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AQUA TEC SWIMWEAR
This campaign latches onto one truth about women’s swimsuits: They’re worn out of the water more than in it. But the ads recklessly ignore another truth: For most women, a swimsuit is no laughing matter. They aren’t in the mood for an ad that features a bikini-clad model looking with mock dismay at a smoldering skillet, as another photo in the series does, or for this ad’s horticultural hijinks. Much as one might wish to salute Aqua Tec for defying the dull conventions of its category-and heaven knows they are dull-the campy photos emit too subversive a subtext: If our curvaceous models can look silly in these swimsuits, just imagine, dear reader, how you will look.
AGENCY: Needleman Pilla, New York
CLIENT: Aqua Tec NYC, New York
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Bob Needleman
PHOTOGRAPHER: Michelle Hood


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Q-TIPS
You see the photo and your brain automatically says “Q-tip.” It does not say “cotton swab,” unless it’s a very peculiar brain. Thus, the shape of the visual gets you to acknowledge the brand’s primacy even before you’ve read a word of the ad. Copy then supplies a rational basis for this instinctive reaction: “No swab is more absorbent; no swab has more cotton.” (When’s the last time you saw an ad use a semicolon? Gotta love that!) And the kicker: “So if you want a Q-tip, buy a Q-tip.” The “accept no substitutes” genre can sound hectoring, as if the advertiser is berating you for having shoddy standards. Here, though, the oddball visual helps foster a sense that you’re being amiably encouraged to pamper yourself. Who’d object to that?


AGENCY: Ogilvy & Mather Canada, Toronto
CLIENT: Lever Ponds, Toronto
MEDIUM: consumer magazines
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Steven Landsberg
CREATIVE GROUP HEADS: Nancy Vonk (art), Janet Kestin (copy)
COPYWRITERS: Trent Burton, Brian Smith
ART DIRECTOR: Marissa Mastenbroek
PHOTOGRAPHER: Stanley Wong

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MOLSON SIGNATURE CREAM ALE

Exaggeration wrecks the credibility of many an ad. But when it’s so far over the top that it doesn’t expect to be taken seriously, it can disarm your resistance. “Alright, so Armand Thompson, our brew-master, is a bit obsessed by his work,” copy begins. “People who strive for perfection get a little strange sometimes. Look at Van Gogh. That ear incident wasn’t exactly normal. But his paintings sell for about twenty million a pop. Are we comparing Molson Signature Cream Ale to a work of art? In a word, Yes.” And so on. The well-modulated humor keeps us entertained without making the brand seem jokey. If a beer company is sufficiently self-confident to mock the usual blather about dedicated brewmasters, we’re inclined to suspect its brewmaster truly is dedicated-and that his loss of perspective will be our gain as beer guzzlers.

AGENCY: BBDO, Vancouver
CLIENT: Molson Breweries, North York, Ontario
MEDIUM: newspapers
CREATIVE/ART DIRECTOR: Greg Rowan
COPYWRITER: Katie Barni
PHOTOGRAPHER: Brad Stringer


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TWINLAB’S MALE FUEL
Given the sexual smirkiness that erupts in spots for everything from soda to sneakers, it’s a relief to see a pitch for a brand related to sexual performance. Needless to say, it’s free of such elbow-in-our-ribs vulgarities. Delicately described in an agency press release as a “male performance enhancer,” Male Fuel plays a discreet supporting role in the spot’s tribute to the manly man who happens to need a little extra oomph. As the soundtrack plays campy ’50s hit “Hey Tiger,” our hero gets ready for a date. For starters, he’s shaving the thickest stubble this side of King Kong. Our man is muscular, too, so he effortlessly does a few pushups to pass the time as he waits for the bath to fill up. His dog is such a manly man’s dog that it needn’t wear the customary bandana. In short, guys are assured they’ll be in admirably masculine company if they give the product a try. Other details-a tall-masted sailboat on the bath water, the dog’s upright wagging tail-signal that Male Fuel will have the desired effect. A sultry female voiceover caps off the spot by purring that Male Fuel “brings out the tiger in you.”


AGENCY: Hanft Byrne Raboy Abrams & Partners, New York
CLIENT: Twin Laboratories, Ronkonkoma, N.Y
MEDIUM: 60-second TV
CREATIVE DIRECTOR/COPYWRITER: Doug Raboy
ART DIRECTOR: Sylvia Frascaroli
PRODUCER: Alisa Cohen
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Straw Dogs, Los Angeles
DIRECTOR: Jesse Dylan