CAMPAIGN INTERNATIONAL: WHAT’S HOT IN THE US

I’m always envious of the stuff done by Cliff Freeman & Partners. It manages to break through the clutter with work that is as much about ’product as hero’ as it is entertaining - and often with copy that on a sheet of paper would induce yawns.

I’m always envious of the stuff done by Cliff Freeman & Partners. It

manages to break through the clutter with work that is as much about

’product as hero’ as it is entertaining - and often with copy that on a

sheet of paper would induce yawns.



Its new campaign for Budget Rent-A-Car is a favourite. Taking mundane

benefits in a me-too category such as low weekend rates and its Fastbreak

service, the agency has built a campaign around a fictitious Budget

marketing team trying to come up with schemes to sweeten those deals. In

each spot, the team’s optimism is dashed by the vision of their

promotional idea gone terribly awry, making the team realise that maybe

the original offer is good enough.



In ’propulsion’ for Fastbreak, a businessman is jet-packed into electrical

wires. In ’ranger’, a bear cub vomits on a customer acting as a ranger for

a day. In ’aromatherapy’, a carload of zonked-out business people drive

into oncoming traffic. These are some of the most unexpected, funniest

images that I’ve seen in advertising. Yet rather than overshadow the news,

they serve to underscore it. It’s like they’re saying: ’Thanks for

receiving our message. Now here’s a cookie for watching.’



Switching from cars you rent to cars you own, my second choice is for

Volkswagen from Arnold Communications. Although the ’drivers wanted’

campaign is a couple of years old, it continues to remain fresh. The spots

continually deliver on all levels: production values, music and simplicity

of ideas.



You can just tell that the agency and creatives completely understand the

customer and the brand. The stuff just feels pure and free and

organic.



How else can you describe ’crazy guy’, where a man gyrates goofily to the

Styx song Mr Roboto from his VW sound system?



The turbo Beetle stuff and the Passat ’chase’ and ’synchronicity’ spots

have been well publicised. But my new favourite may be for the Cabrio

convertible. As we hear the late sensitive-guy-singer-songwriter Nick

Drake’s Pink Moon, we watch a carload of the ’just got my licence and a

little dough saved’ target market cruise along a beautifully moonlit

landscape. When they arrive at their destination - a beach house party -

they realise that maybe they’d have had more fun if they’d just kept

driving. Great song, great mood, great spot.



One of the other items on my ’wish they were mine reel’ is the

consistently good campaign for the online investment service E-Trade from

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. In ’basketball’ a father is triumphant

when his son scores in a crucial match. His enthusiasm and exclamation of

’son, we’re gonna be rich’, as a talent scout moves in to clinch a deal,

are resoundingly crushed when the son announces: ’I wanna dance!’ The end

tagline reads: ’Always have a back-up plan.’



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