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Seen and noted

Guest judge: Luke Sullivan, GSD&M, Austin, Texas

 GUEST JUDGE /BEST AD OF THE WEEK   WORLDWIDE    July 28, 2010 01:59 (Edited: April 12, 2011 07:29) week's guest judge is the legendary adman Luke Sullivan, senior VP/managing group creative director at GSD&M in Austin, Texas.

A nationally acclaimed copywriter with a 30-year track record, he helps manage a creative department of 70 while continuing to work directly with Norwegian Cruise Line, L.L.Bean and the American Legacy Foundation.

Luke is a self-described 'ad geek' and the author of the best-selling book, 'Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Advertising'. Offering practical advice with an irreverent eye toward the history of advertising, the book was ranked by Advertising Age readers at #5 on the list of top 10 media and marketing books of all time.

Luke's experience includes 10 years at Fallon and five at The Martin Agency, with work for Miller Lite, United Airlines, Toyota, Black & Decker, BMW, Porsche and AT&T. He has more than twenty medals to his credit in the prestigious One Show and has served as judge for many creative award shows.

He holds a degree in Psychology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and lives in Austin with his wife and two boys. He reports that he "enjoys the indoors" and likes to spend a lot of his time there.

Of the six videos posted, the Burn web film from Publicis Mojo Sydney is my favorite. I saw this thing last week on Twitter and immediately passed it along. It is hypnotizing. You know you're watching a good special-effect when you can't figure out how they did it. How the flames sometimes drop off onto the streets like they do? Cool. Or how the wind distorts the flow of the flames. For all I know, it was in-camera. In any case, the incredible effect plus the great music make for a riveting piece of work. If I could've been in the room when they were doin' it, I'd do a couple of things (besides taking credit for it): I'd sell a wee bit more. There's nothin' wrong with selling when you are providing such compelling content, as this video does. To my mind, that is the whole purpose of great creative - to give the customer something in return for listening to your sales pitch. Yeah, I wish they'd tied it more to the energy drink. Also, I might have started the real action a bit earlier than one-minute-twenty-three-seconds into it. If this were a cinema video with a captive audience, well, a slow start might be fine. But online, I worry that many of the ADD coffee-guzzlers like myself will click away before this great piece of work really gets its engine goin'. But hats off, people. This is beautiful.

My two faves from these six are the car ads. Here you have two simple visual solutions, and I happen to be a sucker for simplicity. Of the two, I give it to Mercedes because the photograph is in and of itself more beautiful than the one of the dominoes. Yes, the VW 'Domino' is a quick little metaphor. I wish the shot were a bit more, I don't know, beautiful? More stylized? Not by much, just a little more. But in either case, they are both good and fast. I swear, the speed of the "get" is so important these days. Often times I hear that outdoor billboards should be seven words or less, the reason of course being that people are speeding by at 55mph. Well, if you think about how the average reader pages through a magazine, it's not any different. Seriously. Watch somebody at an airport open a magazine they just purchased. If they are right-handed like me, they'll hold the magazine with their left hand and quickly scan through the magazine back to front, scoping out the editorial, deciding what they're gonna read when they get on the plane. As those ads whip by, probably maxing out at 3 seconds per page, tell me that isn't just as fast as a billboard whipping by on the road. The thing with print, though, is that you can get the reader to stop (backing up on the highway, if you will) and read the entire thing.

Man, I love these mall installations from DDB New Zealand for the Travel Channel. For some reason, Auckland is one of the most creative cities when it comes to outdoor, installations, environmental and ambient advertising. I first noticed this when I judged a show there and saw it on the streets for myself. I don't know if Auckland has looser city zoning lawyers or what but I tellya, this isn't the first cool outdoor thing I've seen from the Kiwis that kinda rocks. I must also applaud here the Cabbie-Okie campaign for Telstra. I'm not quite sure how it tracks to sales. In fact, in the voiceover they sort of admit this saying, "We haven't unearthed the next big thing, but we have made a boring brand suddenly seem like fun". I'm wondering if they couldn't have said, maybe, that Telstra enables you to instantly share your Cabbie-Okie video using their marvelous network, or some other such claim (I don't know this company and such a claim may be impossible). In any case, it clearly was a PR success and a great way to interact with customers. Cheers to both.

Google Chrome gets my vote here. These are the same folks who did those marvelous videos for Google Chrome Labs. You remember, the one with the potato gun? Or the lightning? In any case, they've done it again here but in a different way. The thing is, I find myself getting more and more partial to advertising that proves the worth of the product instead of just making a claim about it. And this one proves its product's worth as you watch. I didn't take them up on the challenge and just clicked through the piece, but I still enjoyed it and still got their message. As they said in the notes, they've solved a business problem in a "Googly" sort of way - on-brand, no claims, just proof, and very cool.

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