Creative Briefs

Close-Up: Music

From Horns to Porn
Variety is spicing up the repertoire of New York composer Andrew Sherman of Fluid. Fresh off a rendition of “New York, New York” for Cingular, Sherman is working on the off-Broadway version of Debbie Does Dallas.

In the Cingular ad, part of a cam paign that launched last week from BBDO New York and Atlanta, taxis drive in time to sounds of the city. “It started out just with car horns,” says Sherman. “We decided New Yorkers hear enough car horns, so we added Stomp-ish elements—cans, drums and someone yelling, ‘Taxi!'”

Sherman, whose commercial résumé includes laid-back reggae rhythms for Red Stripe and the frenetic soundtrack for Mercedes-Benz’s coffee lover, says his range of ad experiences has helped in other musical endeavors, including work on a Nestor Torres album that won Sherman a Latin Grammy.

Debbie Does Dallas retells the infamous 1979 flick’s tale of a cheerleader’s quest to join a Texas squad. The music, Sherman says, runs the gamut from Busby Berkeley-style numbers to “porn-ish” music. Previews are slated for October.

The Ice Brigades
NEW YORK—The Dirty Dozen takes to the ice in an upcoming spot for Turner Classic Movies that aims to make classic films more appealing to a younger generation.

In the commercial, part of a three-spot campaign from Nicebigbrain, New York, the World War II movie about death-row military prisoners is re-enacted in the style of Disney on Ice, complete with piped-in dialogue and pirouettes. Only this time the skaters’ cry is, “Let’s go kill some Nazis!” and they’re shown crashing through a portrait of Hitler.

The campaign, which includes last year’s “Rocky,” showing retirement-home seniors doing a play based on the Sylvester Stallone movie, will run until the end of the year.

“Dirty Dozen on Ice” breaks Aug. 1. A 60-second version will run in theaters. In a spot that broke earlier this month, grammar-school kids re-enact Ben-Hur.

Creative director Jim Jenkins also directed, out of Hungry Man. Among the myriad possibilities for spoofing old movies, Jenkins says, there were several ideas that didn’t make the cut—a Kabuki-theater version of Gone With the Wind, for example. And Papillon, the 1973 prison-escape film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, was deemed a little too risqué. The team drew the line at “people eating bugs and killing each other,” says Jenkins.

Shopping Spree
“If you’re going to get a really good deal at Target and you could buy as much as you want, what would you do with that product?” asks Rob Feakins, co-executive creative director at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York. The characters featured in a new series of value-oriented spots for the Minneapolis-based retailer answer that question. In one spot, bridesmaids chug can after can of Diet Pepsi. The payoff: A train of empty cola cans clatters behind the newlyweds’ convertible. The same spot, directed by Doug Nichol, also shows a cyclist capturing a panoramic view with a bag of Kodak film and using the shots as a backdrop for his stationary biking. A continuation of an effort that broke in January, the spots carry the tagline, “Prices so low you don’t have to hold back.”

Paint the Town
How do you make a new paint product sexy? Pitch it as a fashion accessory and get Matthew Rolston, the fashion photographer and music video director whose commercial work includes Gap’s “Khaki Swing,” on the job. To introduce Dutch Boy’s Twist & Pour product, Doner, Southfield, Mich., set its 30-second spot on a fashion runway. The spot, which broke last week, features three model types strutting to the track “I Like It Like That” while swinging the paint containers, color-coordinated to match their outfits. “[We wanted it] to seem totally natural, fun and make a fashion statement,” says executive creative director Gary Wolfson.

Starving Actor
Foote, Cone & Belding takes its New York City Harvest campaign to the airwaves with a PSA starring Harrison Ford, available this week. In the spot, Ford is walking down the street when he picks up a “Will work for food” sign and urges New Yorkers to help feed the city that feeds them. Corresponding print ads, which broke last fall, show New York Giants players and Susan Sarandon holding similar signs. The idea is to produce an image that grabs the attention of viewers or readers who may normally walk by hungry people on the street without noticing them, says Amanda Van Doorene, deputy executive creative director.

The Gift of Giving
In the midst of a sour economy, the Ad Council managed to collect almost $1.6 billion in donated media last year, up 2 percent over 2000, according to the organization, a record for the Council. The donated media included $855 million in radio ads and $405 million in TV spots. Had the advertising been paid, the Ad Council would have been the nation’s third biggest ad spender, behind General Motors ($2.2 billion) and Procter & Gamble ($1.7 billion), according to CMR. Campaigns that received the most time were spots for drunk-driving prevention ($88 million) and learning disabilities ($87 million). About $75 million worth of media was donated toward Sept. 11-related messages.