What’s New: Portfolio

AGENCY: Jackson-Dawson, Greenville, S.C.
CLIENT: T&S Brass & Bronze Works, Travelers Rest, S.C.
MEDIUM: interior-design magazines
COPYWRITER: Nance Piggins
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Christopher Smith, Rob Belknap

There are ingenious ideas that work and ingenious ideas that, on reflection, do not work. Eye-catching though it is, I’m afraid this ad exemplifies the latter. “Only in nature does water fall as gracefully,” the headline tell us. So does the ad emphasize Insignia’s superiority to other, less graceful faucets? No, it sticks Insignia in the one visual context in which (by its own admission) the brand is not superior. Indeed, while Insignia fixtures may look impressive in your bathroom, they can’t help but look a bit comical when superimposed on a photo of a falling stream. Yes, the visual catches our attention. In that sense, it’s a clever idea. But catching the reader’s attention isn’t necessarily helpful if the client’s product is not displayed to its best advantage. The body copy conveys plenty of enthusiasm for the product, but one isn’t always sure just what it means to say. For instance: “Form and function blend seamlessly, indeed, as one with water. Ever as certain will our innovative engineering and superb wearability endure the elements and the test of time.” Beg pardon?


AGENCY : Blum/Herbstreith, New York
CLIENT: Air France in the U.S.
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTORS: Alan Blum, Charles Herbstreith
ART DIRECTOR: Andrew Dalsass
COPYWRITER: Rob Slosberg

Some readers will find this headline offensive. Then again, chances are they’d find France offensive, too. At any rate, this ad loses no time in using a national stereotype as a shortcut to giving the carrier a distinct identity. “Call it the French way,” copy begins. “And perhaps it’s that heritage that makes our L’Espace 180 First Class so indulgent.” Frankly, Americans do not regard the French (at least the Parisian French) as being particularly hospitable, so the ad is wise to frame the airline’s service more as a form of seduction. Sexual allusions in ads are now so commonplace that they’ve lost their power to cut through the clutter. But the grown-up directness of the language here is a relief from the juvenile smirkiness one more typically sees. That in itself will attract the attention of the airline’s target market.


AGENCY: Pedone & Partners, New York
CLIENT: Stadt Corp., New York
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
ART DIRECTOR: Simon Alicea

You say Nutra, I say Natra. Maybe there’s a Mr. Natra among the owners of NatraTaste, but one suspects the name is a roundabout tribute to the marketing clout of NutraSweet-the brand name for the aspartame sweetener in mega-brand Equal. If consumers have the impression that NatraTaste (which also contains aspartame) is the same as NutraSweet and Equal, so much the better for the smaller brand. Into this benign confusion the ad introduces a flash of clarity. Consumers will learn that NatraTaste is less expensive than Equal. At the same time, they’ll be made aware in no uncertain terms that NatraTaste and Equal with NutraSweet are two different things-albeit two different things that use the same key ingredient. It’ll be interesting to see if this yields a net benefit for NatraTaste. While some consumers will be happy to buy the cheaper brand and save some money, you can imagine others resolving to treat themselves to the one that’s got the jazzy little swirl on the packet.


AGENCY: Tierney & Partners, Philadelphia
CLIENT: Bell Atlantic, Arlington, Va.
MEDIUM: 30-second TV
COPYWRITER: Chuck Borghese
PRODUCER: Lee Brosnan
PRODUCTION CO.: Means Street, Atlanta
DIRECTOR: Steve Colby

It’s a convivial party, with a jazz trio enlivening the scene. But the mode of conversation is peculiar. “Computers, page 45,” says a woman by way of introduction. “Temping, 107,” replies another before a man chimes in with “Air conditioning, 23.” Elsewhere in the room, “Contractor, page 48” winces as he learns he’s been chatting with “Building inspection, page 35.” James Earl Jones, who has made a second career as Bell Atlantic’s spokesman, appears in a triple role as all three members of the jazz ensemble. His voiceover clarifies matters: “There’s one place where businesses always connect-where they run more efficiently, attract more business.” There’s something quite engaging about the party as metaphor for a business-to-business directory. It evokes the sense of excitement that entrepreneurs at least start out with when they go into business. And it sets a shrewd contrast to the joyless tone that dominates advertising for business services these days. Look, everyone knows business is highly competitive. But if people can’t stop obsessing about that, let them get jobs at the post office. For all their efforts to create an aura of white-collar macho, grim commercials that drone on about life-and-death competition make business people seem like a bunch of crybabies. Bell Atlantic’s target audience will sooner identify with the wit and fun that’s conveyed in this spot.

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.