We saw wacky. We saw crazy. We saw madcap. We saw goofy and off the
wall. We even saw zany and kooky. We saw it all - and more - judging the
One Show this year.
But somewhere along the way I heard a creaking sound. I think it was the
sound of a pendulum swinging. A pendulum from the more comedy-driven
work of the past few years to something a little less gaggy. Because as
much as I loved the funny stuff, the work that sticks with me six weeks
after the judging took place is work that operated on a different level.
Work that did not elicit a single guffaw.
The ’surfer’ spot from Guinness, for instance. That is a world
The music, the images, the editing. It’s one of the most riveting 60
seconds I have ever sat through. But perhaps the most amazing thing
about it is the fact that someone put this idea on paper and sold it to
someone. Go into a conference room with your beer client tomorrow and
sell them a commercial with a herd of white horses galloping on waves.
Then there was the Volkswagen Cabriolet spot called ’big moon’. This is
probably the smallest biggest idea I’ve ever seen. It is simply four
people driving down a road at night, turning into a parking lot to go to
a party, and then deciding that they would rather keep driving. Not
exactly white horses on a wave, yet it knocks you out. A tiny but true
observation, executed in a way that makes you want to buy the car, hang
out with the actors, purchase the Big Moon CD and hire anyone who had
anything to do with the spot.
But, hey, I haven’t gone completely soft. I still like laughing until
snot runs out of my nose just as much as the next guy. Which is why
you’ve gotta love spots like Budget’s ’propulsion’, the Budweiser ’real
heroes’ radio campaign, and the eTrade ’basketball’ad.
Some other comedy highlights. The Wassup spots. Add ’wassup’ to the Hall
of Fame of catchphrases along with ’where’s the beef?’ and ’I love you,
man’. You may not be feeling it back in the old country but, trust me,
here in the new world ’wassup’ is a phenomenon.
Nike’s ’morning after’ ad. Year 2000 was sitting there for months, just
begging for some clever ad guys to take advantage of it. But only Wieden
& Kennedy and Nike truly did.
The Tobacco Commission stuff. All this took was for someone to go into
their AV department and slap a laugh track on some footage of a Senate
hearing. Like most brilliant ideas, it is stunningly simple. And
hilarious. And indicting.
The X Show. Giant breasts, steamy animal sex, beef jerky, tight
buttocks, Swedish twins, football and pizza. All mentioned in the same
ad. That’s just strong writing, that’s all that is.
Four other campaigns worthy of note. The beautifully crafted Electric
Car brochure for General Motors. The writing and design on this piece is
so immaculate, it actually makes you want to pass on your next TV
project and go and work on some nice juicy collateral.
The student campaign for Vietnam Tourism. The strongest of many strong
entries, it uses superimposed images of bridges and buildings to remind
us that the time to visit the beautiful and unspoiled nation of Vietnam
The Sports Illustrated print campaign. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. A good
ad is sometimes a great photograph accompanied by a really powerful
thought. The wheel has not been reinvented in the the Sports Illustrated
print campaign, but it is certainly rolling along.
Finally, the VW Turbonium site (www.turbonium.com). Simple, graphic,
conceptual ... it’s a reminder that, these days, great work is happening
in many more forms and places.
The 2000 One Show. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably end up
drinking Guinness and driving a Volkswagen.