Creative Focus: Best Spots October

Best Spots are selected by Adweek editors from commercials breaking on broadcast and cable television. Call Nancy Sobel at (212) 536-6453 to submit reels or to order this month’s collection. The Best Spots section is compiled by Mark Lang.

What’s up with all these James Bond-knockoff ads on the air right now? At least this big-production number has a storyline: The green-faced “Mestopholes” desires to take over the world. He presses the button, but the computer processing is glacial, giving Agent 18 enough time to defuse the plan with his computer and its faster AMD processor. Evidently, the shoe phone and the cone of silence are dinosaur technologies.
Title: Diabolical
Agency: Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston Group
CDs: Dave Gardiner, Mike Sheehan
Art director: Tim Foley
Copywriter Marty Donohue
Agency producer: Scott Hainline
Production co.: HSI
Director: Sam Bayer
Editor: Andre Betz, Lost Planet

A shot of a papier-m‰chƒ globe surrounded by cotton-ball clouds opens this colorful, vibrant ad. The camera zooms in on a map of southern Florida, where, the voiceover explains, a phone call from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale (“just an inch away”) is a long-distance charge for some telecoms. Not BellSouth.
Title: Inch Away/Miami
Agency: Merkley Newman Harty, New York
CDs: Marty Cooke, Rick Rabe
Art director: Tom Sullivan
Copywriter: Sandy Mairs
Agency producer: Dominic Ferro
Production co.: Chelsea Pictures
Director: Simon Blake

Big Kmart
Don’t know why we need a Big Kmart (isn’t Kmart big enough?), but the “cast”-Jaclyn Smith, Kathy Ireland, Big Bird, Martha Stewart (driving a truck!) and Bob Hope-puts this ad over the top. The use of Bob Hope is particularly noteworthy-it’s the advertising equivalent of propping up Charlton Heston on that horse at the end of El Cid.
Title: Ballad
Agency: Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis
Exec. CD: Rick Gibson
Assoc. CD: Algis Jaras
Exec. producer: Kathy DiToro
Agency producer: Matt Brenner
Production co.: Independent Artists
Director: Penny Marshall

Cadillac Tri-Statesmen
NFL coach Bill Parcells wears a tux and talks opera. Cadillac’s V8 engine “makes sure I never miss a curtain,” he says. Uh-huh. After Parcells’ shameful exit from the New England Patriots last season, one can only hope the fat lady will soon be singing to his New York Jets.
Title: Tailgating Diva
Agency: Biederman, Kelly & Shaffer, New York
CD/art director: John Clapps
CD/copywriter: Ken Krimstein
Agency producers: Monica Sharf, Lisa Bifulco
Production co.: Alan Landau Films
Director: Scott Bergstein

California Fluid Milk Processor Advisory Board
Welcome to Drysville, a milkless town where nuns can’t sell baked goods, mothers serve tap water on cornflakes and kids pay for the chance to see photos of milk bottles. In the background, a folksy ballad: “Oh mama, oh papa, I’m feelin’ so down. How can it be there’s no milk in this town? Don’t give me no baked goods until this gets better. My corn flakes are cardboard, cake tastes like a sweater. I’d give anything for that glass of white silk. I’m livin’ my life in this town without milk.”
Title: Ballad
Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
Creative directors: Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein
Art director: Amy Nicholson
Copywriter: Blake Daley
Director of broadcast: Debbie King
Production co.: radical media
Director: Jeff Goodby
Editor: Angus Wall, Rock, Paper, Scissors
Music: Laurie Lewis

California Prune Board
Rosie O’Donnell is the Long Islandese voice of Cleopatra, who tells “Tony” she’s had a tough day working out, picking up the kids and visiting mummy. What she needs is a pick-me-up-a sun-sweetened prune.
Title: Cleopatra
Agency: Randazzo & Blavins, San Francisco
CD/art director/copywriter: Alan Blavins
Copywriter: Phil Caragol
Agency producer: Liz Coyle
Production co.: Video Arts
Animation: Renegade Animation
Director: Darrell Van Citters

This inspired spot opens with our hero reaching for a piece of sushi, only to find a rat instead. The guy lunges, but the rodent gets away. It’s off to Equinox, where our boy runs on a treadmill, works out with a punching bag and does some serious abdominal crunching. Back home, he takes a Carl Lewisian leap across the room. Victory at last! Laughing demonically, the dude holds up his helpless prey, its little rodent legs pumping furiously in the empty air. Does advertising get any better than this?
Title: Rat
Agency: Anton & Partners, New York
CDs: David Anton, Scott Cimock
Art directors: Scott Cimock, Scott Bassen
Copywriters: David Anton, David Rosen
Agency producer: Marty Friedman
Production co.: Big Chair Productions
Director: Rob Michael Cohn
Editor: Jon Smalheiser, Cabana

Armed to the teeth, an exterminator battles a stubborn cockroach. He sprays; he bombs; he ponders the meaning of life. But the roach lives. Finally, he pulls out the doomsday weapon, a Roach Motel-with free HBO. The facial expressions of the mother and daughter in this film-clip-free ad are perfect. You can just taste the bug spray.
Title: Roach Motel
Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief creative officer: Ted Sann
Exec. CD: Michael Patti
Sr. CD/art director: Donna Weinheim
Assoc. CD/group CD/copywriter: Jeff Watzman
Agency producer: Lisa Grossman
Music producer: Rani Vaz
Production co.: House of Usher
Director: Kinka Usher
Editor: Sherri Margulies, Crew Cuts
Music: David Horowitz Music

Jack In The Box
Wearing lots of leather, the Spicy Crispy Chicks are in “the Jack groove.” As each girl sings, she gyrates erotically and pushes a spicy chicken sandwich into the viewer’s face. This hilarious spot is dripping with so much entendre and innuendo, you can kiss off the honey-mustard sauce.
Title: Spicy Crispy Chicks
Agency: The Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co., Santa Monica, Calif.
CD/art director/copywriter/
Director: Dick Sittig
Agency producer: Nancy Koch
Production co.: radical media

More often than not, the credit-card category appeals to the lowest common denominator-one company bashing another. It’s nice to see MasterCard take the high road. In this spot, a father uses the plastic to take his 11-year-old son to a baseball game. The $91 charge is a small price to pay for a little quality time. (Best Spots believes in family values.)
Title: Baseball
Agency: McCann-Erickson, New York
Deputy CD: Jonathan Cranin
Sr. CD/art director: Jeroen Bours
Group CD/copywriter:
Joyce King Thomas
Agency producer: Sally Hotchkiss
Production co.: Tony Kaye Films
Director: Tony Kaye
Editor: Jim Haygood, Superior Assembly

Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Crooning “It’s Impossible,” Robert Goulet appears as a toll collector, biker guy, car washer and meter maid. Even with a one-note plot, this ad brings a smile. Goulet’s transformation from lounge lizard to ad shill may now be complete. At least his voice is holding out.
Title: It’s Impossible
Agency: Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York
Chairman/chief creative officer: Lee Garfinkel
Exec. VPs/creative group heads: Marty Orzio, Randy Saitta,
Andy Hirsch
VP/art director: Steve Kashtan
Exec. VP/copywriter:
Amy Borkowsky
VP/producer Gary Grossman
Production co.: Venus Entertainment
Director: Jim Sonzero
Editor: Ian Mackenzie,

Meet Frank Maddox, scout for the Seattle Mariners, who lives in a world of motel rooms and minor-league ballparks. Never far away: A Microsoft-run laptop, which helps him track players across the land. One question: Did Bill Gates hand-pick David Bowie’s “Heroes” for this campaign?
Title: Mariners
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative director: Dan Wieden
CD/art director: Michael Prieve
CD/copywriter: Bob Moore
Exec. producer: Ben Grylewicz
Producer: Patty Brebner
Production co.: Epoch Films
Director: Jeff Preiss
Editors: Lucas Eskin, Jack Douglas, Mad River Post

Ore-Ida Twice Baked Potatoes
The astronauts on the space shuttle must decide what’s for dinner-dried chicken or dried steak. The menu is monotonous, until a smuggled package of Ore-Ida twice-baked potatoes appears. Were the taters first-baked on Mir?
Title: Space Shuttle
Agency: Matthaeus Halverson Ayriss, Bellevue, Wash.
CD/art director David Ayriss
Copywriter: Tom Donahoe
Agency producer: Dianna Turner
Production co.: Ober Lenz
Director: Tony Ober

Prudential Healthcare
Expressing her innermost thoughts, a woman describes the time a cop came to the door and told her about her son’s biking accident. He survived, thanks to a bike-helmet program funded by Prudential. This visually minimalist spot feels like real life-and it’s a tribute to good writing.
Title: Bike Helmet
Agency: Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York
Chief creative officer: Richard Kirshenbaum
Exec. CD: Bill Oberlander
Assoc. CDs: Pam Clinkard, Karen Dunbar
Art director Marta Ibarrondo
Copywriter: Gary Herrmann
Broadcast producers: Mary Ellen Duggan, Betsy Schoenfeld
Production co.: Creative Film Management
Director: Greg Hoblit

Riven (broderbund)
This eerie spot shows a world of rocky cliffs, tranquil seas, blue skies and strange architecture. “You may enter whenever you choose,” says the voiceover. “Leaving, however, is another matter.” This computer-animated realm is Riven, the CD-ROM sequel to Myst.
Title: Grounds
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, San Francisco
CDs: Steve Silver, Curtis Melville
Art director: Joe Kayser
Copywriter: Tom Bagot
Agency producer: Carol McCarty
Music & SFX: Chris Bell Music
Editing: Varitel Video

At the pearly gates, a line stretches off into the distance. Up front, a geezer hears his sins: “You ran over a squirrel when you were 16.” “You never put the toilet seat down.” “Does your bachelor party ring a bell?” When another guy complains about the wait, the bottom drops out. Gonna be awhile?
Title: Eternity
Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief creative officer: Ted Sann
Sr. exec. CD: Charlie Miesmer
Assoc. CDs/group CDs/art
Directors/copywriters: Gerry Graf, David Grey
Agency producer: J.D. Williams
Production co.: radical media
Directors: Bryan Buckley,
Frank Todaro
Editors: Ian Mackenzie,
Eric Johnson, Mike Douglas,
Ian Mackenzie/Creative Services

Stop & Shop
This clever ad builds both a joke and a great-looking dish of ice cream. With each line comes a scoop: “He didn’t call.” “He broke a date.” “He stood you up.” “He called you Nancy.” “Your name is . . . Jeannie.” Now, don’t try to drag us into the women-should not-be-portrayed- in-a-way-that-shows-their-self-esteem-is-tied-to-what-men-think-about-them debate. Don’t go there.
Title: Ice Cream
Agency: Arnold Communications, Boston
Chief creative officer: Ron Lawner
Creative director: Alan Marcus
Art director: Jeannie Heilman
Copywriter: C.J. Kaplan
Agency producer: Keith Dezen
Production co.: GMS
Director: Bill Mather
Editor: Noreen Breslin, Panache
Music: Berman/Branco

Tri-Valley Growers (S&W)
What is the world coming to? When Grandma discovers her grandson prefers canned peaches to her homemade, she stalks an S&W truck, forcing the rig over a cliff, where it bursts into flames. (Best Spots believes in family values only when it suits us.)
Title: Grandma
Agency: Black Rocket, San Francisco
CD/art director Steve Stone
CD/copywriter: Bob Kerstetter
Agency producer: Stacy McClain
Production co. Tool of North America
Director: Erich Joiner

Tropicana Fruitwise Smoothie
In a Braveheart send-up, an army of fruit lays seige to a kitchen blender. Strawberries, grapes, oranges, pineapples and bananas assault the appliance, and the result is a lively stop-motion spot. Do you think William Wallace is spinning in his grave?
Title: Bravefruit
Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding, New York
Sr. VP/CD: Sam Gulisano
Art directors: Katie Hennicke, David Rosen
Copywriter: Heidi David
Production co.: Will Vinton Studios
Director: David Daniels