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"Wake Up Call" evokes the best there is in advertising

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Walmart_WakeUpCall_Still7.L2WR6.jpgYes Virginia, there still is perfection in the beleaguered advertising industry. And what more welcome time for perfection to rear its head in the realm of TV advertising than at Christmas. The spot that has unleashed such unbridled joy within us is "Wake Up Call," an unforgettable tsunami of holiday-tinged emotion brought to us courtesy of Walmart and the Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.

Together they have delivered a truly beautiful reminder of why the TV commercial -- when it is done to perfection with great taste and great vision and a great universal message -- will never, ever be trumped by all the lousy stuff called advertising that is foisted on us in the digital universe or any of the other hot media platforms of the moment.

What most impressed us about "Wake Up Call," was its energetic punch. Perhaps because so many creators of TV advertising nowadays don't really have their hearts in it, we rarely see commercials like "Wake Up Call" that pop so forcefully -- commercials that reach out, grab viewers and compel them to respond.

This "Wake Up Call" couldn't have happened without the Martin Agency's resident musical genius, David Muhlenfeld, a 38-year-old copywriter turned composer. He wrote the spine-tinglingly catchy jingle that so brilliantly evokes that sense of magical wonder and excitement that is at the heart of what unfolds on Christmas morning in countless homes around the world.

We did a little research on the making of "Wake Up Call" and discovered it all came together, miraculously one might say, in a matter of a couple or so weeks. Which only re-affirms what we have long believed -- great work springs directly from great minds without all the endless tweaking and rethinking that is the norm at so many agencies.

Every little detail has been done right in "Wake Up Call," from the lush orchestrations to the rich cinematography, especially that captivating final image of the young girl and her expression of sheer happiness. We haven't seen an image that vivid, that evocative in advertising in a long, long time.

As we type these words, we're aren't so foolish as to think "Wake Up Call" could start a tsunami of equally great TV advertising. No way. There are too many cynics out there in the ad business who have moved on to what they think is the next big thing. Well to them, we say "wake up." The old forms are not dead. They merely need to be revived with great artistry and craft. Then Virginia, they WILL live on. And gloriously so.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on December 21, 2010 4:42 PM.

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