Every holiday season Lexus busts out with a campaign featuring some pearl-coloured vehicle with a bow on top. Far from perfect -- whose pursuit Lexus claims to champion -- it's mediocre and irritating. Like weathered nativity scenes.
Last night we thought we saw something different. The comfortingly low-fi "Big Wheel" bears the consistency of old home videos or a classic holiday movie. In it, a kid with a new plastic trike faces us and cries, "Stop! What are you doing? You can't top the big-wheel memory!"
We ruminate on our own '80s-era big wheels as he reprises us on its merits: the freedom! The wind in your hair!
Then there's an awkward cut. The kid is a man, and now he's facing a Lexus -- with a bow. And we're like, "Fuck, this could have been so much better."
Is it really that difficult to let two people who love each other live their lives they way they choose? After all, what business do people have sticking their noses into the business of others? Is it really so hard to just live one's life and allow others to live theirs without judgment? If two people love each other, who are we to judge?
While a marriage between two male priest performed by a female priest may not yet be as innocuous as the next, Swedish fashion designer Bjorn Borg asks us to envision such a world.
Must we be so judgmental of others? Can't we just appreciate the happiness and love shared between two people? Is it really that difficult?
Levi's is Ad Land's Lolita: perennially young, sexually voracious.
"First Time," a spot for the "Live Unbuttoned" campaign, holds that reputation up nicely. In it, two beautiful adolescents stand face to face in the open air, unbuttoning their jeans.
"You've never done this before, right?" she asks.
"No," he murmurs.
"It's my thirty-fourth time." O_O
They volley around a few more cliches: I'm scared. Don't you trust me? Then, after the long unbutton -- what's Levi's got against zippers? -- nuddified boy and girl take hands and leap off a high dock: as good a metaphor for losing your innocence as any.
Pretty work by the would-be John Hugheses at BBH/London. Good media placement, too: I saw it last night during Heroes, which is positively bursting with hormonal tension.
I don't think I could properly describe "Lips" even if I wanted to. It's an ad for Xbox game Lips, which is pretty much karaoke for the Guitar Hero generation. (The microphone's motion sensitive, and you can select songs from your own collection.)
Agency TAG enlisted Tom Kuntz to conceive a strolling pair of lips, singing Take on Me and going about his business. Then he walks into a house party and traipses creepily up the sleeve of a guy who, right on cue, belts out the chorus to A-HA's greatest hit.
I don't know if it's the lips' cheer that got to me, or the natural seratonin-explosion resulting from Take on Me, but this is an insanely infectious spot. We loves it.
Two brothers duke it out in a tandem bike competition pour papa in Stella Artois' "The Race." Hijinks ensue when they drive over a nail and their chances of winning are dramatically decreased.
Instead of trucking on, the boys furtively decide to lift their spirits at a nearby pub. As they wrap their lovin' fingers around two glasses of Stella, they look up at the pub wall and find papa -- right where they need him to be.
"Perfection has its price," Stella smugly reminds us.
A treat to watch, and in keeping the brand's high-brow sense of humour. By Lowe/London and Lowe Roche/Toronto. MPC/London conducted post-production. Props to Brentter for bringing it to our attention.
- Tom Messner on web two-dot-oh: "TV was still social medium in 1965 as people gathered around it; nobody gathers around the Internet unless you think that everyone is gathering around it at any time." Read more up-close with Hustle Knockin'. (V-via.)
- Twitter waves $500 million in Facebook stock off the table.
- Montreal-based Sid Lee opens doors where we all wish we could: in Amsterdam!
- "Oh, haven't you heard of Glah-day?" Someone finally speaks out about those Godforsaken Glade Scented Candles ads.
- George Parker will host your Second Life wedding if you promise to pass him some dirt on Enfatico.
- Google lets you customize search results.
- Planning to die? Don't forget to switch on the webcam.
- Shepard Fairey discusses his work and his design agency, Studio Number One, in a video interview.
The holidays -- shopping, senile relatives, stuffing with raisins and endless variations on the nativity -- aren't for everyone. This Leo Burnett ad for McDonald's depicts just such a guy.
The scene: charades by the Christmas tree with extended family. After an over-obvious movie mime (chest-pounding, monkey noises) that wins him "Brokeback Mountain...?", he acts out the first two words of The Great Escape, then leaps into a secret tunnel that looks like it's been dug with gravy spoons. Off to McD's he goes.
The UK-based ad promotes McDonald's "festive menu," which launches Wednesday. A spokesperson told the Guardian it's "strictly a turkey-free zone" to give customers "a haven to escape from some of the stressful Christmas activities, like shopping."
Guess that makes sense. Nothing soothes the consumption-distressed soul like chicken ... McNuggets.
Memorable moments from 41 ads, nicely choreographed to the tune of One Spring Away. Yeah, the gorilla's in there, plus bits from Sony's Bravia spots and Gap's Khaki Swing.
Steve is jealous because, in less sober times, we've bounced this same idea back and forth: "Hey, what if we mashed up a bunch of ads to, like ... a song...?"
But it takes a fine hand to elevate advertising -- coolly thrashed by jaded pundits -- to the soft-focused realm of scrapbook-worthy human experience. The Band From does it better than we could have.
For United Way, Publicis/Toronto gives us "Youth" and "Homelessness." Each introduces you to someone in dire straits: a homeless guy in his alley, staring despondently at passers-by; and a nervy new gangbanger.
Both look markedly stressed. Then each grabs hold of some part of themselves -- the homeless guy his torn jacket, the street kid his head -- and suddenly their skin peels off.*
Within the homeless man lies a clean-cut Joe with a uniform on. He steps easily out of his poverty-ridden skin -- kinda like the crazy sorceress whose ugliness "melted away" at the beginning of Disney's Beauty and the Beast -- and joins the sea of active, busy people on the streets.
Same deal with the kid. He grabs his head, peels off his hoodie-ensconced bad-ass self, and reemerges in -- lo! -- a baby blue soccer uniform.
"What you're really giving is a way out," each spot concludes, referring slyly to the donation you are now morally obligated to make.
I like the idea of being able to shake off your past and join the sunshiny stat-quo. But if the spots are appealing, it's because they oversimplify a taxing inner journey that can take years -- and plenty of sorrows -- to complete. Well, that's advertising for you.
Or your aquarium, as the case may be. And while those winning numbers fall out of the sky, why not stick the dinette set under them? Fickle Fortune will buy you a new one. Someday.
By Colle+McVoy for the Minnesota State Lottery. The latter hosts a Daily Drawing show every night, which C+M helped reformat: instead of floating ping pong balls with lotto numbers, "viewers now get plummeting cast iron balls."
Who signed off on that idea?
Anyway, the spots linked above are two of 50 (probably equally disjointed) ads shot for the accompanying campaign. So if you're Minne-soootan, expect to see plenty of variants through '09. (Sorry.)