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Volkswagen Passat
AGENCY Arnold Communications, Boston
CLIENT Volkswagen of America, Auburn Hills, Mich.
MEDIUM consumer print
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ron Lawner
ASSOC. CREATIVE/ART DIRECTOR Alan Pafenbach
ASSOC. CREATIVE DIRECTOR/COPYWRITER Lance Jensen
ART DIRECTOR Tim Vaccarino
PHOTOGRAPHERS Clint Clemens, Bill Cash

A far cry from “Think Small,” eh? But if a larger car can help baby boomers through midlife crises, more power to it. By the time the last boomer keels over, we’ll have had our fill of this ad’s already familiar theme: Being a grown-up needn’t mean forsaking youthful excitement. Copy here gets good mileage out of it, though, sounding solicitous without making 40somethings feel like invalids. One quibble: You’ll note that the phrase “living large” has been restated as an imperative in the punning reference to Passat’s size. That is advertising’s natural voice, of course, but it’s an odd match for a phrase that refers to personal freedom and indifference to the demands of others.

Marrakesh Express Couscous
AGENCY BBDO, Minneapolis
CLIENT Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn.
MEDIUM transit posters
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Denny Haley
ART DIRECTOR Karn Knutson
COPYWRITER Bob Powers
PHOTOGRAPHER Marina Chavez

This is one of those ads that could strike you in completely different ways, depending on which side of the bed you got up on. The positive reaction: This brand is treating me as a cosmopolitan who doesn’t merely enjoy couscous but can distinguish between favorite and less-than-favorites varieties. How flattering! The negative reaction: The ad hasn’t begun to persuade me to eat couscous and it’s demanding to know what flavor I want? How impudent! Either way, the underlying fact is that few people in this country–even the young sophisticates at whom Marrakesh aims–are couscous cognoscenti. As such, the ad could do more to make consumers feel comfortable with an unfamiliar product. But with its catchy photo, combining an air of mystery and a touch of humor, the ad does give this brand an appealing aura.