What’s New: Portfolio

AGENCY: Ranscombe & Co., Toronto
CLIENT: Sony of Canada, Toronto
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
ART DIRECTOR: Lance Martin
COPYWRITER: Hayes Steinberg

The blueberries are a nice touch. In a category beset by hype, there’s much to be said for making a finite claim. And regardless of the product being advertised, we’re more apt to trust negative claims than positive ones. “Brand X tastes delicious” may or may not be true; “Brand X contains no sea bass” almost certainly is. By concentrating plausibly on what a Sony digital phone will not do, this campaign scores useful points. Other ads in the series assure readers the Sony’s sound doesn’t fade (the phone is done up like blue jeans) and doesn’t buzz (the phone is a honeycomb). Once having accepted these nutsy-boltsy claims, we’ll be open to the grander possibility that a digital phone is the greatest convenience since sliced bread.

AGENCY: Colby Effler & Partners, Santa Monica, Calif.
CLIENT: California Avocado Commission, Santa Ana
MEDIUM: outdoor
COPYWRITER: David Locascio
PHOTOGRAPHER: Michael Powers

Actually, we’re moving toward a more nuanced standard on lying. Judging from polls on Clinton’s latest contretemps, Americans think lying is no big deal if it concerns a topic about which they are not eager to hear the truth. Relations between a consenting consumer and a consenting avocado surely fall under that rubric. As it happens, the avocado advocates appear uncertain about how moralistic to be. While this ad takes a hard line, another in the series adopts a permissive tone: “It’s not wrong to be in love with the avocado.” Still another ad counsels, “It’s not good to keep these cravings inside.” This is the sort of fun campaign that gets you wondering what they’ll think of next. Instead of telling you to like avocados, it deftly leaves you assuming you like them-whether you’d been aware of such a predilection or not.

AGENCY: Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners, San Francisco
CLIENT: Sunvalley Mall, Concord, Calif.
MEDIUM: outdoor
CREATIVE DIRECTORs: Jeff Odiorne, Michael Wilde
ART DIRECTOR: Paul Foulkes
COPYWRITER: Tyler Hampton

What does the typical shopping-center ad tell you? That the place has lots of stores. What’s the one thing you already knew about shopping centers? That they have lots of stores. No wonder such ads don’t engage much interest. An ingenious campaign for Sunvalley finesses that difficulty by adding a narrative element to the usual recitation of store names. As with the barbecue mishap suggested by this ad, readers must use their imaginations to assemble the bare-bones elements of the story. And that helps them take in and recall the point that Sunvalley stores have anything a shopper might need. Another ad in the series shows a huge vase from The Bombay Co., a toddler’s jumper from GapKids and a tube of Krazy Glue bought the next day from The Stationers. Easy enough to piece together that sequence of events.

AGENCY: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco
CLIENT: Polaroid Corp., Cambridge, Mass.
MEDIUM: 30-second TV
CREATIVE DIRECTORs: Jeff Goodby, Rich Silverstein
COPYWRITER: Paul Venables
PRODUCER: Khrisana Mayfield
PRODUCTION CO.: Tate & Partners, Santa Monica
DIRECTOR: Baker Smith

Which would you rather buy: a machine that produces so-so photos or a machine that gives everyone a good time? Operating on the sensible theory that people would sooner buy the latter than the former, these commercials focus on the fun that ensues when someone starts pointing a Polaroid. One spot discusses the tendency of Americans to shake a Polaroid photo while waiting for it to develop. “It’s completely unnecessary,” confides the voiceover, adding that such rituals are to be found in every country. In China, we’re told, one person rubs the developing photo on another’s head. Then, when a goat is shown licking a photo, the voiceover explains, “The Scots, as they often do, turn to their livestock.” The action is highly entertaining, but it also makes a useful point: There’s a sense of occasion when someone uses a Polaroid, regardless of how photo snobs might view the resulting shots. Another deadpan spot speaks of the “pressure to perform” people feel when someone points a Polaroid at them. It cuts between scenes of party merriment and interview clips in which people earnestly discuss their strategies for Polaroid posing. We meet the guy who experiments with various thumbs-up gestures (not a natural, he must practice before a mirror) and the otherwise sophisticated woman who suspends a spoon from her nose (“The right prop is critical!”). It scarcely seems to matter whether there’s film in the camera, given the fun everyone has horsing around in front of it.

What’s New submissions should be in the form of proofs, slides or (for TV spots) videotape. Please list creative director, art director, copywriter, agency producer, production company (and its location), director and illustrator or photographer. Describe the media schedule, including break date for the ad. Preference will be given to the newest work. Materials cannot be returned. Send submissions to: What’s New Portfolio, Adweek, 1515 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036.