The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Advertising at its best: Don't give your keys to that drunken valet!

April 21, 2011 |  5:50 pm

American advertising has lost its mojo in recent years. Was there even one memorable commercial during the Super Bowl, which has become a premiere showcase for the best in U.S. advertising?

Invariably the best new ads are made somewhere far away, like Brazil, which spawned the delightfully imaginative spot posted above. According to Ad Week, Ogilvy Brazil has been doing a series of clever ads encouraging people not to drink and drive. This one stars a clearly inebriated valet who is no condition to take care of his patron's shiny new cars. Everyone ultimately demands their keys back, prompting the valet to hand one driver a note saying: "Never let a drunk driver take your car. Even if that driver is you."

Once the drivers figure out it's a stunt, they all have a giggle with the actor playing the tipsy valet. For me, the best touch is the melancholy rendition of "Hava Nagila" that serves as the soundtrack for the ad, the song's pace slyly speeding up as the cautionary tale reaches its comic payoff.

--Patrick Goldstein