Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bill Bernbach would be proud.

Lost in all the schadenfreude about Crispin Porter and its Volkswagen work—the departure of client champion Kerry Martin, the strange “Fast” creature, the proto-Nazi designer—are these two lovely print ads.

Every agency that has worked on VW since it left Doyle Dane has kept the iconic Avant Garde typeface and the spare, white-space aesthetic. But no agency has been comfortable enough in its own creative skin to return to the original, classic layout and copy approach.

Just as it took certified Red-baiter Richard Nixon to finally establish diplomatic ties with Communist China, it took CPB to do these ads. Not just because they have nothing to prove creatively, but because someone there actually knows how to write.

The copy sells hard but gracefully and is 100% bullshit-free. The style is literate and witty but in no way condescending or snarky. If Crispin does wind up losing this business, it will be a shame. These ads are the real deal.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dogs rule. BMWs suck.

So I'm watching the Westminster Dog Show, which, given nature of its audience, has lots of commercials featuring dogs.

Most of these commercials are for Pedigree, and they're great. Of course, when the brief is to encourage people to donate to a dog-rescue fund, and the audience by definition loves dogs, if you can't do a nice spot you should just give it up. Dogs rule, indeed.

And then this BMW spot comes on. Guy whistles for his Weimariner to go out for a spin. Dog looks dubious. Dog exits frame, reappears wearing a crash helmet. Now he looks dubious and ashamed. Against his better judgment, dog hops into back of BMW wagon. Guy stomps on the accelerator, hurling his dog against the rear windshield as he peels out of the driveway.

Nice creative choice to run on a dog show, guys. Note to dogs waiting for new owners in shelters: if someone comes in and jangles BMW keys at you...bite him. You're better off where you are.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Super Bowl Bench Warmers

I think the big winners and losers have been pretty well documented, don't you?

I'm sickly drawn in this post to the ads consigned to Purgatory, neither praised nor derided. I'm fascinated by the forgettable. If you're going to pay $2.5 MM to air a spot, at least try. Take a shot. Fail Big, like Snickers or Garmin. But no. Anyone remember these?

Ford F 150. Lots of parts coming together to truck. Like Honda's "Cog" with all the coolness stripped away.

Prudential. Rocks are good for skipping. Rocks are good for massage. Rocks are good for...let me guess...I feel it

Ford Edge. Let's see, the vehicle's name is "Edge" so let's have it ride (in clumsy CGI) on the edge. And have some rocker sing "I like to live on the edge." Which means, of course, that he doesn't.

And my grand prix for Forgetability, the least remembered, least-talked about spot on the Super Bowl:

PNC Bank. They ran the pitch mood piece. Aimless vignettes of people walking, children smiling, people tapping on keyboads...what--you don't remember? What about when the AVO talked about helping you meet your goals and your dreams? No? Surely you remember the line at the end:

PNC. Leading the way.

I did. Which is deeply troubling.