‘Simpsons’ Creative Ruled in July

NEW YORK The best of July was all about The Simpsons Movie mania. Most interesting, of course, was 7-Eleven’s transformation into real-life Kwiki-Marts, complete with straight-out-of-Springfield, limited-edition products like Krusty O’s cereal. But Burger King made the best Simpsons play on TV with a spot in which the King masterminds an alien plot to simpsonize the world. It directs viewers to the animated simpsonizeme.com Web site, where visitors can upload their pictures to see their Simpson doppelganger.

The BK commercial opens with a balding guy with a gut giving his fast-food order. The slobbering cartoon alien behind the counter, however, has different plans, asking him, “Do you want to be transformed into a 2-D character with yellow skin?” A laser beam then converts the customer into an elated Homer, who materializes with a “Woo hoo!” Cut to a city in panic as multiple laser beams turn citizens into the Simpsons cast of characters (e.g., a newscaster reporting on the “alien invasion” becomes anchorman Kent Brockman and an old man on a scooter crabby Grandpa). Back in the spaceship, the aliens hail their chief, who reveals himself as the King in an alien costume. “The world is going Simpsons,” says the voiceover, “and BK is in on it.” Boy, is it ever.

Another pick, for ESPN, looks at the much-anticipated arrival of soccer superstar David Beckham to the U.S. It uses the Beatles’ “Hello, Goodbye” to underscore his bittersweet move, and while montage spots usually bore me, this one eloquently cuts together scenes of fans to capture the excited welcome of the U.S. and the melancholy goodbye on the other side of the pond.

JC Penney captures a school-girl crush in “Heart.” A pre-teen girl sketches a heart with her and a classmate’s initials into her notebook, but to her horror, the sketch disappears and appears on the blackboard. She tries to chase it down as it appears next on a hallway bulletin board, then a school banner and, finally, on a table in front of her crush. She leaps across the table to cover it up, but her crush has already seen it. “Today is the day to get up the nerve,” reads the on-screen copy. The performances are wonderful and the story a nice change of pace for the back-to-school category.

A well-executed spot for HP delves into the promise and power of the imagination. Like others in the impressive “Computer is personal again” series, it’s a look at the creative process of someone who might not be recognizable to the average viewer, yet keeps us interested with a mix of live action, animation, graphics and first-person voiceover. This time it stars Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), who explains how he uses his computer to combine film, animation and digital effects, create music and share his art with others. It ends with the director in bed explaining that he “dreams a lot,” but is not a “very good sleeper.” It turns into an image of him on a computer screen, with animated type spelling out “eternal dreamer.” It’s a wonderful peek at the mind of an innovator and entertainingly showcases the endless creative possibilities available to the HP user. Wonder what the Mac guy would have to say about that?