INTERNATIONAL: WHAT’S HOT IN THE US

Volkswagen. Apple. Federal Express. Unquestionably, three of the most heralded campaigns in advertising history.

Volkswagen. Apple. Federal Express. Unquestionably, three of the

most heralded campaigns in advertising history.



So, here we are in 1998, and what campaigns do I find myself

admiring?



Volkswagen, Apple and FedEx.



First, Volkswagen. For 30 seconds, we see two guys driving around. They

say nothing, they look out the window, they see a big ratty chair

someone has thrown out, they put the chair in the back of the VW, they

drive around some more, they realise the chair smells, so they dump the

chair.



Throughout, we hear a song, Da Da Da, which I understand was a hit from

a European group that never made it in the US but it makes this

commercial wonderful. A voiceover says: ’Volkswagen. It fits your

life ... or lack thereof.’ It’s amazing how much this spot says by

saying nothing.



In 1984, Apple did the most famous commercial ever during the

SuperBowl.



During the next 13 years, it did a lot of good advertising. With one

problem: Apple, the company, had lost its focus - and a lot of its

business. Back came its co-founder, Steve Jobs, back came Lee Clow, and

back came another brilliant Apple spot.



We saw black-and-white still photos - Picasso, Muhammad Ali, Einstein,

Martin Luther King. We heard Richard Dreyfuss: ’Here’s to the crazy

ones, the misfits, the round pegs in the square holes ... the people who

are crazy enough to think they can change the world - are the ones who

do.’ Super.



Then the Apple logo and the line: ’Think different.’ I don’t know if

it’s good enough to save Apple but it’s a big idea done beautifully.



I sat down to watch the SuperBowl last week, which this year pitted the

Green Bay Packers against the Denver Broncos ... and BBDO against the

rest of the advertising industry. Denver scored and a Pepsi spot from

BBDO came on. Nice spot. Next spot came on. We saw colour bars, we heard

a buzzing sound as if the TV station was doing a test, then we saw type

coming across the screen. It said that ’the commercial that was supposed

to be running now never arrived at the station. It seems that some dunce

at the ad agency sent it air express but didn’t use FedEx.’ With all of

the hype around the SuperBowl (dollars 1.3 million for a 30-second spot

plus millions in production), this is the anti-SuperBowl commercial: a

simple idea that probably cost about dollars 5,000 to produce. Broncos

and BBDO, 1998 SuperBowl champs.



Ron Berger is a partner and creative director of Messner Vetere Berger

McNamee Schemetterer/Euro RSCG.



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