Not even junkies want junk

I was born a TV junkie. I think my nanny - i.e. Italian-speaking grandmother - saw the tube as a form of education. (In her defense, I did learn the importance of looking both ways before you cross the street at an early age, after a kid on the soap Ryan's Hope was hit by a car.)

I was born a TV junkie. I think my nanny – i.e. Italian-speaking grandmother – saw the tube as a form of education. (In her defense, I did learn the importance of looking both ways before you cross the street at an early age, after a kid on the soap Ryan’s Hope was hit by a car.)

Perhaps because of my upbringing, I’ll give any TV program a shot, whether it’s The Swan (bad), House (good), or Desperate Housewives (excellent). But I’m also a fickle viewer and there are only a handful of shows I’ll actually set my VCR for. (Yes I still have a VCR.)

When I think about my I-wouldn’t-dare-miss-an-episode favourites – 24, Desperate Housewives, Lost – I realize they have a couple of things in common. First, they’re loaded with surprising twists and second, they’re unique tales in a landscape that has become crowded with ‘me-too’ entries.

Judging by viewer response, I’m not alone in my appetite for fare that stands out like a pre-adolescent Chris Rock in a junior high full of Italian-Americans. (As Rock’s funny new sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, suggests.) Fortunately, as our mammoth Fall TV report (pages 37-89) indicates, the upcoming season has a lot of choice in scripted series – and some solid VCR-worthy options for small-screen addicts like me.

When you think about it, people respond to advertising in much the same way they do to TV. An ad must also tell a story and the truly stellar effort will do so in a way that is both thoughtful and unconventional. That, in my opinion, is exactly why the celebrated Vim ‘Prison Visitor’ spot has had such a strong showing on the awards circuit. Zig creative team Stephen Leps and Aaron Starkman threw away the dated smug-woman-cleaning-the-white-counter scenario and tapped into a true insight – cleaning a tub is hell because it takes a lot of elbow grease, not to mention time.

The Vim story also proves that a creative modus operandi is universally appealing; The commercial has been so successful it’s now being transported around the globe. Having said that, it’s not the only home-made ad to cross borders. Our Made in Canada feature, starting on page 90, recounts the journey of six campaigns that have travelled to international markets. Two won big at Cannes.

Speaking of award-winning work, we’re beginning to organize strategy’s Agency of the Year competition. This time around, we’re asking agencies who want to be on our initial list (the one we use to poll the industry to determine our finalists) to tell us which five campaigns we should highlight during those phone conversations. Contact strategy staff writer Natalia Williams at nwilliams@brunico.com, with your details.

It’s a good opportunity for agencies and marketers alike to reflect on their recent marketing efforts and consider whether they’re of The Swan or Desperate Housewives calibre.

Lisa D’Innocenzo

Editor