw the Levi’s Engineered Jeans stop-motion spots created by the rock duo Gus-Gus and realized that still photos were the key. Freelance photographer Butch Belair, who also did the print ads, shot models for the spot in a studio. Back grounds were created from digital stills of New York sidewalks.

“Butch spent three weeks on the computer, generating heads, arms and everything separately,” says Kane. The cybergals were edited into the street scenes with the help of New York animation studio Curious Pictures. An Indian-themed song by music company Human in New York provides atmosphere.

One advantage of using photographs: “We didn’t shoot film or have a crew,” says Kane, “so if a scene wasn’t quite working, the photographer could go that afternoon and reshoot it with a digital camera.” The spot broke last week on New York cable stations and will roll out shortly in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston and Washington, D.C.

First Look at Gap First Loves

A giggling Juliette Lewis wears a black beret and boogies with two robots to music by Daft Punk in a new spot for Gap from Modernista!, Boston. The first of six spots broke last week in the campaign themed “First love.” “We show both emerging and established artists revealing the first loves that helped define their individuality,” says a Gap representative. The celebrities —from Carole King to DJs ShortKut and Rob Swift—sport their choice of Gap denim ensembles. Saturday Night Live’s Will Ferrell does his best Neil Diamond impersonation and croons, “I’m in blue jeans, do you get it? My first love: ‘Love on the Rocks’!” As for Lewis’ first love, she’s the only one who stays mum on the subject. C-3PO, perhaps?

Art Project Gets Spooky

For New York conceptual artist, DJ and writer Paul Miller, also known as DJ Spooky, a chance to paint a mural for New York’s School of Visual Arts fit right in with his recent interests. “A lot of my stuff is about contrasting the physical and non-physical—for example, painting and music or digital works,” he says. The latest incarnation of Wieden + Kennedy’s SVA campaign, “Make something,” is a mural dubbed an “evolving art project.” It’s the product of three different artists and has been displayed in three stages. A recent SVA graduate, April Hannah, created a geometric design, to which current SVA student Felix Esquivel added pop-art faces and figures. Last week, in the empty sixth floor at Wieden’s New York office, Miller added a big black circle in which he painted his graffiti tag in silver, representing the sound of a DJ scratching a record. There was some discussion among Wieden art buyer Catherine Johnson, art director Kim Schoen and Miller about his plan to add white and black concentric circles. Johnson wondered if it might look like a logo for Target, which advertises near the mural’s spot at Bleecker and Lafayette. “I like advertising,” says Miller. “I don’t mind the resonance with Tar get; it’s kind of funny.” The work, complete with the circles, went on display Friday.

Still Got The Look

Jordache up dates to its campy disco style for its first new spot in nearly 20 years. The 21st-century version of the “twirly girl,” created by Concept Farm in New York, elicits stares as she strides down a city sidewalk to the old jingle “The Jordache Look.” The tune, now sung by a woman, has a new R&B dance beat. Wearing snug jeans, the Jordache woman leaves a slew of admirers in her wake, including a shopkeeper who bites a manne quin’s shoulder in excitement. “We had to make sure it was beautifully lit and the girl looked great—and then the guys had to look totally hilarious,” explains Gregg Wasiak, who directed with fellow Concept Farm director John Gellos. The spot, which breaks Wednesday, was shot in 100-degree-plus temperatures in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, which was scouted by one of Sex and the City’s location gurus, Ernie Kerpeles.