Good Ad Bad Ad
Monday 12 January 1998
Jeremy Pemberton, executive creative director at DMB&B. An airline ad focusing on navigation skills makes him want to bale out.
Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO
This opens with a shot of a bottle of tequila, and on the bottom you see a hung-over worm. Gazing out glumly, he spots a glass of water, in which two Alka-Seltzer XS tablets are bubbling. He climbs out of the bottle and dives into the fizzy water. He swims around, invigorated, and the voice-over says: "New Alka-Seltzer XS. When you've had one too many."
Last year's ad featured two guys on a lifeboat. In the last shot, one of them has gone. The voice-over says: "Alka-Seltzer. When you've eaten something you shouldn't have." That was a hard act to follow but this new spot still stands out - it's simple and funny in what is a very frenetic environment. And it's absolutely about the product and product benefits.
I must say I think the worm looks more like a caterpillar, but they've obviously worked hard on the animation. His big eyes, and the smile he has when he's dived into the Alka-Seltzer, make it very charming and endearing. I loved him, and I loved the ad.
DDB Needham Dallas
This features an animated eagle, ridden by a businessman. It's flying over the sea, and then it arrives over what looks like a vast green maze, which turns out to be a country made of topiary skyscrapers, representing the USA. The voice-over says: "It's easier to fly your way to the United States when you fly with someone who knows the territory."
They're stressing that American Airlines is American, which is a strange piece of positioning, because the suggestion is that other airlines can't fly their way around the USA.
And you've got this surreal image of this little guy perched up on top of the eagle, which looks like a 1960s magazine illustration come to life; it's quite dated.
I just can't work out what that has got to do with business travel and winning customers. Why would you want to travel by American Airlines? The only reason, according to this ad, seems to be that they know where they're going, and it's a bizarre idea that nobody quite knows how to get to certain bits of America unless they're American Airlines.
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